Child homelessness is just a portion of the issues, Jim Jones deals with and tries to solve on a daily basis, as president and CEO of ChildServ, an 118-year-old agency that serves close to 4,000 of Chicago’s at risk children and their families.
This position had Jones’ name written all over it. With three master’s degrees, one of them in social work, and more than 20 years of working in child welfare, this retired colonel in the United States Army Reserves, always knew this was his calling.
“Because that’s who I am. This is what I enjoy. I’ve done this type of work all of my professional career. I believe it’s the best to give back to society, someone who has received a lot, they have to give a lot,” Jones aid.
It was former ChildServ board member Peter Hanes who actually hired Jones 18 years ago. He saw something in him that ChildServ couldn’t pass up.
“He had a passion for his work. He had a very strong concern about children and that’s what we were looking for,” Hanes said. So strong, that he takes the time to get to know the children and families he tries to help.
“He wants to see the kids. He wants to talk to them,” said Elizabeth Heneks, vice president of programming at ChildServ. “He asks them are they in school, or are they employed. How is the home going, what’s going on with their staff. So he really makes that commitment to the kids.”
“I grew up during the Civil Rights era, I experienced a lot of that first hand myself. Having lived in the south as well as in the north, transitioning back and forth. I saw some of the irony people went through during that era. I just felt i wanted to give back,” Jones said.
Through the years at ChildServ, Jones expanded agency programs and he’s doing more with prevention and support for families. But he says there’s much more to do here.
“Figuring out how can we expand this mission. There’s enough misery that goes around. The challenge comes from getting people to feel good about helping other people,” Jones said.
“Jim is special in that he provides leadership, but he doesn’t let his ego get in the way of the mission. And I think that’s very special,” said Don Brackey.
“Those values were instilled in me, along with my brothers and sister, a long time ago, and it just felt natural that I would end up doing this kind of work,” Jones said.
Jim Jones, he’s one of Chicago’s Very Own.