Meet Golden Mouse Honoree – Shamele Jenkins, President, Miami Dade County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association
Shamele Jenkins is a youth advocate representing and serving the youth in adoptive/ foster/kinship care for over than 36 years. She has served as both a foster parent of more than 300 youth and as a single adoptive parent of 5 children.
In New York, Shamele was not only a foster and kinship parent but an active member of Toy Knights of America which was one of the strong links to The U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots. Shamele created a strong partnership between OCFS and the foster community.
When Shamele migrated to Florida in 1992 she was introduced and connected to the Florida Department of Children and Families (“DCF”). She was a special liaison to the Florida DCF for 21 years from her Florida start with Anita Boch. Shamele created special events and keep direct communication between the foster parent associations and DCF.
Since 2011, Shamele has served as President of Miami Dade County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association a/k/a MDCFAPA. In this role, Shamele works to keep youth safe while creating harmony and normalcy with clarity so that families can stay together whenever possible while assisting to rescue those that are in distress. This includes attending court hearings, conducting home visits, and even assisting with getting youth out of juvenile detention/jail or even listening to parents worries at 2:00am. Shamele advocates and educates on behalf of the more than 3,000 children/ youth in foster care in Miami Dade County, and the more than 4,500 adopted children in Miami Dade County.
Shamele and MDCFAPA host quarterly events including massive toys drives, school bag and school supply drives and hosts seasonal events including adoption fairs, summer jobs and more for this very special clientele. Shamele created a monthly newsletter of connections, events and resources for the foster/adoptive community that has a distribution to more than 1,500 on a monthly basis. Shamele works tirelessly to afford youth in out-of-home care free summer camp scholarships, usually totaling 200 per summer, afterschool scholarships, special art, dance and music workshops. On several occasion Shamele has been instrumental on reunification of families and has hosted parties and special events on their behalf.
In 2011 MDCFAPA was presented with the title “Best FAPA in the State of Florida!” Shamele takes personal time and care to know at the least the first name of the several hundred youth she services through MDCFAPA’s “Jewels & Gems” tween/teen program that was created in 2010. Shamele guarantees that each youth in “Jewels & Gems” takes at least two out of Miami trips per year to an educational, vocational and entertaining conference(s), workshop, in addition to the many events held locally. Some even become Florida House and Senate House Legal Aid/Administrative Aids and Interns.
In 2014, Shamele succeeded in taking MDCFAPA to another level with a grant which she used to contract tutors, computer technicians and other specialists to work directly “in the homes of the youth and their families” in order to make them more techno literate and to keep them safe. That also gave rise to more scholarships for residential camps, clothing closets, etc.
Shamele’s philosophy which she shares with MDCFAPA is ‘You Are Not Alone”. With that Shamele is dedicated to ensuring that parents network and support each other in and outside of the foster village and takes them to workshops and conferences where parents can see their counterparts doing the same thing.
During her service in Florida Shamele has made a tremendous impact connecting the corporate world to the nonprofit world of foster care. She continues to actively recruit foster and adoptive parents while encouraging relative care members on how to child rear and keep their relatives out of foster care. Shamele advocates as a public speaker on radio and tv shows about recruitment and the plight of the youth. She also creates monthly family outings, seminars and events for National Foster Parent month and National Adoption Month. Shamele also teaches workshops on “wellness”, “time management’ and “how to run a FAPA with little or no money” to the masses who attend the Florida State FAPA as well as the National Foster Parent Association Conferences and many other conferences nationally.
Most recently Shamele became the recipient of the “Angels in Adoptions” award from United States Congressional Coalition on Adoptions Institution (“CCAI”) whereby she was flown to Washington DC to receive the award, speak before Congress and meet in the White House.
Shamele is also President of “The Nubian Sistahood” (“TNS”) which is a 8 year old women’s empowerment group which hosts bi-weekly meetings on wellness, health, tai chi, financial planning, etc. all in the name of betterment for women and families. TNS also empowers others through their community service with women in rehab centers, teen offenders in juvenile detention and more.
Shamele is also an internationally recognized touring poet and storyteller and motivational speaker who brings her gift of gossip and gab to the masses. She has performed and lectured throughout Africa’s Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, through Australia, Europe’s England, France, Germany and Ireland, South America’s Brazil, Chile and Dominican Republic, to the Caribbean Islands of Jamaica, Haiti, Surinam, in Canada and most of the states in the USA.
Shamele’s motto is – there’s a line that’s chasing your behind with numbers before and after it. That line speaks your purpose. Life is a ship – you have to jump in the ship, grab the oars, steer it, cheer, laugh and cry through the journey and bring someone else with you to share and care along the way. Keep it moving as you steer through life with one other hand extended to help someone else to sail!
Ms. Jenkins is the Golden Mouse Youth Advocate Leader of the Year!
Learn more: https://www.mdcfapa.org/
Check out their Facebook Group
If you are in South Florida and would like to join us, be sure and visit our Golden Mouse Awards Registration to learn more about the event taking place October 27, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale – honoring 14 (fourteen) women from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties for all they have done for and in their respective industries and their community.