Shawanda Jackson and Kendall Jamison

Recorded May 4, 2021 Archived May 4, 2021 37:41 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020639


Friends and coworkers Shawanda Jackson (28) and Kendall Jameson (31) share a conversation about their experiences as youth participants, now staff, of Thread and the importance of youth education.

Subject Log / Time Code

“Where do you feel Thread met you at and how was that interaction?” SJ asks KJ.
SJ and KJ remember some of their favorite experiences they’ve had through their work with Thread.
“You are worth it, no matter what the world is saying,” SJ says as she gives Thread credit for helping her graduate high school.
KJ asks SJ about the positive impacts volunteers have had on her.
“When did you transition into ‘I want to work for Thread’?” SJ asks KJ.
KJ and SJ speak on the boundaries necessary to keep a professional environment when working with friends.
“Our whole community is family,” SJ adds to the discussion of building community amongst colleagues.
“I hope in the future our students appreciate our journey…” KJ says of the work he and SJ are doing at Thread.
“Sometimes people get stuck in where they are instead of where they could be,” SJ speaks on the need for people to believe in youth and understanding they are more than their environment.


  • Shawanda Jackson
  • Kendall Jamison

Recording Location

Virtual Recording


Partnership Type




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00:03 Hello. My name is Wanda Jackson. I'm 28 years old. Today is Tuesday, May 4th, 2021. I'm located in Baltimore Maryland. My conversation partner is Kendall Jamison by relationships and Kendall is a co-worker and friend.

00:22 My name is Kendall Jamison. I am 31 years old today, is May 4th 2021.

00:30 I am located in Baltimore. Maryland. The name of my conversation partner is shawanda Jackson. Shawanda. And I are both co-workers and Friends.

00:48 So Kendall.

00:51 We've been in thread for a while. Now. We've kind of what kind of live the saying for the from the bottom. Now, we're here.

01:02 We've been through all the ups and downs Journey, it has.

01:08 When I started in thread and I came in here for you, but when I started in thread, I feel like I was in a very tight spot where you like I was Wild Mountain School. I kind of wasn't seating on. My teachers were noticing principal was missing show at the time. He was noticing and it was just a lot of environmental factors that we're going on in my life that really made it hard to kind of like mixed School the priority and I just like that grounding for us, you know that support system.

01:44 Turn like that back phone like somebody that you can lean on someone who kind of understands what you're going through and doesn't see you as less than is Mia's. Okay? Kind of how threat made me feel. So, how do you feel like we do? You feel like the red met you at and like where I was at insurrection.

02:14 So I guess how do I want? How do I I guess my response to you is I guess your question if you remember when you first joined thread, like when you were first introduced to three.

02:28 So yeah, like you at the time it was just something new and something different and you know how every time every time I talk about my comment thread, my journey and thread is its changes cuz I'm I'm constantly looking back on it, but I was just at I was at a point in my life or early on when I first got to high school where I had a lot of different directions I could choose to go in and luckily I chose thread. It just seemed interested in the same different from what everyone else was doing. And you know, I always like them always like to say that or even even when I join I think you would agree. It took us some time to fully buying so for the first couple years it was like

03:14 Fun. It was fun, you know and can you can you recall like just all of our tears that we had?

03:28 Oh, my goodness. So I don't recall all of the volunteers that I had. However, there are few that I who have stuck with me throughout my lifetime like Michael. That's my sister, like, me and her are locked in his message. Tattoos and everything. We're locked in. CG were cool. She called me on Facebook. We check up on each other kind of me and her check up on each other. Sarah. I don't know if you remember Sarah when she was really short like really little on Facebook. She has some kids like we talked about our children are things like that. So I feel like some of my volunteers, I don't remember cuz it was like look at it might have came and got himself a little while, but there are quite a few that I feel like we kind of grown together. Right. Like we're in different places in space that I like and it's like it's so weird. Sometimes saying ayo bounties on Facebook for like they'll pop up and I might have

04:27 So, that always kind of school. Are you still in contact with any of your volunteers? So, I'm in contact with volunteers that were in my immediate family and Kendra specifically, I still talk to them, but thinking, back to the early years and thread, right? I don't remember a lot of the volunteers, but I remember we had a volunteer for everything, anything you anything. You can think of you needed help with. You always think back to sing again and like, writing, college, applications and sitting in the Librarians. Oh my goodness.

05:07 You know, or the junior get doing volunteer activities or, you know, another highlight early on in thread was called, Always stands out to me and again, just

05:21 It seemed like at the time, hundreds of volunteers, you know, and they all support us, they were all there.

05:29 And again, that's what drew me. That's what drew me in personally. I don't know about you, but all those excitement like, you know, from from the first year, we joined just that first three years and thread all the volunteering, all the different volunteers. All the different activities, going camping. Camping with my favorite activities, even though camping was crazy. And it was always something going wrong. So fine, because it was just like the different interaction, but how people interested when we were both sleeping, like a different atmosphere instincts like that. Like seeing how people interact like that skating ice skating. Oh my goodness, in people falling all over. The first one is my first time ever going ice skating. I thought my ankles were going to break most of the time so just like, heaven knows, I can't have no different experiences. Have no dinner interactions. Just meeting other people like that. Could be frank.

06:29 Baltimore city, right? Like, most of the time we're just around.

06:33 The same type of people, you know, I mean it to Branch out too much and I feel like thread was that Branch? There was like that, ranch out, you got introduced to this experience, has different people from different walks of life. And it really kind of lived up to the Crossing Lines, a difference. Like you, when you enter thread, you're immediately Crossing Lines, a different number one because you're interesting, right with different people, which I spices that you probably would never have outside of threat. I mean, I feel like me and you share that, right? And we share that, if we weren't in threat, we might not have had some of these experiences or in the same way or the same way again, like camping for the first time. I have a, I have a good one. So you can you remember the first time you saw Sarah ice skate.

07:24 Oh, my goodness. Jazz. Is she trying to show us up?

07:31 Like, oh my goodness. She can ice skate to but yeah.

07:39 Even like a

07:41 Wow.

07:46 And I can just again, in those early years for myself. I don't know about. You should want to but just fighting back pushing back and I care. I always think now how I didn't go to that first camping trip, you know, we got a couple times to get, I didn't do in the summer the first time and everybody came back to talk about how much fun is going to cuz I'm not, you know, I'm still want to be outside and I finally went.

08:15 And I was just hooked from Pizza to camp and ice skating. I was hooked up with a share in essence of it. Right? But it's like also, thinking about 3, I'm like, I don't know if I'd a graduated but it wasn't in threat because it was just like, when you have people around you, I like nice. There's a negative looking back at you, really bring your energy and you just look back in, like, there were so many people who didn't believe in us having people rally around us and like, see us for who we were right. Not what you were saying about us, but actually seen us for, who we were. I feel like was so necessary. Like, I look back on that and I'm like, this is so necessary, right? Is a nail. That's what I try to embed into my own children. Write like that. Same spirit, that thread kind of it, better than

09:15 You're worth a, whether the world is saying something else, like, you are, right, like you're, you're so important and you can do anything. And I just feel like that was like the ground like that before, that's a ground at 4. Is that really made me feel like I want to graduate you don't sound like, I want to do the next thing that I want to look forward to these next things. And now you said also being celebrated like quad getting assigned, your word at all. Those type of things really rubbed you up and kind of get your sleep on a good track for the future. That's how I feel. Absolutely and to add on to that. I'm always I was always amazed at the new things. We were introduced to being in thread. The one that you are not reacting Lee group. We actually grew up probably like two blocks.

10:04 From one another.

10:08 And again, I just remember every everything new we were introduced to hanging hanging out with Sarah and Ryan are going to different places, send different things in getting us out of our environments at the time. Seemed like the biggest thing in the world. That's what that's what kept me around to get quick bust out all the time.

10:36 How did it better to sleep on with the sleepover sleepover epic? I know that I said, they probably looks crazy. Like how all the kids in your house making all that noise like to eat everything.

10:57 Like, oh my God, is that was like, I just thought Sandra's house used to be like the party house. Stay at Sarah's house. Like, that's it. Right? That wasn't even a word back. Then we called it back, then. I remember one camping trip. Actually. The first camping trip. I went on, we had like a talent show and we all agree on. We all had to put blindfolds on and we came out and we performed the song after you went. Everybody else will sit there and watch you jump around with the Broncos on

11:39 No, I just remember like my Bob, best camping memory was the acts like that. That's like top-tier, like one of the kids got to ask. They would like to sit around. Everyone is wearing like a total shock, right? Oh my goodness. This kid, like that is like the craziest moment and camping and also the spiders like the tents had so many spiders. The outdoor tent all my goodness. They were so many spiders and it was like the volunteers were so content, like they were. So what I mean, while we're all freaking out like outside, like that's any better, but I like they were literally looking at me at the top of the tent like it was hilarious to watch people running out of the tents, like the flashlight. Just doing the most like

12:36 And I feel like I think the second camping trip is where I got introduced to my volunteer, Michael, the one I told you had mentioned that to you and it's like looking at her and like me and her relationship development.

12:49 It kind of like it's kind of weird to to even say like hey, I'm at the person in thread. Right? Cuz it just feels like I've known her forever. At this point. It's been like, what 8 looks like you have things back cuz I just had a Julius. How long has Julia been in your life over 15 years. Now? That seems act like they're like family now, like I consider like my family. She's my baby shower doors is like I call her my sister. Like she's not even in my phone is like we had a different life changes. Like now she's in Kentucky. They're like, she called me when she volunteers and students. Now is what I'm hoping that they are having the same experiences that we had in that like years from now, they'll look back.

13:49 In those clothes, you know, closed, tight relationship with their violence is, you know, damn like I've known this person for years and it all looks started. It started here and he is where we are.

14:06 So, do you recall?

14:09 Maybe not any volunteer specifically, but a time when volunteers were impact, like when we, when we say, when we talk about volunteers, you know, we, we mostly mentioned them in a school sense, but a lot of my volunteers were

14:28 Instrumental in my life, post, High School in nose and nose later. He is around 17, 18, 19, 21. And I just against something, I just kept me. Drawing, the threat, was this support in at that time. You know, you felt like I was trying to find my way but the have people who were older than us a lot of times grad student, but they give us that direction to give us that encouragement to me. I always say, you know, been in thread and being around all of those college students are early on and haven't accessed of Hopkins. Campus early on made me personally like I knew in my mind, like, I can do it, you know, like I can do this.

15:19 Volunteers back where they were hardcore like out. They were down. Let me say something. They were at EtG like listen what you want to do? I don't know if I want to be like a phlebotomist, they help me get to help me. Get my 90 hours teaching certificate so I can like Coast High School kids wear down like they were like whatever you want to do. We're trying to support. You were trying to help you achieve your dreams. Like I said, like my phlebotomy certification was paid for by 3, but then let us say, my name is help me. Get signed up for the class. Help me, study for my certification exam. So I feel like, even outside of high school. They were definitely still impact the right. Like, they still wanted to be in the weeds. They still want to know what was going on, and he still wanted to help me advance, which I feel like, it's kind of fundamental, right? Like that.

16:19 The fundamental structure of Grey likes. Okay, how can we help you advance? And even in a sense of that, it's not just high school at once. You graduate. It's not like threads like okay. We said congrats right? Like just take this a little bit further and see how we can help your back into adulthood. Right? And it kind of gives me the ideology of like, you know, they will put you out at 18. Where is like, like if you need to come borrow some sugar and some like 25, come on, still got you. What I really love about threat. Was that even once I got like, older, and even now, like, I'm still finding myself being supported, but that's, that's essentially how I felt like, they didn't just say, okay, you graduated, but it was more like,

17:19 And then they found ways to support me and doing those things. And I didn't say, I changed up often. I don't want to do everything right there. So kind of like support me and things like that. And that's honestly why I wanted to work with thread-like work for thread is because I had seen it from so many different sites like from the student lands, alumni lands. And it was like, this is a place that I love. These are people that I know and love. So why not become a part of the staff seem? Like, how did you like when it in your mind to do transitions? Like, I want to work for thread.

18:00 The same way similarly just a feeling. I feel. It wasn't actually want to reciprocate a favor and all of those experiences that I talked about all the memories. I had that make me happy one. I wanted other use their students to experience it.

18:22 Yeah, I'm running other people. I wanted other people to experience it. By always, you know, at one time. It's

18:28 It's always surreal having these conversations because being in it, you know, as well as we progressed on in time.

18:38 It is, you know, we didn't look at it like that. So at one time I would say to myself if I ever had the opportunity I want to work straight, you know at a certain time. We only had like six employees. So it was just like if I ever got the opportunity to work bands, like of course, I would I would love to and the opportunity came.

19:03 It goes back to what you said. You just hit you. Just hit it on the head. Actually and I know about our volunteers but never give up. Are we can't have this conversation? If we don't talk about, never give up. And that means so many things to us and early on with our volunteers are they were hardcore. Hey, we're trained to go, a lot of different, a lot of different arguments, you know, a lot of fussing and fighting and coloring Dragon dragging us to school and classes and stuff like that. You can't do the word family without some fussing or fighting like that. Don't even sound right? Listen to all of us. Like we used to fuss so bad, like we did not want to go to school, so rebellious.

19:58 Make it a reality is everybody picking me up for school, you know coming into the school building with me. You know, that walking me to class things like that. And it look like when you just kind of laughed like man, I was giving them people upset, but now it's like it was so necessary, right? You look back and where you are and if they hadn't took me to class that day. I probably wouldn't even be here even though I don't work directly with students. Even that back office impacts, that I'm able to meet is helpful for me, right? Cuz it's like, at least I'm giving back to the community that gave back to me and a scent. Like, at least I'm helping even on back-office. I'm still helping, right? I'm still a part of the movement. I'm still a part of the vision.

20:53 Right in all those things. I feel like ground me when I think about my stand for all vs. Like my student, vs. Alumni, roll. And then it's like, when I actually started on staff, Leah was the one who live was, one of my previous on his. I mean, you know, that she was actually the person who reached out to me and said, hey, we have the Staff Roll opening, not think you'll be a great fit, you should have applied and I was teaching at that time and I don't see was frustrated with teaching, so it kind of happened seamlessly, but it is kind of felt euphoric, you know, the car back to threads work there to work alongside live. Right? Lately is my girl is my best friend. She's the Godmother of my children.

21:38 And so again, from from coming from the volunteer road, to now, being a part of my family is like a course. It was amazing to work alongside her on to see her more often cuz you know, when you get older, sometimes you lose that close contact, right? Like you're not as close to used to be. So I feel like it's in a staff road that has also been refreshing like to be able to see you and Devin Maurice's parents when they were working with us. It was kind of refreshing, right? It's like the gang's all here, like we were back together or whatever and then it's like, I know they like you and I'm already seeing you guys are closed. So working alongside them. How does that make you feel?

22:21 Amazing. Amazing. I continue you. I continue to use the word surreal and my story is similar to yours and how I join my staff. So I Maurice and Devin and Ashley times at the time. We're already on stairs and I wasn't of course, but I was applying, I was looking for different jobs at the time. I was actually working at like sales at the time. So I really was tired of my job. But this is actually ironic. Maurice gave me to call and he told me that thread, was hiring. And of course, I said I was interested, but my Reese was also the person. He was also the reason I joined read me being friends with him and him getting into the program at a bit before me, but making me interested in it and outside of my volunteers.

23:21 Relationships with.

23:23 The other people in thread of our what kept me in Italy, we actually kind of became a family and, you know, like a like a chain, you know, I can remember. It's not, it's not too early, but for a little while in school, you know, we would like to thread kids in like, you know, we stuck with it and we believed in it and now, like, when we see chairs from high school, that asked us out great, how they wish they could have been, if you remember those, he wasn't afraid. It was the pizza, they wan't. How do I get free pizza? Like, I want to be a part of, it is not even understand like what it was. But people thought they saw the support that we had horses on pizza and he wanted to be down like I thought we were like on some real games.

24:23 Part of it because they saw like the volunteer. Even if they made fun of us some time to check up on, you outside the classroom and things like that, but everybody wanted to know like what was going on. Everybody wanted in in a sentence like what's going on? How do I be a part of this and things like that with me and you though it's crazy because a high school like we never really interactive, right? We got closer, but I feel like we didn't get as close as we are now once we became like friends, right? So I was going to mention I mentioned that earlier, right? That's because I think the first cohort in the second cohort, you know, we kind of had a grudge against one another to four years ago. We put it all behind.

25:14 What y'all would like we would, we would like, you know, the older kids and then and then we had that second cohort. It was kind of like a rivalry that we had football games over the years. So we definitely want to stay wanted to stay on record for a while.

25:36 You guys for like the founding fathers, like, you're like weed, but the second is better. Imma let you have it on this partition. For sure. We definitely grew closer. We we grew closer when we joined staff and joining staff, and being a part of thread, as an alarm. Like you said, are two totally different things. We Face different battles on a daily as a staff team, but

26:12 I mean, again, I'm having that same feeling like I'm proud to to be on staff with, you still fighting for what we're fighting for and pushing for what we're pushing for it. So it's out, especially, you know, just what

26:29 The people that were there first with Sarah being an office everyday, that's another surreal feeling like

26:37 If I'm honest, you know, we like

26:42 Me personally, when working at office with Sarah, always have to like catch myself. Joy, that line between personal and

26:52 You know, person on working together because when you even when I see you or when we saw it turns, it's like you automatically start laughing and remember this. And guess what that we got to remember. Like old people are working over there so you can cut up all the time.

27:14 Like I said with Sarah, right? Like it's like you want to like run up and be like, hey, you want to go and speak to us busy or what? Was there a species of you? Like? Nope. That's the same old. Sarah been on the staff team. It kind of brings us back and had a rally that's all together again. And then seeing that the same principles that are being kind of applied. And like, the student volunteer relationship are also being applied in like the staff relationships as well. You know, if we still show up for each other, even at staff, right? I've had you come to my house and it's still show up for each other in different capacities, drive me to the airport.

28:14 Thanksgiving, definitely, but I just feel like the staff team has brought us closer, right? And then it's just reflective of a threat thread Journey. Honestly, like, you know, I feel like in the way we grow like at the end of the day and we still act accordingly as a family, right? Like we have disagreements but the bond is still that we're still family. And if I need you, like I said, I've heard many stories. Do you know if staff members about how we all support each other, and it's uplifting. So this isn't just something that's volunteer students Pacific. Its Community specific like a full community, and our family. And we look out for each other. Look out for one another and I just like working alongside you and me and you actually when I moved out of the operations role and I was saying I thought that's who you were.

29:14 The closest together, right? And I feel like that also contributed to us kind of getting closer cuz like we shared some of the same frustration. A lot of problem solving and I like gold conversations kind of

29:28 Put us a little bit deeper together. I agree. I agree with you and to add to what you said. First, you talked about just working on staff early and I was going to transition into us working in the same rules. But working in this role. We get to handle incoming Communications and just as a staff member my how time flies but you get so many just different reminders in hot woman moments. So we'll receive like emails from our former volunteers. And now I have to be telling us how they you know, they left the red and move for a couple years, but now they're back in Baltimore. They want to join again, or just to reach out. I mean, I volunteers were so helpful to see how we're doing time to check on a kid that they hadn't talked to you in awhile, but they've been thinking about them and also working. I know you said, you didn't get you don't get to work with.

30:28 Students as much, but I got to work in a student enrollment capacity for a few years. And that was just again, one of my favorite times on staff, because looking at all all different students and different kinds arrested for myself. And I

30:47 And I'm not sure if you remember the infamous story of the kid running from me at digital Harbor, but that was an eye-opener looking at digital car when he took off down the hallway.

31:03 And I actually chased him and couldn't catch him right outside of the side door cuz we used to always sneak out. So it is there we sitting right in her car on her last time and I was just going to close the door and go back. The number one memory. Is Sarah chasing people. Yes, as we know that I don't know how they did it when it was just like when he was so small because I just think back to like all the recipes to do and be like we were stressing these people out and never showed great like in never showed. They never you know, like smoke down since about the stuff we were doing. They just I'm like and they really wanted us to be invested.

32:03 Play in the program. It, so that's my biggest. Hopes and dreams For Thread is that students are experiencing what I experienced, right? Like that one day, they'll sit here and they'll speak about thread and share the same last memories tears that we've had right, like we're old now, but it's just that share the same experiences and that, you know, maybe one day they'll be on staff, you know, if they'll be able a position and I don't know, I just feel like it all comes full circle for me. It's just like it's it's honestly a full circle type of feeling like to started as a student transition to the line. I've been moving on to the staff team. Like you said being reunited with people who are so important in my life, but because life happens, right? We get disconnected. And then just coming back to being able to see

33:03 You know this every day or, you know, when were in the office together, sharing those memories like the fun Friday memories is really, really help. When will you think about making a family and build a community? It's necessary that you share those experiences in those moments and even between me and you like how we've grown and have our friendship has flourished. It is it's like necessary, right? Cuz I don't think that we will be here if it wasn't for the staff team, right? We will be on it wouldn't be as close net and it's like, okay, I don't care whose One Call Away. If my TV needs to be mounted off my air. Conditioner needs to be put in my window. You know that you're One Call Away now because we've developed a friendship that is stiff from being on the sales team together like that.

33:56 I agree. Once again a hundred percent. Everything you said just to add on to it, it what you said.

34:08 I hope that in the future. I students just appreciate the journey, but not only our students, the world. As of today. I'm happy to be a part of something that's bigger than me and fight for something that's, you know, could potentially change the world. And, you know, I just hope I staff continue to embody and push our core competencies because, you know, I wholeheartedly believe their lies without morals. So I love this. I love the fight that we fight on my love. What we talked through and work through every day at work and just encourage people to join it. I'll buy into it because I wholeheartedly believe that we're making a difference in the world.

35:03 Threads work Riley. I don't think I would have been nowhere near where I am. Now, like, that's a complete, a master's degree. Like what I didn't want to go to class Beatle graduated a 4.0 student. I might I want to fail out of high school. Like I don't know. Do you think I would be here and even the staff work that I'm doing? Like, I don't even think I would be here. So it's kind of like like you said the word surreal really in ties, it right? Like this is surreal and just hoping like I said the first, like I said just to expansion like crack and see thread, you know, worldwide like making an impact right by our city Baltimore nieces. Like we look all around at all the crime and the craziness and it's like Baltimore needs someone believing in our use, right? Like we need people who believe and I used to capabilities and who sees them Beyond just their environment, right? Like sometimes you can get

36:03 And where we are instead of where we could be. You don't sound like sometimes people just need someone to believe in them. I know when I was going through what I was going through. I just needed somebody to believe in me like somebody to be there. If that's what the ride was and I believe that. That's what right is for. Everyone is as like we want to be there to help us understand how

36:26 Right. And then go forth and take over where we were going to help you, but we are firmly believe that you you can do anything you want to do, and that's the attitude that I come into work with everyday is like, even when, when stuff gets hectic. It's like this is bigger than me and bigger than my feelings. You know, like I have people who ask questions like, like, like thread is, is a part of my family. They are my family, like you're my family, Sarah, all of us. So is it so important? It's so necessary and I just hope that one day, we look back and BC thread worldwide. We see how many people are giving testimonies about how threat has been packed their life. And again, we're sharing our story to help people. You know, it's a hey, look rad with amazing amazing.

37:26 And I hope it is the same experience for you.

37:30 Agreed on $70.