People in Profile
Shaya finds happiness in helping her community, one person at a time.
“We’ve all grown close, everyone here is like family to me now,” Shaya Jones said, speaking of her role as Member Coordinator for the Fort Chipewyan Métis Association Nation – a role she’s held, in one form or another, since 2017.
Shaya was born in Red Deer but moved to Fort Chipewyan shortly after. She spent most of her childhood in the community before moving back to Red Deer to complete high school and earn a business degree.
After college, I moved back to Fort Chipewyan, looking for work and a way to give back to my community,” she said. “Fortunately for me, it was as simple as there being a job opening, a need to be filled. No one else had applied, so I decided to go for it.”
Shaya’s work started in Elder care. “As the Elder Coordinator I did a lot of home visits, arranged transportation for them, helped them get to their appointments, and organized events for the Elders to participate in. I grew to develop a lot of strong relationships with them all, helping them brought me a lot of joy.”
When the Nation found itself short-staffed, Shaya stepped up and took on a larger clientele. “I started working with our youth while continuing to serve our Elders. In time I also started helping more adult members, so at this point I’m serving all members of the Nation.
“So, it’s a variety of duties now. I collaborate with the Regional Municipality [of Wood Buffalo] and the other Nations. I help organize major community events like Métis Days, the Beach Party and other important gatherings.
“I help members with basically anything they need – writing request letters, helping with their tax returns. I work with aviation companies to arrange travel bookings, I organize medical travel for members who need it.
“My attention has had to expand to support the entire community, which is more difficult to balance, but it means I get to help more people,” Shaya said. “And honestly, I love the relationship I have with the people here. They trust me, they feel safe coming to me with any concerns they have.”
Whenever she does decide to take a break, Shaya enjoys travelling and spending quality time with family, both in Fort Chipewyan and Red Deer. “I really do enjoy my time with all of them. If I’m not at work, I’m with my nieces and nephew.”
For as much as the role demands of her, Shaya sees the value of her hard work in everyone she helps.
Seeing others grow, find success and be happy makes me happy. I want to see them improve and will help any way I can, and I see how much they appreciate the help. I’ll lighten the load, make their lives easier.”
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