By Andrea Coleman with Terri L. Shields
Being in my later years of life, I have had my aging challenges in remembering what happened last week. With all this being said and established, I cannot remember or tell the day or the hour I first had a conversation with Terri L. Shields.
What I can say is, I am glad and blessed I did meet up and talk with her, and our bond grows tighter day by day. We communicate and collaborate in one form or another on a daily or weekly basis.
She doesn’t give me the bare minimum of herself but extends herself to me. Because of this I have found during some of our many conversations that we also have a few things in common. Today, I share her story here in this article in her being parallel to me in the commonalities of being “Straight outta Hazelwood”
Here is Terri’s story in her own words.
Terri L. (Gibson) Shields
I’m a powerhouse within my own rights lol, but before I became that which took many years for me to discover who I was and am. What I went through was part of the process. The journey and the trials in my younger years taught me many things. I’ve done things that I’m not proud of but came through because of the many steadfast prayers of my mother placing me in the hands of the almighty God, which was the best thing she could have ever done for me. God brought me through. He helped me to discover me.
I’m a product of Elder Shirley (Hicks) Gibson and Leonard Sherrod. I had a crushing, disappointing background that pushed me into Greatness and loving the skin I’m in.
I was born and raised in Glen Hazel and attended the schools in the neighborhood. I grew up in a close tight-knit community with plenty to do. A community that cared for and wanted the best for the children. I left the community for a minute but returned. There’s nothing like home.
Born May 12,1961
John A. Brashear Hight School
I still reside in Hazelwood. Glen Hazel is my roots.
UPMC Heath Plan 22yrs.
Founder/Executive Director JADA House International 8yrs
I have belonged to the Fountain Church of life Pittsburgh for over ten years. I’m on a few cohorts, Carnegie Mellon University (Shared Prosperity; Food Cohort, Colorful Backgrounds EXPO EX-Incarcerated People Organizing, and Waking Up to Air Pollution), Center of Life (Understanding the Racial Disparities, creating community unity), Leigh Solomon (Pulgliano, Transformation Leaders Program). I’m also one of the Co-Chairs on the Public Policy Committee of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. I’m enrolled in the Leadership Master’s Program at Carlow University.
Why I do what I do…
I love people especially our younger and older women population. I enjoy creating a safe environment for people to engage and have fellowship among each other. I tried to encompass all walks of life. JADA House International created a platform where we can celebrate our seniors with our senior luncheon. JHI created “Blast Off” a back-to-school celebration with free backpacks and school supplies, gift cards, surrounded by music, food, entertainment, healthy screening, job readiness, and free haircuts, the attempt is to create love and unity. JHI is a Love Gift giveaway; we give away toys and free coats during the Christmas holiday. JHI also created a safe place for our young teen ladies to have a safe place to share and vent their disparities without judgement. And just think we started in my home 2014.
My mom used to give back in this community for those that know, she taught me to give back, to love and show love, and that is why I do what I do…. LOVE.
I say, thank you Terri, for doing what you do, and loving and coming “STRAIGHT OUTTA HAZELWOOD.” I can’t speak for everybody…but I love you too! - Andrea
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