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Meet Tinesha
Two hands work within spinach leaves at the Central Iowa Shelter and Services Greenhouse.

Meet Tinesha


The Other Side: Tinesha. Before entering the Shelter, Tinesha was employed as a certified nurse’s aide and was determined to carve out a successful future for herself. But when a cascade of obstacles hit her all at once, she found herself getting farther and farther from the path she had planned for herself. Her breaking point was a financial stressor that many of us fear: car failure. This costly and frustrating barrier caused her to step away from work, essentially collapsing the foundation she had spent her early adulthood building up.

Despite facing these challenges, Tinesha remained determined. After six months away from work, she found the strength to turn to our emergency shelter for housing and support. Upon stepping through our doors, Tinesha made a conscious decision to immerse herself in the various opportunities for growth and empowerment offered at CISS. In a short span of time, her progress was evident, leading to a successful transition from the emergency shelter to one of our single-unit efficiency apartments.

One day, while viewing the bulletin board, a job training opportunity in the greenhouse caught her attention. “I was interested in the productivity of it. I could wake up in the morning and have somewhere to go while making money and ultimately doing something positive,” Tinesha recalled. “I am an Iowa girl. I have always enjoyed agriculture and planting in the garden. It wasn’t something that would just be work, it would also be fun,” she added.

Embracing the role wholeheartedly, Tinesha flourished in the greenhouse, finding fulfillment in nurturing plants and fostering growth. Now, nine months into her job training journey, she reflects on the profound impact of this experience, not just for herself but for others looking to rebuild their lives. “Training in the greenhouse gives people an opportunity to want more. Once you get started, you want to do better.”

With a productive routine in place, Tinesha has also found fulfillment in serving others. At the shelter, it is not uncommon to find her in the kitchen—not as a requirement for job training but because her dedication to giving back has become a vital part of her life. “The drive to serve in my community is actually pretty new to me. Back before CISS, I worked so much that I didn’t feel like I had the time to give back. Now I’ve learned that it takes a village,” she explained. “When you don’t have a space to do the things you like, sometimes you have to improvise. Since I don’t have a kitchen, I might as well join this kitchen and help where I can.”

As Tinesha embarks on a fresh chapter in her life, her primary goal is to rebuild. For her, this looks like committing more time to work and serving the community. She is currently exploring an opportunity at a local greenhouse, viewing it as a stepping stone toward achieving self-sufficiency.

“Ultimately, I am working to get my own place and be the best that I can.” – Tinesha