By Denise Strub
MOUND BAYOU – If Dr. Shakebra L. Young had a mantra for her life it might be ‘God has a plan,’ as some of the biggest moves and successes in her life were not part of her original plan. Young is the new executive director of St. Gabriel Mercy Center, Inc. in Mound Bayou.
“God led me here to this place. I am blessed to be here and work with well-educated, cross-trained women. I’m pleased to have this opportunity to lead and give back and serve,” she said. Young is the first African-American woman to hold the position of executive director at St. Gabriel Mercy Center.
“I’m very excited to be back,” said Young, who is a native of Cleveland. She is the daughter of Mary Young and Karry Hilley and the mother of two daughters, Bry’Kevia and Jusilynn. She is a 1996 graduate of East Side High School. After high school she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Computer Information Systems and Office Administration from Delta State, where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
In May 2009, she obtained a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Social Work from The University of Tennessee and shortly afterwards, she enrolled into the doctoral program at Capella University. In May 2012, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Human Services and later obtained a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Walden University. She is still an online instructor for Walden. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration Degree in Human Resource Management from Delta State University. “Delta State is right there. I had to take advantage of it,” she said.
Young said she is devoted to helping others through outreach ministry with a strong passion for youth and single parent families. “I want to make a difference especially with families. I want to help build strong families,” said Young. In July 2014, Young published a memoir, titled, A Single Mother’s Journey from Suffering to Glory: My Testament of Faith. This book enables the reader to witness one woman’s hardships and how life-changing events propelled her to live a life of trust, perseverance and faith. Young has also worked in various positions and settings in the social work profession as an educator, therapist and mentor. Young served as an instructor in the Department of Social Work at The University of Mississippi and an adjunct professor of social work at The University of Memphis.
She worked as the director of programs at Sacred Heart Southern Missions – a faith-based organization located in northern Mississippi. “I’m very grateful for everything I learned at Scared Heart,” said Young, who added though she is not Catholic, she is familiar with the Catholic atmosphere and looks forward to working within the entire community. St. Gabriel Mercy Center started as a parish and school. It now operates as a community center, offering several programs, including St. Gabriel’s Closet, The Delta Boutique, GED, Learning Lab, Senior Outreach, Parents As Teachers and Emergency Assistance. The Sisters of Mercy and the Fanciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have provided leadership in the past.
(Story reprinted with permission from Bolivar Commercial.)