A Kentucky State University alumna found her calling in social services.

Ladeidra N. Jones, a 2003 graduate, was appointed in January 2019 to a four-year appointment on the Kentucky Parole Board.

“My love for this demographic began when I worked in a county jail, which was my internship while at Kentucky State,” Jones said. “On visitation days, I would watch women and children visiting with loved ones and I always wondered how and why.”

Jones said she developed an affinity for working with people who have substance abuse histories after having experienced family members, former classmates, friends and colleagues deal with addiction.

Jones said her work hits very close to home.

“My nephew, whom I have custody of, was born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome as a result of his mother’s intravenous heroin usage while pregnant,” Jones said.

Jones has worked as a probation and parole officer, a substance abuse clinician and now as a full-time member of the Kentucky Parole Board.

“What I have found is criminal behavior is often a direct result of drug use and/or some form of trauma, childhood or otherwise,” Jones said. “I have spent the better part of my career working to understand addiction, provide direction for incarcerated individuals and their families, and promote awareness for substance abuse programs/resources, re-entry programming and criminal justice reform.”

Jones said her goal in life is to encourage, uplift, redirect and assist those who suffer with criminal behavior and/or addiction.

Jones said her best memories at Kentucky State are of the faculty and staff like Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Longstreet, Ms. Bush, Mr. Little and Dr. Helm, who poured into the lives of students over the years.

The most important thing she learned at Kentucky State, Jones said, was something a professor once told her: “You were never intended to go through life alone. Make a friend, be a friend.”

Jones encouraged current and future Thorobreds to define their own success and go be great.

Jones earned an MBA at Midway University in 2013 and certification as an alcohol and drug counselor in 2015. She has a 15-year-old son and 3-year-old nephew.