We had the good fortune of connecting with Destiny Jernigan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Destiny, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
For years, I placed so much emphasis on my career accomplishments, thinking it was an influential way of impacting the community. After five years in business and continuous dead-ends, I prayed and reflected on my ordained purpose. My career was foster-care focused, so I centralized my mission to support foster children and foster families in need. A few months ago, I re-branded Destiny’s Giving Hand Inc. (DGHI) with a new mission and purpose.
Starting at an early age, I was abused physically, sexually, & emotionally. I focused my life towards helping vulnerable children (foster children) as I could relate to their experiences. Being molested by a leader in my church and severely beaten by my mother until the age of 17 years old, were traumas I unconsciously ignored or failed to face. I understood my assignment was to help others, but the capacity of focus was not aligned.
Destiny’s Giving Hand Inc. is a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization whose sole mission is to educate, advocate, mentor, and support victims of abuse or neglect. Support is not limited to children. As an adult who still lives with the side-effects of childhood abuse, I understand the need for support through childhood into adulthood. Many support programs target abused children and the support is limited once you are 18 years old. My goal is to provide long-term, free of cost, support groups for anyone exposed to abuse.
Experiencing abuse firsthand has positioned me to empathize with the population I am called to serve. In the last 5 years, my Organization has helped hundreds of children and families through times of uncertainty including being a support through the pandemic. Individuals who experience abuse or neglect are at increased risk of domestic violence, alcohol/drug abuse, depression, & suicide. These long-term effects are not always visible and there is no way to pinpoint what someone may be experiencing. My goal is create a safe-space, whether virtual or in-person, and be an uplifting source for those I relate to the most.
My overall goal is to help the community and individuals world-wide by sharing my story, educating, and building an avenue of support. Lastly, I aim to enable and uplift victims of abuse to build trust & healthy relationships with others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I began my career with the YMCA as a Camp Counselor for a foster care camp which led me to working in the private and government sectors of child advocacy as it relates to foster care. Anyone in social services or a child welfare career understands, social workers do not typically work in this field for the money. For 7 years I investigated cases involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, medical neglect, emotional abuse, physical neglect, neglectful supervision, and child death. Initially, it was a lot to mentally manage but over the years, I was able to manage the emotional effects of the job by using my personal experience as motivation. Currently, I manage a statewide Family Assessment Program where we assess the risk of children being placed in alternative placements when abuse/neglect have occurred in their biological placements.
I mostly feel fulfilled when I am in the role of leadership where I am able to make a difference in the lives of children and implement processes to ensure their safety and well-being. Whether I am advocating during my 9-5 or my nonprofit, I ensure I am walking in my purpose daily in some capacity.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I honestly have to improve on my outing’s list as I am such a homebody. My favorite thing to do is eat! Then, eat some more! I enjoy visiting Red Crab in Addison, I am addicted to Chiloso, and Kookie Haven has the BEST cakes! If anyone visits, they have to plan on gaining a few pounds 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My friends and family are the sole reason DGHI is relevant and a success. The number of hours they have invested into volunteering, meeting’s, networking, and assisting in anything I need is a blessing.
Facebook: Destiny’s Giving Hand Incorporated