Compassion in Action: The Story of Jeanne Shuman and Jake’s Journey Home

In the heart of every community, there are unsung heroes quietly dedicating their lives to uplifting the marginalized, serving the underserved, and bringing hope where it is needed most. Jeanne Shuman, a beacon of compassion and resilience, stands among these remarkable individuals. As a devoted mother, seasoned advocate, and founder of Jake’s Journey Home, Jeanne embodies the spirit of selflessness and determination. Jake’s Journey Home is a non-profit, community-based volunteer organization assisting unhoused veterans and community members in changing their life paths through wrap-around support services. Their nonprofit serves primarily in the Folsom, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, and Fair Oaks area. 


Jeanne’s journey into volunteering was born out of tragedy, fueled by love, and guided by an unwavering commitment to make a difference. Join us as we delve into Jeanne’s inspiring story, her profound impact on the lives of countless individuals, and her vision for a community built on compassion and service. 

Photo by Community Solutions

Describe yourself, your role, and why you were motivated to work in the volunteer space.


I am a mother, first and foremost. I raised nine children. I received my degree in Criminal Justice. I have worked with ‘at-risk’ underserved and underrepresented people for decades. I began Jake’s Journey Home (JJH) out of a broken heart. My son, Jake, a US Navy SeaBee and small business owner, and I worked with unhoused veterans and community members to get them [connected to] services. He passed in 2019, and I had to decide what life was worth. 

I began JJH to continue my son’s legacy of making someone’s tomorrow better than today. What makes me continue this journey is my son, Joey. He suffered unthinkable trauma at a young age and tried to survive his mental health. He passed in 2021. He is why I continue to volunteer my time working with our 300+ client base, providing the best ‘boots on the ground’ navigation services.



2. Tell us your organization’s mission and goals. What population(s) do you serve?


Jake’s Journey Home’s mission is to Connect. Respect. Assist. Our goal is to meet folks where they are and assist in navigating a difficult system of services to create a life of success and sustainability. We serve any, and all people who need help with the most basic of needs and those that require sobriety programs, mental health, transitional/permanent housing, job skills, legal assistance, and more.


3. Why is volunteering with your organization important? How does it lead to a long-lasting impact within our community?


Working with the ‘extremely at-risk people’ brings a sense of community and hope. Our entire nonprofit is all volunteer-based. Volunteering helps to develop a trusting and caring relationship with those experiencing homelessness, trauma, and all the issues that come with it. We make a huge impact in our community because those we have helped are doing well and those who we have begun to help see the successes of others and want that for themselves.



4. What are the elements of a successful volunteer in the homeless response system?


Successful volunteers in the homeless response system typically exhibit key qualities and behaviors, including compassion and empathy. Reliability, commitment, and adaptability work hand in hand to create communication skills that help to develop trust and a non-judgmental problem-solving attitude. Mastering patience gives way to hope, love, and the ability to deal in an honest and straightforward manner.

5. Share a success story of how volunteers have made a difference through your organization or the event you volunteered at?


One of our clients I found on the trails behind a park [appearing to be self-injecting addictive substances]. I spent the next few months getting to know him and helping with his medical needs. I found out he was a veteran. He finally agreed to go into rehab. We facilitated mental health services and transitional housing. We provided a bicycle for transportation and a loaner phone. Then, we collaborated with a local company to give him employment. He finally received his HUD- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher, and another nonprofit we work with donated a vehicle to him. Our mobile navigation services, going to where folks are and doing assessments are the gold star response to unhoused people. We take them from beginning to end—inpatient and mental health to housing and employment. Our client base has over 300 and is growing daily. We have more and more people wanting to volunteer to become part of the solution for their community.



6. How can individuals or groups get involved with volunteering? Are there any specific requirements or qualifications? How can other organizations collaborate or partner with you?


We have many avenues for volunteerism. We have a group that does sewing and community projects if you are a behind-the-scenes type person. We have a feed group that makes 20-30 meals a day for our outreach, and a Saturday dinner in the park for folks. We also train people to assist with outreach, utilizing our mobile unit to be the ‘boots on the ground’ assistance many people need to begin their healing and life path change of success and sustainability. Qualifications are only people wanting to roll up their sleeves to help be a part of the solution. We have something for everyone, including folks that have been through our program. We collaborate with many organizations on many different levels. We are looking to open an assistance center to bolster what we are already doing with our mobile unit. This will require more collaboration from the County at

Jeanne Shuman’s story is a testament to the transformative power of service and the enduring legacy of love. Through Jake’s Journey Home, she has not only honored the memory of her beloved sonsJake and Joeybut has also forged a path of hope and healing for those in need. Her dedication to addressing the challenges faced by underserved communities extends beyond mere assistance; it’s a call to action for systemic change and community empowerment. Jeanne envisions a future where every individual, regardless of their circumstances, can access the necessary support and resources to thrive. As we reflect on Jeanne’s journey, let us be reminded of the profound impact each one of us can make when we extend a helping hand, lend a listening ear, and share a moment of kindness. Together, let us celebrate service, embrace compassion, and continue to build a community where everyone has a place to call home. Connect. Respect. Assist. 

May 2, 2024 | Published by Sacramento Steps Forward

The responses above reflect the views of the those interviewed and do not represent the opinions of SSF, the Sacramento Continuum of Care, or our partners. These interviews serve to highlight the diverse contributions of volunteers in the homelessness response system.