Shanika Ward

I currently serve at the North Mississippi Regional Center as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP), or, for short, an advocate.  The primary responsibility of a QIDP is to support people in achieving their personal goals by assessing, monitoring, documenting and ensuring quality care to the people served. Serving as an advocate is truly inspirational because it offers the opportunity to work with people from every walk of life. Advocacy is so multifaceted. Whether you’re advocating for yourself or on behalf of someone else, advocacy is all about supporting someone by standing behind their views, their wishes and their rights.

I have always been one to volunteer and roll up my sleeves to help others. My favorite memories from growing up are from helping others with small tasks to accomplish something greater. My mom is a nurse, so I would spend a lot of my time with senior citizens and people with mental and physical health needs. Given my background working with marginalized groups, I came to understand advocacy as the process of working on behalf of people whose voices have been historically silenced. It was not until I began working at NMRC that I developed a wider understanding and appreciation for the role of advocacy. I am dedicated to the pursuit of purpose and to simply making the world a better place. Nothing lights up my world more than having the opportunity to help others shine and to offer a platform, voice or a path for others who may need assistance to have their say. 

“Lead with integrity, and never allow anyone to tip your crown.”

BEST CAREER MOMENT SO FAR: The residents at the NMRC have provided me with SO many fulfilling moments! I would have to say the best moment I have had is seeing one of my favorites transition to community living, and then into his own apartment with adequate supports. I still receive a phone call every Christmas, where I receive updates on his world! It truly melts the heart.

I would love to know more about United-Way of Oxford-Lafayette County. They do a truly phenomenal job at supporting so many organizations and citizens throughout our amazing county! I would love to learn more about their mission and impact.

Hometown: I was born here in Oxford and lived in the historic Freedmen Town area on North 6th Street (next to Martin Luther King, Jr. Circle) until my family moved to Water Valley. I grew up in Water Valley and I am a proud Water Valley Blue Devil.
I can’t start my day until: I watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” grab a tea from Cabana Nutrition, and listen to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey during my car concert on my way to work 😊! After that, I am ready for whatever the day brings!
Hobbies:  I truly enjoy volunteering and assisting others in my spare time. I am currently the president of the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford. Being in this role, and being the first-ever African American president for this chapter, has truly been a transformational experience. I am also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the League of Women Voters- Oxford, North MS. I serve as a board member for Doors of Hope and the Lafayette County Literacy Council. Volunteering is a “work of heart,” and it keeps me going! 
Last Good Read: “Mustard Seed Mentality” by Dr. Jade L. Ranger
Favorite Meal in Town: I absolutely LOVE the Chicory Market! John and Kate have done such a phenomenal job at expanding, and with their new location, they have such a variety of fresh food items and the most delicious deli sandwiches! But, if I see the Sunday Best Food Truck is open, I am definitely heading over for a burger!
Favorite Quote:Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”  -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe