INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman has been recognized nationally from the Jefferson Awards for Multiplying Good, which celebrates unsung heroes doing selfless work in our communities.
Jenna Shaffer is the founder and CEO of 91 Place, which launched in 2019.
The transitional housing program provided a safe space to land for children and young adults, who don't have their own place to call home. It serves young people between the ages of 17 and 22 who are homeless.
“I really love Jenna, I do. She does so much for me, and I really want her to know that,” Eba'Neesha Bowles, former 91 Place resident, said.
WRTV first introduced viewers to Hoosiers who were moved by the work, love and dedication of Shaffer in March.
“She’s not doing it for her face on a billboard or anything,” Karynn Adamowicz, with 91 Place, said. “She’s doing this to serve and empower these other human beings – to dignify the youth who have, many times, come from tragedy.”
Previously, Shaffer was a case worker with an organization called Outreach, working with homeless high school students.
In March, WRTV surprised Shaffer with the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good bronze medal, which put her in a pool with roughly a thousand other Americans who have been recognized in their communities across the country.
But few each year receive the organization’s highest recognition, an award named for the former First Lady who launched the program to recognize those dedicated to public service.
“More than 1,000 people are featured across the country every year by media partners for the Jefferson Award and only five are selected each year to receive the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service, so congratulations, we’re all very proud of you,” WRTV’s Marc Mullins said.
Shaffer was presented the gold medal at her Indianapolis home.
Typically, recipients receive the prestigious award in person during a gala, but Shaffer couldn’t attend Wednesday’s event in New York because just days ago, she and her husband welcomed a new member to their family – a baby boy named Josiah.
91 Place has expanded to include three homes. The organization also offers assistance to help young adults return to school, find jobs and obtain their own housing.
For more information on 91 Place, click here.