Although she has lived in Federal Way for the past 40 years, Sharon L. Jones is a citizen of the world. She was born in Shreveport, La. Her father was in the Air Force, and growing up, she moved from state to state with her family. Their time in each place varied, mostly lasting two or three years. They even spent some time in Africa.
Sharon had a difficult road to Seattle. While living in Washington, D.C., she descended into a spiral of drugs and alcohol that culminated with her being found passed out in a parking lot. She attributes her survival to God and her faith.
"God must have opened up my eyes. God had to wake me up. If I didn't believe in the Lord, I wouldn't have made it this far."
Sharon decided to move out to Seattle to get a fresh start. Over the years she has watched the city grow.
"When I got out here there wasn't anything but I-5," she said. There were so few tall buildings, "I could see the Space Needle clearly from anywhere."
Sharon has continually worked two or three jobs at a time in order to make ends meet, including security and as a caregiver. What she likes most about her job selling Real Change are the interactions she has with customers.
"Meeting people out there is beautiful. I love people. Even if I got another job out there I would still sell Real Change."
Sharon's view is that "all people, whoever they are, they are beautiful."
Sharon recently got a patent for a solar-powered light to illuminate Metro bus stops at night. Right now she cannot afford to license and manufacture the light, but she hopes to do so one day and use the proceeds to open up a homeless housing facility. She would name it "The Greatest Love Homeless Ministry."
"The facility would be to help everyone else out as much as we possibly can," she said. "Nobody would leave unless they wanted to. They could pull themselves out of poverty; we could help them."