Shonnetta Turner

Work hard in school. Set your sights on college. Go for the big bucks.

That’s the advice Shonnetta Turner got from family members all through high school.

She took the advice to heart. She graduated high school and moved to Ypsilanti to attend Eastern Michigan University.

But Turner said she never felt right being so far away from Highland Park, where she grew up, so she returned to metro Detroit.

At the time, most of the work that was available was through temporary staffing agencies. After a flurry of short-term assignments in various factories, Turner said she resolved to focus her energies on a single career. But what?

It was a family member who, citing Shonnetta’s compassionate and patient nature, suggested that she seek training as a certified nurse assistant through the Red Cross.

Working as a CNA has suited her well for the last 15 years. She was one of the first employees hired by Marisa Home Care and has remained with the company for seven years. She has grown into additional responsibilities as an on-call supervisor.

“There’s nothing wrong with working on the [assembly] line, but it feels more special to me to be working with someone’s mother or father,” Shonnetta said. “I learn so many interesting things about Detroit and its history from the people I care for. That’s a perk of the job.”

Occasionally Shonnetta said she finds herself in a position of modeling for family members gentle ways of communicating with people living with dementia-related confusion.

In her off hours, Shonnetta says she likes to relax and watch movies. She also loves playing with her three preschool-aged granddaughters.