SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — Words have the power to hurt someone and also the power to heal. And words that once helped a Siouxland woman are now helping others as she pays it forward.

“I’ve been talking my whole life. I can remember getting in trouble in first grade, getting detention in first grade from talking too much, so I think talking has always come natural to me and talking to other people,” Jackson said.

What she used to get in trouble for as a kid, Jennifer Jackson now calls “a gift.” For almost 20 years, Jackson has been a licensed therapist. Talking to people is her purpose.

“Mental health has always been a passion of mine, especially since my dad died when I was 15,” Jackson said. “I went into therapy right away, and that was really a turning point in my life. I just saw how it helped so much.”

And that’s what she does. She talks and listens, using her gift to help others.

“I kind of have a knack for if I see somebody, I’m like, ‘Oh, how do I know them? And I’ll just go up and start talking to them [be]cause I recognize them. So a lot of people say I’m a chip off the old block from my dad. My dad is the same way he never knew a stranger,” Jackson recalls.

She is currently the director of Heartland Counseling, a counseling service in Sioux City, but her dedication to the community doesn’t end there.

When Jennifer isn’t spending time with her husband, or their three children, she’s helping other children, across the state. She informs both students and teachers helping them spot the signs of abuse and ways to escape certain situations.

“What are some different interventions that they could do, so teaching the teachers grounding techniques and different things to fidget with.”

During her brief time Mariposa Place, an adult daycare housing unit in Kansas, Jackson had started a program to provide therapy to disabled people.

Though she resides in Sioux City, she still stays involved from afar, while keeping busy helping so many others. Showing again and again, Jennifer Jackson’s spirit of community.