Creator, Founder & CEO
Creator & Founder of 100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans, NFP
Yvette Jones - Swanson, M.A
A long read...
Yvette Jones - Swanson is the 9th of 10 children born to Chicago parents who were married for 40 years. She is from a long line of military family members - Uncle Ralph was in the Army and served in World War II. Honorably discharged with injuries.
Two older brothers both serving in the Marine Corp during and in Vietnam. Both returning home safely however with "shell shock". Now known as PTSD.
Another older brother also serving in the Marine Corp as an honored guard at the Pentagon and other notable US locations.
Several nephews also serving in the Marine Corp and Navy.
Yvette's childhood home showcased these honorable men on picture shelves in the living room. Everyone was so proud of them all. Especially her!
It was Yvette's dream to join her brothers and so she did July 1983. She joined the US Army right after graduating Cathedral High School.
She began drilling soon after to prepare for basic training in February 1984.
Boot camp was going well until the unthinkable happened. Shocking to say the least.
Well that's a whole story that is really too personal to talk about here. Needless to say her military career ended with injuries.
Yvette returned home to start a new life, lost! Married in DV situations. Homeless. Couch surfing. Living in her car and eventually in a shelter for abused women.
What a life of unfortunate events that forged one of the most caring women you'd ever want to meet.
Yvette went to work at the city of Chicago Department of Revenue. That's where she was introduced to real estate, ie SROs (single room occupancies).
She then studied and received her real estate license in 1996 and a Master's Degree from NEIU in 1998. Her career took her in various directions and she found her niche in 2002 when she began meeting people with similar backgrounds - military, MST, homeless and DV.
That's where what she had learned during her trials and tribulations along with real estate went into effect!
Since Yvette was able to navigate herself from homeless to homeownership. She was well equipped to help over 5000 homeless veterans. People just like herself.
Her new life's work was helping to navigate people's lives. Known to many as "Life Changer".
"Hello, Ms Yvette Jones, I know it isn't, because you housed my family and myself this past summer and for that we are so very GRATEFUL to God and you. I am so very Blessed to be a part of our 10+ years of friendship, you are the EPITOME of what it is to have a HEART OF COMPASSION!!!! you make it look easy, because God has your back Love to mother from us" Bonnie Ray Neats US Air Force (a close friend and veteran who has since made his transition).
Yvette was asked to participate in groups at the VA to speak on housing with homeless veterans. That's where she began meeting female veterans who also experienced homelessness, MST and DV.
She remembered what it was like being homeless and not having the necessities to survive as a homeless female. That's when she began gifting other female veterans with a purse filled with toiletries.
As the Vice Chair of the Village of Park Forest Yvette introduced the very 1st 100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans in December 2015 to celebrate 100 female veterans and to gift them all with several purses filled with toiletries and other gifts.
2020 - 100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans received its nor for profit status. 2023 marks 9 years of continued celebrations of honoring female veterans and letting them know they all matter. Guests include community leaders, government officials, donors and sponsors and veteran service organizations.
To everyone who has helped along the way "Thank you all".
Yvette says "I'm looking forward to more years of continued service."