July 21, 2024

Alumna Cortina Jackson Gives Back this Holiday with the Salvation Army

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has always been a favorite of Cortina Jackson’s. Cortina, an author, actress, producer and talk show host has no trouble keeping busy throughout the year. On top of that, she serves as a manager with the Salvation Army, and there is something about Christmas time that makes her job even more special.

“I played a homeless person on an acting job once and people came up to me thinking I was actually homeless,” she said. “They were willing to help me, and they didn’t even know me. From that experience, I started thinking how there were so many people in need, so I started working for a homeless shelter. From there, I ended up promoting to the Salvation Army and now I am the manager of social services.”

Cortina, a three-time CSU graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in occupational safety and health, says one of her favorite projects this season is the Salvation Army Angel Tree.

“Our Angel Tree project is where we have Christmas trees everywhere with names and wish lists. People can select names off the tree, purchase those items and bring them to our warehouse where we wrap the toys and send them to the families of the children. We want the kids to know that this came from their families, not us.”

One of the most well-known projects of the Salvation Army is the Red Kettle. These volunteers stand outside of stores ringing bells and accepting donations that are used to fund other projects throughout the year. For Cortina, it is nothing short of a humbling experience.

“When I am able to get out there and ring the bell, it is always the most wonderful feeling,” she said. “Something about Christmas is that it’s a joyous occasion for many, but for some it’s a sad time. There is something about being able to have that interaction and, if nothing else, brighten their day with a smile or tell them I’m praying for them. It always moves me greatly to be able to help people in that way.”

Cortina is able to utilize her other talents, such as motivational speaking, to help those who are in need.

“As I am motivating people, now I can also direct them to the services they may need,” she said. “After a speaking engagement or after I film something, people come to me in need I know exactly where to direct them for immediate assistance.”

Not only during the Christmas season, but year-round, Cortina lends her servant’s heart to those around her. As for future plans, she is set to begin filming her own talk show soon where she combines her knowledge of criminal justice and safety with real life experience to help spread awareness to others on important topics.

“The objective of the show is to inspire, empower and inform men and women about domestic violence, and other forms of abuse, trauma, gaslighting, narcissism, manipulation and entrainment; and to provide awareness in recognizing the bait, often used on potential victims,” she said. “I am so grateful to CSU for helping me fulfill all of my dreams and aspirations.”

To keep up with Cortina’s latest projects, you can visit her website at For more information on the Salvation Army visit

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.