The shelter happened to be next to Cuyahoga Community College and Basheer's earliest childhood memories are of spending many hours in the college library learning of the world of opportunities beyond his impoverished circumstances.
Growing up in tough east side Cleveland neighborhoods around St. Clair Avenue, he saw drugs, violence and hopelessness.
But Basheer lived each day according to what his mother had taught him -- to not see the world as what is immediately around him but as what is in his heart.
In his early teens, he became involved in the BRICK program, begun by Cleveland police officer Tim Roberts, to motivate young people.
Roberts would become a father figure to Basheer and would encourage Basheer's love of the spoken and written word.
Basheer would attend and graduate from Morehouse College, undertake graduate studies, and become the youngest radio talk show host in the nation on two stations in Cleveland.
On Thursday, as part of Black History Month, Basheer Jones spoke to grade school students at Citizen's Leadership Academy and high school students at his alma mater, Martin Luther King High School.
His message to them was to be leaders themselves, leaders like eagles who soar independently, rather than pigeons who flock together.
He encouraged them to develop their talents and find a way to give back their talents in their hometown, to make Cleveland a better place for all.