Shaleea Venney is Unique

Tell Us about your background and upbringing?

I am the youngest of three children (only girl) from a 2 parent household. My mother did most of the parenting in our house because my father was in and out of prison for most of my childhood. I thrived academically growing up, so it was no surprise that I’d land in all of the best academic clubs/programs. I worked hard and got into a program that had me doing my college courses while simultaneously working on my high school career. I’d split my time between the High School and University campus. I found myself on my way to study abroad in Spain. My future was set. I met a boy and fell hard for him and found myself giving birth to our daughter at the age of 16, 3 weeks before I was supposed to leave for Spain and everything I’d worked so hard for change in an instant. I dropped out of school.

Where are you from?

I am from Long Beach, California

Where are you currently living?

I currently live with my husband and our two children in Westminster, Ca.

What would you like to share with the public that makes you Unique?

I was a teenager full of promise and destined for greatness when to everyone’s surprise, I ended up pregnant and gave birth to my first child at the age of 16. Bye bye future. Everyone counted me out and said I’d never recover. I worked harder than ever before and was determined not to quit. I eventually went back to school, became a nurse and pursued my lifelong dream of being an author. I scored a bestselling book writing to teens trying to help them overcome some of the pitfalls that I tripped over. I always had a heart to focus on at risk young women. The desire I had to help young women like me, pushed me right into my ultimate purpose and passion and I started a non profit for young women to help them overcome their adversities. We mentor, take them “out of the hood” to summer camps, host conferences, give away needed supplies, help them plan for college, and show them what is possible with hard work all at no cost to them or their families- ever.

What are the lessons that you've learned through your experiences that you would like to share with everyone?

My life didn’t work out as I had originally planned it. It’s BETTER! You can use the crappy hand you may have been dealt as an excuse not to keep going, or you can reshuffle the deck and make it work for you. Others are counting on you to be who you were created to be. Don’t be ashamed of your starting point.

Any closing words you would like to share?

My greatest struggle turned out to be my biggest blessing. It made me who I am. Never let anyone tell you who you are, what you can’t do, or what you’re capable of. YOU are the author of your destiny, write your story beautifully.

Interview by: Gina Carey