From Long Beach Ca, Shaleea Venney is a 2 time bestselling Author and Speaker. She is also the President and Founder of Venney Girl Inc, a non profit organization for at risk young women. Through Venney Girl Inc, she is making a difference one girl at a time, through summer camps, mentoring programs, conferences, and workshops, which are always completely FREE for all of her girls. Once a teen mom, Shaleea has devoted her work to reaching young women and helping them to rise above their circumstances.
She wrote and published her 1st book of Poetry: Love Letters to Jesus in 2o13 and began keynote speaking at conferences, churches, and schools. People began to solicit her to help them with their important writing tasks. She has helped many people write touching and beautiful wedding vows that genuinely fit each individual. She’s helped numerous people land their dream jobs by revamping their resumes and coaching them on how to nail their job interviews. She has even helped grieving families lay their loved ones to rest with beautiful home going poems, obituaries, and words.
Mark Twain once said that to write well, one must “Write what you know”. So, she shares her God given ability. What everyone said was her biggest downfall (Being a teen mom) is her greatest assignment. It is her passion and purpose to reach young women and keep them on the path to unlocking their wildest dreams.
As the President and Founder of the Non-Profit Venney Girl Inc, we reach young women and those at risk, and provide them with the needed tools and support to succeed even when the odds are stacked against them. She is living proof that how you start has nothing to do with how you finish and that “You are the author of your own destiny, write your story beautifully.”
“Where I come from, there aren’t many opportunities for the youth to spend constructive time because they have closed most of the community centers like the Boys and Girls Clubs. The summer camps and activities that do still exist, seem to be priced above what most families can afford-especially if they have multiple children. I wanted to change that. We do a summer camp every year where we take our girls somewhere beautiful away from “the hood” to show them what is possible.
BLAQVERSITY MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR GIFT AND PASSION TO WRITE?
SHALEEA VENNEY: I have been writing as far back as I could remember. As a child, I wrote poetry and essays for fun. I was always the happiest when I was writing. When I was in Elementary school I discovered that I could connect with people through my words, it changed everything for me. Peoples’ reactions to my words gave me a deep sense of purpose, and I knew then, even as a child, that I wanted to spend my life writing.
BLAQVERSITY: YOUR FIRST BOOK WAS PUBLISHED 2013 CALLED “LOVE LETTERS TO JESUS” WHICH IS A POETRY BOOK. WHERE DID YOUR MOTIVATION COME FROM?
SHALEEA: I am grounded in my faith. God has always been the center of my life. Someone told me that your passion/purpose is your gift from God but what you do with it is your gift to God. I had such a testimony and God had been so faithful to me that I wanted to honor Him and also speak to the masses about Him. It was only fitting that my first book be an open love letter to Him that’s why it’s a free E book download on my website.
BLAQVERSITY: YOU HAVE SEVERAL BOOKS THAT MADE IT TO THE BEST SELLER’S LIST. THAT IS AN AWESOME ACHIEVEMENT TO HAVE UNDER YOUR BELT! TELL US MORE ABOUT THE BOOK “LITTLE GIRL LITTLE GIRL, DON’T GET LOST IN THIS WORLD” AND “UGLY LOVE” WHICH IS A COLLECTION OF POETRY.
SHALEEA: Little Girl, Little Girl, is a book I wrote to my daughter. I was a teen mother and had her when I just 16. I started looking at our society, especially after the advent of social media. There are around 11 million single parent families with children under the age of 18 in the U.S. 80% are led by single mothers according to the 2019 US Census Bureau. Mothers are working multiple jobs and doing what they can to survive sometimes at the expense of not being as present as they’d like to be for their children. Young women are growing up without fathers and sometimes with either full time working mothers, or without great role models to look up to in their mothers. So, they are learning who and how to be, from outside influences and social media. This is especially dangerous. I wanted to write to them. To caution them about life and to guide them through their struggles that they may not always readily share with the adults in their lives. I wanted it to be real and to come from someone who has been there. My hope was that the book could also be a great conversation starter between young women and their guardians as well.
Ugly Love *Laughs* came from a real place as well. It’s for lovers and cheaters. It’s for anyone who has ever had their heart broken. It’s for anyone who has ever broken someone’s heart. Love is life on its highest wavelength. It’s meant to be celebrated and treasured. I wanted to write about what happens when love isn’t protected and the collateral damage that ensues when someone chooses not to honor their spouse appropriately. I wrote it mad and or in tears so it’s very raw.
BLAQVERSITY: BESIDES AN AUTHOR, YOU ARE ALSO A KEYNOTE SPEAKER, THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF YOUR OWN NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION CALLED VENNEY GIRL, INC. AND OFFER WRITING SERVICES AS WELL. LET’S FIRST START BY TALKING ABOUT BEING A KEYNOTE SPEAKER. WHAT DO YOU SPEAK ON?
SHALEEA: I speak to teen girls at youth detention centers, middle and high schools, at conferences, and retreats. I speak at Religious events. Families have hired me to speak at funerals and to write poetry in honor of their loved ones. I speak at weddings using my words to toast the bride and groom. I have keynoted relationship conferences (I have been with my husband for 18 years-married 10). I speak at healthcare conventions and conferences because I am also a Licensed Nurse. I don’t have a limit to my speaking topics because I speak the language of life.
BLAQVERSITY: TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR NON-PROFIT CALLED VENNEY GIRL, INC. BY THE WAY I LIKE THE NAME. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION/MOTIVATION BEHIND CREATING THIS?
SHALEEA: VGI is my heart! When I wrote my Little Girl book, it received a great response from young women and their families. People wanted to connect further. I knew I had to do more. My book birthed VGI.
BLAQVERSITY: WHAT ACTIVITIES/PROGRAMS DO YOU OFFER THROUGH YOUR NON-PROFIT?
SHALEEA: Where I come from, there aren’t many opportunities for the youth to spend constructive time because they have closed most of the community centers like the Boys and Girls Clubs. The summer camps and activities that do still exist, seem to be priced above what most families can afford-especially if they have multiple children. I wanted to change that. We do a summer camp every year where we take our girls somewhere beautiful away from “the hood” to show them what is possible. We do conferences, retreats, school supply giveaways, hygiene and beauty supply giveaways, Mentoring programs, bonding exercises and more. The best part: Everything we do for our girls is always completely free for our girls and their families. I never want money to be the reason our girls can’t blossom.
BLAQVERSITY: LETS TALK ABOUT YOUR WRITING AND EDITING SERVICES. IT’S AMAZING THAT YOU ARE MULTI-TASKING WITH ALL YOUR TALENTS. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO THE WRITING AND EDITING BUSINESS? WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?
SHALEEA: *Laughs* This literally happened by accident. I have several friends in business and we often play off of each other’s strengths. I am the writer/content editor by nature. I always read the copy on websites, in books, or newspapers and think THIS IS WRONG! It’s such a turnoff and it makes me immediately think the business isn’t professional. I do this for my friends. They send me their copy for social media, interviews they are doing, fliers, or their websites, and I give it a look over and tweak it before it hits their audiences. I never charge them and it was honestly something I was just doing out of love until my friend, as only she can, looked me in the eye and said “Dummy! You could do this for others. Some of us are visionaries but not writers or copy editors” A light-bulb went off and I made it a service on my site that has been very successful.
BLAQVERSITY: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
SHALEEA: The bible says our gifts will make room for us. So I see myself blessed. I see myself quitting my day job and writing and speaking full time. I see me being a light for my family. I see myself on speaking panels next to amazing people, on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and chatting with our forever First Lady Michelle Obama. More mentoring. VGI with a chapter In every state. I see myself fully operating in all of my gifts.
BLAQVERSITY: I SEE THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON SOME NEW BOOK PROJECTS THAT WILL BE RELEASING THIS YEAR. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BLACK GIRL CHRONICLES: A COLLECTION OF POETRY. WITHOUT GIVING THE STORY AWAY, WHAT CAN THE READERS EXPECT FROM YOUR NEW BOOK? I’M EXCITED!
SHALEEA: The BGC is a love letter to my fellow black women that speaks to experiences that only we will understand. From dating and love, touching our hair, to being pretty for a black girl, and being the only brown face in the corporate boardroom. They can laugh at it, and relate and say “YES” someone said it! It’s for all of my sisters!
BLAQVERSITY: WILL THERE BE PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR NEW BOOKS THIS YEAR?
SHALEEA: Yes. Pre-orders are in the shop section of my website ShaleeaVenney.com right now.
BLAQVERSITY: YOU ALSO HAVE OTHER NEW TITLES SUCH AS ‘HAPPILY EVER AFTER’ AND ‘PARDON ME: I CAN’T RECALL! SURVIVING ALZHEIMER’S. THOSE TITLES ARE VERY EYE-CATCHING. WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THOSE BOOKS TO BE RELEASED?
SHALEEA: Happily Ever After is coming May 2020 just in time for wedding season. It’s a 31 day devotional for wives and any woman seeking to be married that tackles issues married couples face and how to tackle them from a word based point of view. Pardon me I can’t Recall is coming this November for Alzheimer’s Awareness month and is for the caregivers and loved ones of Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients. I was the Director of nursing for an Alzheimer’s unit and I often got the same questions from families desperate for advice, so I put it in a book for them.
BLAQVERSITY: I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT YOUR NEW PODCAST THAT YOU HAVE COMING SOON! CONGRATS ON THAT! CAN YOU GIVE US SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON YOUR NEW SHOW?
SHALEEA: I am so geeked about this project! Lots of people have asked me about an audio book for my Little Girl Book- this is probably the next best thing. It will be based on the book chapters and I’ll have guests whose backgrounds match the chapters, come on and have conversations with me about the topics. We’ll have fan Fridays, listeners can join our Facebook group which I will be heavily apart of- The Girl Way Nation, and we will all learn, laugh, grow, and heal together. It will be for all women and you can listen with your daughters.
BLAQVERSITY: WHAT IS NEXT FOR SHALEEA? WHAT CAN THE READERS EXPECT NEXT?
SHALEEA: Bigger and Better. My goal is to keep going and enjoy the journey. I have no idea what is in store for me next and I think that’s the beauty of it. I am writing and working on new projects everyday. I will position myself to be prepared for what God has in store for me next!
BLAQVERSITY: HOW CAN READERS CONNECT WITH YOU?
SHALEEA: ShaleeaVenney.com, @Shaleea_Venney on IG, Author Shaleea Venney on Facebook
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