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Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in Elevate, Inspiration, Soul Food, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments

Woman on the RISE – Vonae Deyshawn

Woman on the RISE – Vonae Deyshawn

 

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LEAD Youth Initiative

Vonae Deyshawn | Founder & Executive Director 

VonaeA@leadyouth.org | www.leadyouth.org | @VonaeDeyshawn | Facebook

Your 140-character pitch: It’s not enough to complain about what’s going on in the world, we have to be willing to step out and do something. Someone is waiting on you

Do you have a personal philosophy you’d like to share? Live everyday of your life with the future in mind. Just because today seems hopeless, things will always get better. Keep striving for more and never let the “here and now” be your final destination.

Your immediate region {within 100 miles}: South Florida

Featured products &/or services:  Leadership development, Inspirational Teacher/Speaker, Writer, Event Planner, and Women’s Bible study curriculum creator.

What do people think you do for a living? I’m on staff at an awesome church so people generally assume that I’m a pastor. The first time I heard that, I sort of laughed out loud.

What do you actually do for a living? By day I am the Adult Ministries Coordinator for one of our newest regional campuses which is a fancy way of saying I get to plan fun, engaging women and men retreats, classes, Bible studies, and classes to help people improve their quality of life and relationship with Christ.

By night, I write a website for women called “Virtue.” It’s a compilation of articles with varying topics including style, relationships, budget, home décor, etc. I also spend time contributing to multiple sites to reach as many women as possible. This is a side note, but I’m a Twitter fanatic.

Tell us about your passions! I have two passions, fashion and people! Over the past two years, my passion for people has completely trampled my love for fashion. I find myself crying when I watch the news and see people who have given up on life. Nothing breaks my heart more than to know that someone feels hopeless. I know I can’t personally reach everyone, but I can start initiatives, get people involved, and then cover more ground. My love and passion for people drives everything I do.

Who|what inspires what you do? There are so many people and things that inspire what I do; my childhood, family, son, husband, former students, and people that I meet daily. Each person’s story has shaped me in a different way. My goal is to take what I experience and create meaningful solutions that will impact our world.

Was there a turning point in your life that led you to your current career? The turning point in my life was when I realized I had to help my students live better lives. As a twenty-two year old first year English teacher, I couldn’t believe how much basic morals and values had deteriorated in our culture. With the popularity of shows like The Jersey Shore, 16 and pregnant, and the like, my students just seemed to be lacking a strong foundation.

Seeking the help of my fellow administration and teachers, I quickly realized it was a battle I would fight alone. I didn’t know how or what helping them looked like, but I knew I couldn’t just let their lives go down the drain. So many of them were getting pregnant, talking about gangs, and just overall lost. As the desire and concern for my students escalated I felt a program called “LEAD Youth Initiative,” birthed in my heart. In my second year of teaching, I started a pilot program with a group of twenty girls that taught them leadership, etiquette and goal setting skills, while showing them the importance of academics and determination. After working with the young girls, my passion grew for their families; expanding my passion and purpose.

If money weren’t a factor, what would you be doing? I would love to build youth buildings for teens in cities across America that could be a fun place for them to go to hang out. Just a place packed with the most awesome equipment you could imagine that would be a safe haven for our youth. It would also serve as a place to equip parents to be the best parents they could possibly be.

Another dream of mine would be to start a dress line. I absolutely love wearing well-structured dresses and find it impossible to find exactly what I want to wear.

What’s in your Bucket List? My bucket list includes traveling to Italy, Paris, Greece, Australia, Egypt and Dubai. I would also love to publish my Young Adult novels and write curriculum for women. My ultimate item would be to become a snowbird. I absolutely hate Florida summers!

Knowing all you know now, what would you tell your 20 year old self? Don’t worry about your title and “what you want to be” when you grow up. Life is a journey and your plans and passions WILL change. Enjoy life and take it as it comes. Most importantly, be flexible and open to change.

What’s you go-to stress reliever? Drinking a Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks while lying on the beach.

How do you perceive retirement? I’m not sure if I ever want to retire honestly. As long as I get to do what I love to do, I feel like I could work forever.

What would you like your legacy to be? I would like to leave a legacy of women, men, and teens that are inspired and willing to go out and change the world. I want them to feel loved, respected and so empowered by the time we spent together that their passions overflow into the next generations.