“Modern Day Joan of Arc”
My half-sister Shanda Renee has lived an incredible life. Everyone from the outside looking in can't fathom how she manages to keep that big smile of hers to this day. Her heart is bigger than the ocean, giving off her own back, helping hurting people while she herself has had nothing and been so hurt. Her life started with tragedy, born into an alcoholic and violent home and being molested as a child. (I am her step sister and came along after our mother divorced her dad and married mine) The abuse seemed to follow her throughout her life. She became a single mom after escaping her abusive marriage to her drug addicted husband in her young 20's. She struggled for so long to survive and raise my nephew, her son. During so much time of grief even back then, I would see her making over homeless people and doing amazing things that most people just don't do for others. That kind of genuine love exudes from my sister to this day although she has been beaten down and left for dead. She has gone on to accomplish some of the most life changing things. I don't know how she has done it in the last 4 years, but following a tragic surgery that left her with permanent nerve damage and paralysis in her back, losing everything she had worked hard to build for herself and my nephew, (including her wedding photography business), being thrown into a nightmare lawsuit that dragged her through hell and ended in the most conspired unjust way, living her life in daily pain and fighting against everyone and everything including her ex husband, the government and hundreds of doctors - she continued to raise her son by being a good mom, a good person to others, and holding on to her faith. My sister started a charity and outreach program helping the homeless and single moms. She created and held events down on Skid Row in LA including giving away thousands of blankets saving a church from being shut down. She has published articles and blogs, recorded two award winning Christian inspirational songs. She also produced and directed a music video for one of them and is raising funds for the second. She has gone back to college, rehabilitated herself and has obtained her certificate in real estate, which she is now licensed, with a vision to create housing for single mothers and their children. She even took a helicopter pilot training course. That just scrapes the surface of my sister. She recently was asked to do a huge interview that is more of a mini-auto biography she calls it, of her life story that should be published into a full book to inspire other woman!
Since first being nominated in 2013 for the Eagle Rare Life Award, Shanda Renee has since signed with a literary management company and is writing her personal memoir, in which she intimately reveals her life's struggles and how she has continued to rise above, coming out not just a survivor but a conquerer! Shanda Renee plans on donating a percentage of her book profits to single mothers and she hopes that her story will continue to help, inspire and encourage women. http://www.ghliterary.com/shanda-renee/
Shanda has also worked very hard to establish her official non-profit and is happy to announce the launch of One Love Project. The vision of her organization is to bring hope and help to those in need, one project at a time. Because her heart is compassionate about many issues and needs, her organization is not limited to any one area they will serve. The homeless, single mothers and fathers, the elderly, nutrition, children with special needs... just to name a few, are on One Love's Projects list. Their first project they are currently raising funds for is a Food Truck for the Hungry. The food truck, and eventually several, will serve their local community of San Luis Obispo, California. Driving the streets feeding fresh, healthy food to anyone who is hungry. No questions asked. They plan to team up with local growers and produce suppliers to further strengthen their community ties.
One Love Project during the Christmas season will also be setting up in front of local grocery stores to collect donations for mothers and their children who are in need. (i.e. diapers, formula, food, toiletries, etc)
Their website is being designed now, however there is a holding page for people to drop their emails so they will be notified when it is up and running. one-love-project.org
You can find them on twitter @one_loveproject and on facebook.com/oneloveprojecthelps
Currently they are raising funds to help launch and for their first project. Please visit gofundme.com/oneloveproject if you would like to donate and gain more information.
Shanda Renee continues to prove that she is persistent in being the change she wishes to see in this world. She is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others, no matter how long it takes her. She is grateful for all the people who have continued to vote for her year after year for this award and hopes that this will be the year all the hard work and dedication sees it's fruit!