Shanda Renee competes for $40,000 charity prize
Shanda Renee of Paso Robles has made it to the top 20 in a contest to win a $40,000 award for charity. The winner of the 2014 Rare Life Award competition will be awarded in the name of the person with the most compelling and inspiring “Rare Life Story.” After the public votes online, the winner’s charity of choice will be awarded the prize money.
According to Renee, she would use the $40,000 to launch a national campaign to support housing communities for single mothers and she envisions a community “where mothers and children can self sustain each other’s common needs and give emotional support.”
Renee adds, “These communities will benefit mothers, children, government assisted programs, educational programs and ultimately America’s future, starting with our children, raising a better, healthier, tomorrow. There are over 75 million children in America living in single mother-headed households, and seven in 10 of those children are living in poor to poverty level conditions.”
“The cycle of domestic violence and child abuse continue,” Renee says, “because more times than not, mothers are either forced back into violent relationships because they cannot afford to leave them, or mothers are forced into desperate survival methods – drugs, prostitution, adult entertainment, two and three jobs – leaving the children vulnerable and prey to neglect, abuse, abandonment, lack of healthcare and malnutrition and a list of psychological issues that follows.
Renee, a 1996 graduate of Paso Robles High School, has been a single mother for more than 14 years and was nominated for the award by her sister, Alyssa Layaye.
“I fell into every challenge above,” she says. “I am now using my messes as my messages, my pains as my passion and my misfortunes as my fight.”
The 2014 Rare Life Award is sponsored by Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey. This is the fourth year for the Rare Life campaign, and the 2014 awards will bring total grants to date for charities to $160,000.
Public voting is allowed once per day. Renee’s voting page is at www.eaglerarelife.com/content/shanda-renee. Voting ends January 7, 2014 at which point judges will choose the finalists from the top 20 individuals. A grand prize winner and six finalists will be announced the week of March 3, 2014.