A Virginia Beach native will offer guidance and tools of empowerment to young women in the area on Saturday.
KaCey Venning was diagnosed with depression as a 16-year-old while attending Cox High School. As an adult, she has co-founded a youth engagement organization and written a book, “Built For This: A Young Woman’s Journey to Self-Discovery and Empowerment.”
In “Built For This,” Venning aims to help young women navigate issues related to their self-esteem, depression and peer pressure. The book is now circulated in the Virginia Beach Public Library. On Saturday, Venning will host a free workshop for women from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Morning Star Baptist Church, 4780 First Court Road.
Venning lives in Atlanta and visits Virginia Beach often.
“It feels good when you go away, for your hometown to embrace you. It makes you feel good,” she said in a phone interview.
Her workshop Saturday will include activities to promote being comfortable and steadfast in one’s beliefs. Venning will cover principles from her book, such as being a leader, even against a majority. She based her lessons off what she learned with her own struggles, she said. Therapy she started in high school helped her cope with her depression.
“This is where I’m from, and most of the stories and information in the book took place while I was living here,” Venning said.
As co-founder of the youth-empowerment program HEY, Venning has worked with churches, schools, nonprofits and companies to motivate children to take action and change their world.
Kamilah Nesmith, an elementary and high school classmate of Venning’s, was close with the author but didn’t know about her early struggles with depression.
“It doesn’t surprise me that she would take the adversity she faced and flip it around so she could help other people,” Nesmith said.
Nesmith, who has a degree in psychology and is working on a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, said the messages in Venning’s book — improving self-esteem and staying true to one’s values — are important lessons for girls today.
Venning said she hopes her book helps young women understand they are not alone in their feelings and struggles.
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