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7 Q+A: Shandra Summerville

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Shandra Summerville sang in the first TWSS show. She has a beautiful voice in every arena! She uses her voice not only to sing, but she also has a strong voice in our community. She is the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinator for Access Initiative. Shandra lights up a room and we have voted her the best hugger in the tri-state!



What are you grateful for today?
I am grateful for the opportunity to be able wake up and see what kind of love and humor will encounter today.

Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
Only One!! I have a short list of friends so I will mention them by name: Gennifer, Adrienne, Lea, Nicole, and Osmana. What I love most about all of them is, that they are unique in their own ways and can handle me. They are all driven to succeed and didn’t do it by the book. They have all lived full lives and allowed me to tag along for the journey.

Describe one of the best days of your life.
One of the best days in my life was at the awards ceremony for Illinois Top Outstanding Young Person Awards of 2014. My family and friends sacrificed their time to come celebrate with me. It was a time that my life was highlighted right before my eyes in a way that I had never seen before.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
My mother and I were very close, and over the last 4 years she shared with me what she wanted me know before she died. On August 16 we were on one of our many road trips, and the conversation about funerals emerged again. This time, I was adamant about making sure that whenever she dies we did everything she requested. She made a powerful statement, “When it comes to planning a funeral, the relationships with the living are more important than wishes of the dead.” She passed away three weeks later while we were on family vacation. Although we did honor some of her requests, the support of the family and friends was what helped the most because they were still living on earth with me.

We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
Service with a SMILE. I have learned that when I am serving others you have to look happy about serving—just as much as the person receiving the service is enjoying themselves as well.

What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
Being open to hearing what young people have to say rather than judging them based on what you did when you were younger.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I would have large seminars to discuss healthy sexuality in a church/faith-based setting for people of all ages.

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