Haylee Venus: Changing the world through creativity
Changing the world through creativity
By Lea Steuri
Creativity is her life force and her source of inspiration. Haylee Venus is a social entrepreneur, humanitarian activist, singer and creative artist. She established herself through a creative network, Embrace U Empire, and has since been working as a performer, creative artist and entrepreneur within communities and in partnership with community organisations addressing homelessness. She is also starting the fashion show Inspiring Edge amongst other initiatives. Haylee is also the co-founder of the poetry platform Spoken, which uses poetry to cultivate conversation around social change and social action. Haylee not only worked in the UK, but also internationally and set up Make A Step C.I.C., which helps kids and adolescents build their confidence through creative arts and sports volunteer programmes. This woman is on a mission to create the change she wants to see in the world.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your personal journey?
My Journey has been a very interesting one. I was a young mum, born and raised in London and originally had aspirations of becoming someone working in finance. But becoming a mum made me want to be and do more for the wider world, once I could do the best for mine as well. Whilst being pregnant both times, I took a BTEC Business course. Then, soon after my second child was born, I went to university, studied business finance and finished my degree. After completing my degree, I found it really difficult to get a job, because I didn’t have any experience. I then decided if I can’t get a job, I will create my own experience! That’s when I started my annual fashion show Inspiring Edge. I had no money; just an idea. I began the search for like-minded people to join me on this venture and, now, we are 8 years in, having supported charities throughout our efforts. 2015 was the year, when I started the international mission trips.
What is your personal motivation?
I believe that the creativity inside me gives me options. Everything is created, and created for a purpose. Same with us – me, you – we were all created to complete a task on earth with the gifts and talents that we are filled up with. What keeps me going is the fact that I still got more in me that I can serve with that may honour generations to come.
You have founded volunteer programmes for kids and adolescents. How do you motivate kids?
We use creativity as a medium to challenge and inspire new ways of thinking about society and the value the children add to it. Our workshops are activity-based: we often use games, real life experience and practical exploration to really get the young people engaged and ready to create in and outside of the sessions.
What are some of the difficulties you face working with kids and how do you overcome these challenges?
Often, the difficulties are challenging behaviours, and understanding how to deal with this while bearing in mind cultural differences. Although, a lot of the times, it comes with excitements of the sessions, because they may not understand or find the set tasks difficult. We often begin our programmes with agreements, and encourage a person-focused solution method to assist our young people in understanding the behaviours that are favourable to them and their peers.
How important is creativity to you?
Creativity is everything to me. It is my freedom to be unapologetically me. It gives me an opportunity to connect with different individuals, cultures and communities. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to have served so many people. It brings me joy, and offers me the chance to share it with as many people that I cross paths with.
Do you offer any tips on how to develop skills or do you recommend any particular strategies?
Yes, I do! Practical development, I believe, supports me in terms of skill development. I often read a lot, watch tutorials, attend trainings and then that ‘Just do It’ Nike attitude kicks in. So I would say: learn as much as you can and then put it to test.