MADE Maven October Issue MADE Magazine - Page 76

MADEUS WHEN PA SSION & PURPOSE COLLIDE WITH Chesny ASHLEE A MADE BY ASHLEY WHITE fter graduating from college and taking on two jobs that left her unhappy, Ashlee Chesny knew she had to make some changes, professionally and personally. She took some time to focus solely on herself and that’s when her purpose began to unveil. “For the first time at 23, I was learning happiness and I was learning it from a very wise 2-year-old, my godson, Nicholas. Nick’s obsession at the time was bubbles. He was always so happy when he was blowing bubbles. I watched and listened to how happy he was with something so simple and I envied him. I wanted that type of simplistic happiness for myself, so I studied my godson. For his wisdom, I wrote my first children’s book with him as the main character, Niko and the Trouble Bubble.” Writing her first children’s book opened up a new world for Chesny. “I confess that working with and writing for children is an attempt to heal the little girl inside myself that I lost along the way. I was so creative, imaginative and determined when I was younger. But I had let that little girl die with dreams of corporate work because that was what I was ‘supposed to do.’” After the release of her first book, Chesny embarked on a new journey as a children’s book author. PHOTOS by Evan Chesny | @evanchesny During Winter 2015, Chesny visited a Metro Detroit school to read her latest title to a group of 4th grade students. To her surprise, a student informed her that she couldn’t be an author because “all authors are old, white men with glasses.” It was then that Chesny realized that her stories and her presence as a minority is a powerful tool for getting children of color to do two things: fall in love with learning through literacy and value their own voices and brilliance allowing them to create success for themselves. Thus Genius Patch was born. Genius Patch is a Michigan based 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization serving children. It’s an education enrichment program providing services to support 90% of learning that | 76