Plagued and embarrassed by her name (a humiliation enhanced by a nomadic childhood that made it impossible to build lasting relationships), Shenandoah Chefalo developed a tough skin at an early age. Along the way, she learned to deal with disappointment, push through discomfort, overcome adversity, and accurately gauge people, qualities that have helped her to succeed.
After spending nearly 20 years as a Law Office Administrator, Shenandoah became unsettled by the ever-revolving door of the criminal justice system and set out to find a way to change it. She attended Coach U and became a certified life coach. Working through that program, Shenandoah began to understand her childhood in a way she never had before.
She began researching and learned that there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system each day in the United States. Out of those children, nearly 61% age out of the system without having a place to live; nearly 50% end up incarcerated within two years of aging out; and almost 80% of people on death row are former foster alumni. These (and other statistics) made Shenandoah realize that she had to do something.
She set out on a mission to tell her story and educate the general public about the grim realities of a life that she had always tried to hide. She believes that some of the grassroots solutions she offers in Garbage Bag Suitcase could change the lives of children and the landscape of the country.
Shenandoah Chefalo is a graduate of Michigan State University (holding a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science), a Core Essentials Graduate from Coach U, a Certified Law of Attraction Advanced Practitioner, a member of the National Speakers Association, and volunteers with several organizations locally, nationally and internationally. Shenandoah is also a faculty member for The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities which helps organizations, systems and communities embed and embody the science of trauma resilience. Shenandoah Chefalo is also the author of an e-book entitled Setting Your Vision and Defining Your Goals and is currently working on her next book, Hiking for Stillness: Finding Healing One Step At A Time.
2017-DAR Women in American History Award
2017-Best Non-Fiction Ebook from IPPY Awards
2017-Midwest Book Awards, Winner for Best Non-Fiction in Social Science, Political Science & Culture
2017-Independent Publisher Awards, Winner for Best Non-Fiction, Personal E-Book
2016 - Winner of the DAR Women of the Arts Recognition Award
2016 - Pinnacle Awards-Best Memoir
2016-Beverly Hills Book Awards Best Regional Memoir
2016-Winner, Readers Choice Memoir
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