After intimately observing and studying the world of teens, Tanya Lee realized that the choices one makes at a young age affect the rest of one’s life. A survivor of childhood sexual and physical abuse, to this day she still experiences the after effects of a tough upbringing, and the choices that she made because of it. Looking to help course-correct the lives of young women going through similar situations, Tanya founded A Room of Your Own, a specialized, Toronto-based book club that combines education and entertainment with a focus on women’s mental health. All books are donated to the young women, most of whom are at risk and hail from high priority areas of the GTA.
Currently, the group is solely funded by Tanya. Support her initiative by contributing to their Go Fund Me page and help ensure A Room of Your Own is able to grow and flourish.
My first job ever was…Was babysitting. I loved looking after kids. We would play and have so much fun together.
I started A Room of Your Own because… I wanted young women to know that people in the world do care about them. That you are not just second class citizens. You matter! Your thoughts, who you are as a person, who you want to become, your hopes, your dreams, your ambitions, your fears, your frustrations — it all matters and someone out there cares very much! I care!
My proudest accomplishment is… My daughter, Dominique. She has turned into an honourable woman. A person who cares about humanity, a woman who cares about her friends, who is involved politically in our country, and she is a self-starter. Dominique is a life force all on her own.
My boldest move to date was… My boldest move to date was starting the book club with absolutely no funding, with just love in my heart and passion as my conviction.
I surprise people when I tell them… I surprise people when I tell them that my daughter is 27 years old. They are gobsmacked.
My best advice to at risk young women is… No matter what, never give up on yourself. You are worth it. Invest in yourself. By hook or crook get an education and find a mentor. There are so many good people in the world ready to lend a hand and give you a hand up! Dare to dream and fulfill those dreams one goal at a time.
“Dare to dream and fulfill those dreams one goal at a time.”
My best advice from a mentor was… Get an education. It is the best investment in yourself.
I would tell my 20-year old self…Girl… your future is bright even on your darkest days.
My biggest setback was… Listening at times to some of the nay sayers and believing them instead of myself.
I overcame it by… Looking at the lives of the nay sayers and seeing how unhappy they were. Looking at the dreams they had given up on and how it manifested in their lives. I then realized I never wanted to be like them…Missed dreams, missed opportunities, that was not me. Then I prayed to God for the courage to follow through on my dreams.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know…That I love to laugh and giggle. I love smiling!
I stay inspired by… All the young women in the book club inspire me to do greater things.
The future excites me because… I have met so many wonderful people through the book club: teachers, students, librarians, authors, and publicists all with warm hearts.
My next step is… My next step is to expand what I do and turn it into a not for profit organization and then into a charity. My goals are to reach as many girl children, teen girls and women as possible through different branches of “A Room Of Your Own”. I would also like to start a branch of the book club for girls 10 to 12 years old that focuses on strong female protagonists of diverse backgrounds.