LaTasha Sheats was born and raised in Athens, GA and graduated from Clarke Central High School. She earned a degree in Fashion Marketing from Bauder College in Atlanta, and degrees in Social Work and Accounting from Athens Technical College. After working with young women through her church as a mentor, LaTasha started Strong, Beautiful and Godly Girls in 2005 to help girls 13 and older by providing mentoring, educational programs and enriching experiences. The program focuses on life skills, interpersonal skills, health and beauty, self-esteem and confidence. Currently, LaTasha is a Neighborhood Leader for the Whit Davis Prosperity Zone with Family Connections Communities in Schools, working as a social worker helping provide awareness and resources for underserved families. Recently she partnered with another local organization, Youth is Life, to offer a fitness and health based program that encourages service to the community and personal empowerment. LaTasha lives on the westside of Athens with her two children, Rivington and LaNya.
What do you love about your career?
What I love about my career is that I am able to help people and see them grow to the point where they are self-sufficient, but we still have those special bonds that sometimes turn into meaningful relationships that are everlasting. I love the fact that I am able to help people with purpose and empower something inside of them that makes their families better and gives them the ability to share what they have learned with others.
When you are not working, what is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
My favorite thing to do in Athens is hang out with my family eating delicious meals, having family game nights and watching football while drinking beers with a lot of laughter.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
I would want to go to some parts of Africa and Greece, but Africa would be my number one choice. I want to see how People of Color are living in other parts of the world and to see the differences as well as the similarities. I also just want to prove to myself that it is not just a tribal place, but that it is a continent of beauty.
If you could see any band or show, anywhere, what would you want to see and where?
I would travel back in time to attend a Funkadelic and Rick James Concert. I would also like to see Prince in the 80s. Lastly, I would’ve loved to attend the Snoop Dogg “Up In Smoke” Tour in the 90s.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to never be afraid to be who you are destined to become. Never let your purpose be decided by others. I would tell her to be brave enough to live in your truth with confidence and love yourself just as much or more than you love others.
Do you have a favorite book, or a book you find yourself rereading, gifting or referencing most often?
Not really, but I have been reading this book called Mama Ruby that an older friend of mine gave me. Because I shared so many similarities with the main character it was hard to put the book down. The main character is a teenage preacher’s daughter looking for social acceptance amongst her peers and wanting to please her family, but going about it all the wrong ways. The book tells the story of her and her best friend running away thinking life would be better as independents. They quickly learn that’s not the case, when they find themselves being forced into prostitution and even committing criminal acts in order to survive.
Do you have a favorite movie or do you remember the movie that you first saw in a movie theatre?
I don’t remember the first movie I saw in a movie theatre, but my favorite movie is a toss up between The Color Purple and What’s Love Got to Do With It. I love both of those movies, I can verbatim say some of the lines. I even performed the song “Sister” from The Color Purple at Miss Sweetheart Pageant when I was younger.
What is something interesting about you that most people may not know?
Most people may not know that I do not like to be around a crowd of people. I am a social butterfly, but when it comes to concerts and festivals or things where there are hundreds and hundreds of people, I don’t like it. It is like I get this anxiety that just disturbs my soul. Also, that I love to dance and I love music. I studied dance from age five years old until college.
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and where?
I would like to have lunch with Michelle Obama at a nice quaint restaurant located on a waterfront. I would like to pick her brain and see what life was like before becoming the First Lady, during the years as First Lady, and what being a regular person looks like for her now. Although, I know most of this information can be found in her book, I feel like she would go more in depth with the intimate details of her life in a real conversation.
If you could put anything on a billboard, what would you put?
Always be Authentic. I think in our world right now there is a lot of social media and emphasis on money that makes us feel like we should be something other than our natural selves. People and situations often come across fake and unrealistic. The world would be a much better place if everyone was always real, honest and confident in that.
What three words or phrases come to mind, when you think of the word “home”?
Peace, happiness and love.