Timmy Lee Westley was born on April 12, 1972 in Shreveport, Louisiana to parents Joyce Ann Westley and Baltimore Dunn. With four older siblings on his mother’s side and three younger sisters on his father’s side, he was quick to always be of assistance to them all.
Growing up in a single parent home, his mother Joyce did what she had to do in order to take care of all five of her children. On the weekends, she was what Timmy called “a modern day alcoholic.” Seeing his mom in this manner allowed him and his siblings to develop survival skills and be very independent at a very young age. Because his mother struggled to pay bills sometimes, they were forced to do things like illegally use electricity and water resources. But through all the poverty Timmy saw in his neighborhood, he did see a support system from them. People in the neighborhood would always be willing to help and support each other when they were in need and everyone around was generally grateful for what they had. And there were very little complaints about their situations because they knew it was just a part of life.
Although his mother wasn’t completely there for him and siblings, one thing she did do was believe in him. She knew he was capable of doing great things in life so she always just asked him to do his best at whatever he decided to do. She invested love and hope into him. She also continually told him that he was smart and intelligent. These words were what pushed Timmy to be the successor he is today.
Timmy’s father was very absent throughout his childhood. The last recollection he had of his parents actually being together was while he was in kindergarten. His parents had gotten into an intense argument that ended with his mother pulling out a gun and grazing his father’s shoulder with a bullet. After that incident, Timmy saw his father sporadically over the course of his childhood. The most time Timmy remembers spending with his father was his junior year in high school. His stepmother had decided to take his sisters on a road trip to Baton Rough for about two or three days. During this time, Timmy and his father caught up with each other’s live and after the trip was over, their relationship didn’t really change. Five years later, his father passed away.
At the age of 19 Timmy left home to play basketball at Southern University. After two years of traveling with the team and still trying to handle his academics, he fell behind in school. Timmy knew he had to do something so that he would not disappoint his mother so he joined the United States army. He worked as a supply and logistics specialist, for a while before deciding to go back to school at Chaminide University. After taking a couple of courses, he was deployed to Stewart, Georgia, where he met his wife. The two then moved to San Antonio, Texas where they decided to begin their lives together. Two years later, Timmy exited active duty to go into postal services for three and a half years.
In 2002, Timmy decided to go back to school at Wayland Baptist University where he got his Bachelors of Science Degree in religious studies. Initially wanting to get his degree in political science, Timmy was aiming to become a lawyer. But because of his gpa from recent school years, he was denied the privilege. Throughout recent years, Timmy did have a little experience in the preaching field so that is what made him decide to go into the religion field. He felt like it was something he enjoyed and became excited to learn more about where he could go with it. After earning his degree, there was a small period of time where Timmy taught middle school students. But after two months in the profession, he came to the conclusion that he did not want to teach students who did not know who they were yet.
Timmy Westley is definitely not what you would call a stereotypical black male. He does tremendous amount of things in his community that show he is unlike what the media says about African American males. He has made contributions within his family and outside his family that ensures some great positivity that will have a long lasting impression on them. He is an alternate type of masculinity that more males in our community need to show.
Today Timmy has multiple jobs that highly involve the community. As an adult who has gone through a tough childhood, Timmy does try to reach out to the community in many different ways In November of 2005, Timmy believed he was called to start his own Christian organization. He opened Sheppard’s Venue Christian Church in 2006. He is also a professional speaker for Monster.com. He works for a department under their name called Making It Count. He talks to high school juniors and seniors about college careers. As a university instructor at the University of Phoenix, he enjoys teaching world religion to people who actually look up to him as a black male figure and are eager to learn about topics and soak up the knowledge he spreads to them. He makes an effort once a month to go down to a local juvenile center to minister to young boys. He tells them about how they can change their lives by just believing in themselves. He lets it be known that just because some of their fathers weren’t in their lives, it doesn’t give our young men an excuse not to become a great man. He also mentions to them how he actually replaced his real father with his spiritual father.
As an author of two books; one called Elevations of life, and the other Poetic praises, he tries to offer as much knowledge as he can to people of all ages. Both of these books were dedicated to the local detention center he preached at once in a while to reach out to the youth there. He is also a two time recording artist who has made two Christian rap albums that reach out to youth in a positive way. He really makes an effort to show them that they can enjoy rap music without all of the derogatory statements and belittlement towards the African American community through Christianity. His goal with mentoring these youth is to just create an image of black men without negativity, but through the intent of building them up.
Timmy believes that he and his father’s relationship taught him how not o be an absentee father. With two sons and a daughter he makes sure that he shows his son’s what a father’s role is and he teaches his daughter how a man should treat her. He knows that his mother did a great job raising him, but having a father in his home would have made a tremendous difference. He has also been very involved in his children’s lives, by showing them that anything is possible. He was one of the first African American men who was voted as the PTA President at his son’s school and was even invited to sit on the school districts decision making board for two years.
When asked what he thought were the most important things in life, Timmy replied with five different answers. The number one thing he believes that African American men should have is a spiritual life. Having this is important to be successful because it gives them balance, structure, and an immediate guide. The second thing he suggests is that young males have to believe in themselves. He knows that not everyone is going to think you can do something, but if you know that you can set your mind to do something then it will be accomplished of you can just keep that positive attitude. Having a plan is his third most important thing to have in life. A target must be developed and set in order for you to get somewhere. Number four is to have a support system. Having the right people spiritually, emotionally, and financially can make all the difference in the world to a person. Not being afraid to fail is another characteristic for a young man to have. Once you fail, it just gives a person more motivated to get to that point of success. And last but not least, Timmy believed that a person must be willing to help others. He believes that a person can only see real success when they are able to turn around and help someone else out and invest in them.
Timmy is now also working on getting his PHD. He does not wish to be a pastor for the rest of his life so he is working on doing something greater with his life. Ultimately his love for the academic ministry has urged him to want to become a president or dean of a Christian university or even a historically black college where he can minister God’s word to people all over the country and world.