Ms Atkinson is the Founder and CEO of The Mustard Seed Foundation. She is the mother of two daughters and an outstanding “Woman to Watch” in our community. Shondale Atkinson grew up in the foster care system and had her first daughter as an unmarried teen-aged mom. Because she remembers her own personal struggle, she decided that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of teen-age moms in the foster care system. When she began working on her dream of giving back, all she had was the faith of a grain of mustard seed. She liked the thought so much, she kept the name, and Saturday, May 8, 2010 the Mustard Seed Foundation held its dedication/welcoming ceremony at its house adjacent to (and donated by) Precious Blood School and the Sisters of Precious Blood on Denlinger Road. The Mustard Seed Foundation is the only organization in the county that is prepared to house teen-age moms in the foster care system. The program is structured so that they can take young ladies from anywhere in Ohio.
Shondale is an expert in building collaborative relationships. In order to achieve her dream, she needed help. Several agencies have been involved, including the Miami Valley Child Development Center, Secret Smiles of Dayton, The Sisters of Precious Blood, and Precious Blood Church who donated the house where the first group of teenagers will live. The Job Corps of Dayton also sent over a group of volunteers to assist in preparing the house for occupancy. In addition to providing 10 rooms-each with a bed and a crib--Shondale has also created a learning environment. The basement of the Mustard Seed Foundation is being set up with computers so residents can obtain high school diplomas and GEDs. “Sinclair Community College is helping with that effort, obtaining an education is very important”, says Shondale, Budgeting, paying bills, knowing how to operate a checking account, knowing how to shop, all that's important. I didn't know that when I was a teenage mom”.
Shondale is also the Founder/Director of Kardio Kidz Camp, Not One More and Providian, Inc, all of which are located in Trotwood. The Mustard Seed Foundation is currently the fiscal agent and partner for the Rise Sister Rise-Dayton project. Shondale has been hosting events and workshops for teen girls in our community since 2009. Yearly she collaborates her efforts with other organizations, (Dayton Leadership Academy, Dayton Public Schools, YWCA of Dayton, PACE and Sinclair) to create a dynamic series of workshop for those in attendance …. In 2011, she also hosted a parenting workshop in collaboration with Tammy Cooper, GGIT.
In 2011, Shondale was named “Top 25 Women to Watch” by Women In Business Network.
Shondale Atkinson is a great community asset and would be a tremendous addition to the Neighborhood Leadership Institute.