This Women's Month celebration is formally coming to an end in a few days. But here at Double Chocolate Press, women will always be celebrated! I have some exciting ideas in mind for future blogs so I hope you will subscribe and stay tuned!
Now last but definitely not least, my final story for the this month is from a woman that I truly admire. I have watched her grow and blossom professionally as well as personally through some very trying times. Yet, through it all, she has continued to help others while discovering new ways to help herself through change, adaptation and growth.
She is successful business owner, mother and holistic health advocate. I would tell you more but I think she can handle it from here!
Let me introduce you to Shondale Atkinson, the Wellness Lady:
Me: Why do you think it's important to celebrate Women's History Month?
Shondale: Women have been so instrumental in some of the most fundamental movements with regards to national and local causes. When you think about voting rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, educational system funding, to name a few - a lot of times, women are at the forefront of those issues. Every thing we do is passion driven. We have birthed the nation. The things we have birthed, not just our children, are important to us. A great number of businesses in our community are owned and operated by female entrepreneurs. We are advancing our degrees and education so that we are structured to be successful business owners and employers of others in this community.
Me: What woman in history has influenced your life the most?
Shondale: I would have to say my mother. I was born in 77 at a time when crack was hitting my community. My mother was one of the women that got caught up in that drug epidemic and became addicted. My mom entered foster care before she was two when her mother passed away. And she was born at a time where foster care was not structured around nurturing children but more of community living. She learned early on what it was like not to have or need anyone. By the time her children came along she was already functioning with that mindset. But what she still did do was teach me about God at a very young age. I watched her pray and read the word, in spite of her addiction. She took us to church and taught us about the resources in our community. She taught me about sowing seeds and I don't think she even realized what she was doing at the time. If we had something she taught us to share it. She has such a giving heart. Even through her struggles she taught us how to be decent. She showed me resilience and how to never give up while living with great integrity.
Me: What is your profession and why did you choose it? OR did it choose you?
Shondale: I am the owner, CEO and founder of the Mustard Seed Foundation. It is a residential parenting facility for teenage moms and their babies in the foster care system. It chose me. I was a teenage mom in foster care dealing with the threat of separation from my child. I was born into that system and everything I have done from age eight until today has always been about saving lives in my community.
I love seeing generational curses be broken. -Shondale A.
Me: What impact would you like to have on women's history? And what story do you want people to look back and tell about you?
Shondale: One thing I want people to recognize is that I am an ordinary woman that has been able to do extraordinary things with limited resources. When people talk about Shondale I want them remember my courage, determination and tenacity to see other people win.
Me: What are some of your favorite things?
Shondale: My girls. According to world standards, I should have kids that have kids. All of the generational curses that should have held us hostage are not. I see barriers being broken because I never tried to hide them. I never tried to hide who my mother was from my girls. Through me being honest with my kids I see the curses being broken. And not just for my girls but for the other girls that we have served in my residential program. I also enjoy meditation. Being able to play with my herbs and play in the soil, while seeing seeds produce a harvest from a whole different perspective now, is something I also love. Before it was me trying to produce a harvest through people directly but now it's in a different way. I love sitting at my alter. I love the word of God and how it jumps off the pages at me, and how I can interpret the word of God for myself and other people.
Me: Name one fun fact about yourself that most people may not know.
Shondale: I was a basketball player. Basketball was the place where I could always find a community. The local centers and programs like Linden Center, Princeton Park, the Mohawks, introduced me to coaches that I just loved. It was a saving grace for me. I started playing when I was 5 or 6. I still love the game but it was also my outlet back then.
Me: Why are you a phenomenal woman?
Shondale: Because I broke the stigmas. Every last one of them. Being a teenage mom. The things that I was ashamed of are the same things God used to structure another plan for me. I like to show people that it is not all about where you start. This shows the glory of God. If you believe in Him there is nothing you can't do.
Me: Describe yourself in ONE word.
Whew! This interview is packed with powerful nuggets that I hope will inspire you in some way. If you would like to connect with Shondale and follow her on the next leg of her journey, she can be reached through her website: https://serendipitycommunitycare.com/ or by email at email@example.com.
You can also follow along on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/serendipitycommunitycare.
Love and blessings,