Learn about a local non-profit designed to help teen mothers and their children reach their full potential.
Leading by example. That’s the idea behind The Mustard Seed Foundation (TMSF).
With a vision to break the cycles of generational poverty, TMSF leads by example by providing supportive programs that teach parenting skills and build healthy, stable families. Founded in Dayton in 2007, it’s the only residential parenting facility in Montgomery County, and the non-profit is bringing about positive change state-wide.
TMSF offers numerous different services in order to accomplish its mission. In doing so, the following three specific community needs are addressed: residential, health and wellness, and outreach, prevention, and awareness.
The 501(c)3 non-profit organization was founded by Shondale Atkinson, who grew up in the foster care system and had her first daughter as an unmarried teenaged mom. Her own struggle inspired her to give back and make a difference in the lives of other teenaged moms in the foster care system. When she began working on her dream of giving back, she says, all she had was the faith of a grain of mustard seed, which led to the name of the foundation.
The Mustard Seed Foundation is the only organization in the county that is prepared to house teenage moms in the foster care system. The program is structured so that they can take young ladies from anywhere in Ohio. At the center of what the services the foundation offers, is safe and secure housing. This house is dedicated to pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers ages 13-21 and their children. By providing a home and a stable environment for these young women and children, TMSF hopes to helps to reduce the percentage of child abuse, neglect cases, and multiple unplanned pregnancies.
Education is a key aspect to the vision of TMSF. In addition to housing, core services include educational advancement, parenting/child development, and independent life skills instruction. Clients are taught where and how to find internships, how to build interpersonal skills, and how to develop a career. Through these programs the foundation hopes to lead its clients toward independence and the ability to succeed on their own.
Additional services include access to healthcare, access to licensed daycare, and access to transportation.
Overall, the foundation exists to increase high school completion, promote career development, encourage self-sufficiency, promote healthy child outcomes, and increase parent-child bonding. Through accomplishing these goals, TMSF is making a huge difference in the Dayton area and the rest of Ohio- and you have the chance to be a part of its impact. The foundation appreciates any financial/in-kind gifts as well as skilled and dedicated volunteers.
To learn more about this inspiring program and its impact, visit their website.