Meet Shondolyn

Shondolyn Young Richardson was born to late Jeanette Truevillian Young and late Earsley Young in Greenville, Mississippi, on January 13, 1977. At the time, her hometown was Indianola, Mississippi.

Shondolyn’s life began somewhat normally, but her mother soon became very ill. Shortly afterward, Jeanette was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and passed away before she could see Shondolyn reach her second birthday.

After Jeanette’s death, her father relocated himself and Shondolyn to Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he met and married Bettye Whisenton. Even though there are always dreadful stories out there about stepmothers, this case would be entirely different. In fact, Bettye legally adopted Shondolyn at the first opportunity. It is obvious that Bettye and her family accepted Shondolyn from day one and that they have held a close bond ever since.

Over the years, Shondolyn has maintained a close relationship with the families of Jeanette, Earsley, and Bettye. There are many things to love about each of her three families, but the musical talent is probably the most noticeable. Musical talent was prevalent and apparent at nearly every family gathering. Shondolyn watched and enjoyed her maternal grandmother, father, mother (Bettye), maternal aunt, and several sisters sing in church. She also enjoyed growing up listening to old “homemade” tapes of her biological mother, father, and maternal grandmother singing. They all seemed to have a love for ministering in song and praising God, and Shondolyn would always pay close attention. She, too, began singing by the age of 10, initially with her mother close by her side. Over the years, the experience and confidence that she gained from the support of her family and her church played a major role in her life and musical endeavors.

In 1995, Shondolyn received a scholarship at Mississippi Delta Community College as a singer with the jazz band. Even though her scholarship was for singing, her major was nursing because she wanted to help others and work in the medical profession like her mom (Bettye). After a year, Shondolyn transferred to Delta State University where she decided to major in Computer Information Systems.

In 1997, Shondolyn transferred for the final time to Mississippi University For Women.  At the “W”, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her biological mother (Jeanette), maternal aunt (Joyce), and maternal grandmother (Clemmie) and majored in Elementary Education. She was married on August 23, 1998 and became a 3rd generation teacher in August of 1999. Shondolyn received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education on May 15, 1999 and her Master of Education degree in Reading/Literacy on August 10, 2005. Shondolyn also earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification (Literacy: Reading-Language Arts / Early and Middle Childhood) in November 2013.

Even though being an educator has required long hours over the years, every minute of it has been worth it. Researching, learning, and experiencing the most effective ways to help students master new skills and concepts and teaching students to know that they are important and to believe in their ability to learn, is a very rewarding feeling for Shondolyn. Shondolyn especially loves to see how excited young children become when initially learning how to read and when they realize that the words on the page have meaning. She knows when that happens, the door has been unlocked that leads them to a brighter future. With her music ministry, Shondolyn has opportunities to experience a similar, but deeper, more rewarding feeling. As she shares her faith walk, life experiences, and love of God with others, she is delighted when those who are seeking are introduced to or reminded of the existence and ever-present power of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ! She enjoys sharing, growing, and living in Christ; because, she realizes that the eternal door has been unlocked to the brightest future of all…a beautiful, happy, and glorious ETERNAL life with God!

For the CD project, “If I Would Trust God,” Shondolyn has written five songs and she has benefited greatly from working with Simeon Amburgey and her brother, Freddie Young. Without them, this particular album and opportunity would not exist. This was a dream that once seemed impossible to Shondolyn. However, God, with his infinite power and wisdom, paved the way to bring it to pass. It is her desire that her music ministry, SYR Ministries, will give hope to hurting people and inspire others to never give up on their dreams or let obstacles stand in their way.

Shondolyn lives in Columbus, MS where she, her husband (Michael), and son (Samuel) are members of Ephesus SDA Church in Birmingham, Alabama.