She was pregnant and incarcerated.
Schylundye, a former pre-med student at Georgia State University, was in a tough spot and her life felt hopeless. A difficult gallbladder surgery while 20 weeks pregnant caused further complications.
“The medical help wasn’t great there [in prison], and I was very close to losing my son, Cairo,” Schylundye said.
“I was in labor for three days – he came when he wanted to,” she laughed. “He’s a miracle baby and he’s just been a joy. I wouldn’t have gotten through everything without him. He saved my life.”
After being released from prison with her newborn son, Schylundye was directed to Home of Hope by a friend of Maureen Kornowa, Home of Hope’s Executive Director.
“I’m glad I was able to get into Home of Hope so quickly. At the time, my son was very young — only about 8 weeks old,” she said.
Since being at Home of Hope, everything has changed for Schylunde. She’s now started a business and is saving for the future.
“I’ve never been in a shelter before, but I grew up in foster care, so I’m used to community living,” she said. “For Home of Hope to smell the way that it smells and look the way that it looks, and all they expect is for you to do your part — it’s amazing.
“Having no bills these last few months has helped so much. While you’re here, you can save your money, and it’s a safe location.”
Schylunde is now thriving, running a wig-making business from Home of Hope.
“Since people haven’t been able to go to the salon because of COVID-19, my business, the Melt Method, is booming. With shipping facilities nearby, I’m able to send orders straight to people’s houses,” she said. “Cairo’s dad helped me find an agent to file all of the business paperwork, and I’m also working on a logo and setting up my social media presence.”
Cairo, Schylundye’s now six-month-old son, was named for Egypt’s capital — the birthplace of science and mathematics. Her passion for the medical field runs deep and is at the heart of an entrepreneurial dream.
“I want to start another company called My Black Coat Ceremony; it’s for minorities in the medical community. I noticed that there are no headdresses available for surgeons that belong to the Islamic faith,” Schylundye said. “So the focus of the company is providing fashionable hijabs or khimars made from medical grade material for these women.
“I want to create a market for those that get overlooked a lot, and this idea also allows me to still be close to the medical community.”
Although Schylundye is no longer able to go into medicine like she wanted, it’s still a dream of hers to go back to school and finish her biology degree. Currently, she’s working to save a year’s worth of rent or mortgage payments before she leaves Home of Hope.
“I want my Christmas gift to myself and my son to be a nice, permanent place to stay,” Schylundye said.
She also hopes to save and invest in her business so she can have consistent income for herself and her son.
“Before, I was close to graduating college, but I wasn’t on the best track. Detours happen. Now, I have my own business, Cairo’s dad is super supportive, and I’m able to save my money,” she said. “It’s awesome.”