Meet Myla Cardona-Jones: The Mom Behind 1Love LLC, A NonProfit Spreading Kindness Throughout the Community
In light of Giving Tuesday, we are excited to highlight Myla Cardona-Jones, a woman making an impact in our community through the 1Love organization. 1Love was incorporated in January 2018, with her then six year-old son, Geovanny “Geo”, as CEO. This nonprofit provides services, community engagement opportunities, and activism aimed at promoting positive reinforcement and hope in our local community. To learn more about this unique, growing organization, keep reading.
How did 1Love organization get started?
It was developed by the inquisitiveness of my then 6-year old son. He wanted to know why some people were mean, unkind, violent, and showed hate. His questions were spot on, but we couldn’t explain all of the many reasons to him and at such a young age. So instead, my husband and I asked him what we could do as a family to be kind, even when others are not. He had a ton of ideas. So each week we starting doing kind acts around the neighborhood, and posting about it online. We eventually started reaching out to businesses to see how we could partner and help others, and it took off from there. Now, we’ve evolved into a nonprofit and became incorporated this past January.
What type of projects do you work on now, and how can someone get involved in what you’re doing?
We provide monthly acts of kindness events. We also create packages for families, businesses, schools, or other organizations. We hold speaking engagements and much more.
Earlier this month, we partnered with LexisNexis Women’s Connected Group for our Winter Warm Up! Fundraiser. It’s running from November 12-December 12, and during this time, we will distribute duffel bags filled with winter attire, to people who need it throughout our community. The bags will include scarves, mittens, hats, ear muffs, thick socks, instant warners, gift cards to Starbucks for hot tea or hot chocolate. We encourage, if you know someone who needs these items, to message us! Our motto is Be Kind. Be the Change. One Love.
Although we began with a local endeavor in mind, we find ourselves being called and inspired to provide services to people impacted in some shape or form outside of Dayton too. We have visited Flint, Michigan twice in the past 6 months to help distribute cases of water to those still impacted by the unclean water crisis and are partnering with an organization and working on a project outside of the country very soon.
Even though your son is the CEO and the face of the organization, you make it run smoothly. Did you have a background in the nonprofit sector before you started?
I have worked with nonprofits for a number of years. I’ve worked with city youth clubs throughout the Dayton region. I work with inner city youth currently with my involvement with the Law and Leadership Institute in Cincinnati. I also serve on the board of directors for Agape for Youth, board of Trustees for the National MS Society and serve as Membership VP-Elect for the Junior League of Dayton.
I have been involved with a few housing projects with Habitat for Humanity and pretty much try to partake in any cause that is aimed at making our community stronger and better.
You juggle everything so gracefully. How do you manage all the different hats you wear?
For me - all that I do is centered around my family. If I can’t bring my family with me, I carefully consider the value in what it is I’m about to do. If it doesn’t add value in some meaningful way, I likely won’t do it. I am a planner and I’m organized, of course, but I have my Outlook calendar to thank for that. I do try to plan ahead as much as possible.
I recognize that there are opportunities that present itself that don’t allow me to bring my family with me, so I am also thankful for all of the many ways we can communicate via technology. FaceTime, texts, calls, emails; we do all of this because I want my Son, especially, to know that even if I can’t be there physically, I am still always there to chat and ask about his day.
So what’s your favorite part of managing 1Love?
I love helping others and being able to constantly show kind acts that help our community. It’s great that I get to do that with my son and my Husband.
I love that it has become whatever the community needs it to be. We have had so many different people reach out to us and want us to be a part of their projects and we are thankful for all of the many ways the community allows us to serve.
What has been the most challenging part of managing 1Love?
Thus far it’s been managing other life responsibilities, but I’ve learned that when you get really stressed out you have to remember why you started, and why this is important to you.
What advice would you give other women looking to start a nonprofit?
I’d say if you want to start a nonprofit, address a community concern. First, get the buy-in of the community and then demonstrate, through action and hard work that your nonprofit is a solution to a problem that the area faces. Then you can expand on other things that you’ll offer, and hopefully get community partnerships started. But people need to see that you’re willing to put in the work first and that you truly believe in the work that you’re doing.
More with Myla …
What’s your favorite part about living and working in Dayton?
Dayton is a family-oriented place. Dayton is an extremely loyal community, and I really love that. Here, so many people are involved and willing to help someone else.
What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
The time off. I love spending quality time with my family, like going to the tree lighting downtown together. I also love attending and being apart of events that bring the community together.
Name one woman you admire, and why?
Oprah Winfrey. She truly embodies a strong, dominant woman that is walking in her own truth.