We want to make a difference.
That takes a real-world approach. And It takes action.
There are so many challenges, changes and issues facing our youth today.
We expect Shepherd's House program participants to learn how to be responsible and successful at school, in the community and at home.
We believe that positive change takes place when youth are allowed the opportunity to be in an encouraging environment guided by adults who care.
Our goal at Shepherd's House is to build self confidence and self-esteem.
Our programs and activities are designed to provide youth with the information and encouragement they need to make better choices - socially and academically.
Our community is full of people who want to help.
Enthusiastic volunteers are needed - including business professionals, teachers, mentors, retirees, community leaders, teams and individuals.
Join us and see what can be accomplished when you get an impassioned team to focus on change.
We work to help the people providing services with the people who need them. Come connect with young people in new ways.
WE CAN HARDLY BELIEVE THAT IT HAS BEEN TEN + YEARS SINCE WE STARTED ON THIS MISSION.
Shepherds' House was founded in 2010 as a nonprofit organization by Michael and Gloria Reese, a husband-and-wife team of successful business professionals. They have a long history of working with youth and youth serving organizations - making a difference in the community for more than 20 years.
Michael and Gloria were inspired to start Shepherd's House because of what they saw during their extensive volunteer work with organizations like The Alcovy Circuit Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, the Police Athletic League (PAL), AT&T 's Community Outreach through Aspire, Team Up Mentoring in Monroe Ga, Junior Achievement and more.
Their passion: To provide guidance, mentoring and support that helps young people in our community develop life skills and leadership capabilities that leads to success. Shepherd's House was started as a direct response to the growing number of young males who seem to be falling through the cracks, whether at home, in school or in institutions. They saw it all around them - in urban and suburban settings, in small towns and big cities. Our kids were at risk.
So, after much discussion, prayer, and research, Michael and Gloria decided that "we can't save the entire world, but if we can positively impact just one young person and help steer them in the right direction... what a humbling achievement!"
OUR BLOG, Our Story >>>>
Our story begins in 2010.
The most recent post appear first and this blog is updated quartely.
Life has not slowed down for our young participants, who are still dealing with the same issues and challenges, plus more. Our interactions include in person, virtual, and various forms of social media.
This School year was challenged by the Pandemic. In person school was cancelled. Students went full remote (Zoom School) for almost the entire school year. But ACADEMIC success was dependent on having access to WiFi, a device (computer or tablet) AND an in-person adult to mentor-support-encourage, facilitate and follow-up during the school day and after school. Kids in our target areas needed the academic support for ZOOM SCHOOL and working parents did too. We expanded the Learning Pod School, rented a building, provided Free Wi-Fi, Volunteered as facilitators. We offered RAVE School free of charges to youth in the neighborhoods we serve in Charlotte NC. The day mirrored public school zoom class schedules. In person school support was offered from 7:30am- 3:00 pm daily, aligned with the 2020-2021 remote School calendar. As Covid protocols allowed, we also offered projects, field trips, outdoor activities, and free snacks, and occasionally provided free lunch and transportation. We followed and required Covid protocol, preparing our kids for the return to live school in 2021. What do you emphasize with kids during a pandemic? Things like how to properly wear a mask all day; how to wash your hands, responding in class via Zoom, ways to keep in touch with family and friends without being with them)
COVID -19 RESPONSE During this pandemic Shepherd's House has distributed more than 100 masks to our kids and families. The safety and health of our Shepherd's House participants are critical during this time. Covid -19 is having a disproportionate impact on the black community, and fatalities from Covid -19 are hitting Black Americans harder than others with hospitalization and death 2-3 times higher than the overall community. Shepherd's House recognizes the importance of our Essential Workers. Shepherd's House sponsored a First Responders Appreciation Luncheon for our local essential workers in the Police Department, Sheriff's Department and Fire Department. Over 250 Essential Workers were served. We trialed a new initiative to support Remote Learning during the 2020 school year. Driven by the pandemic, families all over the country looked for safe options for school. Shepherd's House supported our first Learning Pod for kids in our community: RAVE: Remote Access for Virtual Education. This FREE Learning Pod was held in a house converted to a class room style center. It allowed families to bring a small number of kids together who are in virtual or remote learning at school during the pandemic. "Learning pods" are spaces that provide a safe place with adult supervision and internet connectivity for students to access all remote learning provided by the School System. We believe in equity in education.
We expanded Shepherd's House to include GIRLS into the program. Our pre-adolescent and adolescent girls are bombarded with distorted images of who they should be from tv and the internet. Teen pregnancy continues to be a problem. Girls bully other girls over social media. The high school dropout rate for girls continues to be high, especially for girls from urban/disadvantaged communities. Our goal is to use our girls-only activities to help our girls develop a positive, healthy self-image and equip them with the tools and experiences to succeed academically and professionally.
We officially expanded the age range to include 10 year old youth. Our programs now includes youth 10-17 years old. At the request of our kids and their families, we began to include younger siblings in some of our activities (when appropriate).
And More ... Many of our kids have grown up believing that college is "way out of their reach." They don't know anyone who has attended college, and certainly can't envision having the means to attend. So we started sponsoring small, chaperoned youth groups to attend the Honda HBCU Battle of the Bands. This day long event includes morning workshops and info sessions designed to encourage youth to expect more of themselves, and to show that they can attend college. Battle of the Bands (HBOB) is held at the Georgia World Congress Center. It includes recruitment and admissions information, workshops on financial aid and scholarships and of course step shows by sororities and fraternities. The day is capped off with a home coming-like band and drum line competition. Thousands of minority students and alumni attend.
We believe in the power of partnerships. Working with other youth-serving organizations we can positively impact the lives of those who need it the most. We provided 10 scholarships for Boys & Girls Club membership. Working with our partners at the Boys& Girls Club of Walton County, 5 boys and 5 girls were identified who wanted to join the club but did not have the $40.00 needed for membership. Boys and Girls Clubs provide year-round programs conducive to academic success, healthy lifestyles and character development.
The BELIEVE IT. ACHIEVE IT. sessions were held everywhere: in community halls, over an ice cream snack, in homes, at a church education building, at school, during the break at a basketball game, outside the courtroom, via a phone call... every place we can mentor and coach a young person.
Thanks to our board, our volunteers and many unsung heroes for their support and expertise.
Shepherd's House launched our first back2School Giveaway, which is now an annual event. This initiative supports academic readiness. The first Back2School Giveaway was held in conjunction with Rivers of Mercy Church, situated in a neighborhood known for high levels of poverty, a high dropout rate and high crime. The Back2School Giveaway was attended by kids from first grade through high school and their parents.
By the numbers:
In 2013, over 130 youth received book bags and back to school supplies. Shepherd's House was able to fill and donate 100 of those book bags, brimming with school supplies. Through our sponsorship, the back2School Giveaway has helped to prepare our kids for a successful school year. Book Bags are filled with school supplies.
In 2014 the book bag giveaway drive collected and gave away more than 400 bookbags filled with school supplies. Thanks to all of the wonderful partners!
In 2015 we donated 105 bookbags; 110 in 2016; 85 in 2017; 100 in 2018; 110 in 2019.
The 2021 BookBag Giveaway provided free bookbags and school supplies to more than 600+ students in 2 cities!
The Annual Target for our Academic Readiness Back2School program is to collect and donate a minimum of 100 filled bookbags each school year in partnership with local churches, organizations and community groups. Our Back2School program features information about Shepherd's House programs, motivational speakers, outdoor fun and games and teen performers from the community. Let's get the school year started off right!
We were ready to hold our first ever Summer Camp! Called the Shepherd's House Academy, it was attended by 7 boys aged 7-17 from Georgia & North Carolina. This week- long overnight camp was held in Monroe, Ga. and included activities at the local Boys & Girls Club. Each day focused on different Goals: Building Teamwork, Decision Making and the Consequences of Choice; Taking Responsibility, Building Character, Overcoming Obstacles & Conquering Your Fears; Health & Sexuality. The week ended with a celebration at Six Flags Amusement Park.
The first Shepherd's House activities in 2011 centered around 1:1 and small group sessions and outings. Those initial activities included all the areas that keep young men interested, engaged and encouraged. We "hired them" for small jobs where they earned a few allowance dollars. This led to lessons about saving and about giving back.
They cut grass and picked up litter in their own neighborhood. They had the opportunity to work alongside professional landscapers. These lessons were all about taking pride in where we live, work and play by taking personal ownership and caring about how our home and our community looks. They learned to appreciate the value of hard work.
We took the young men shopping and discussed how to spend the dollars earned, handling money, the importance of credit, responsible use of credit cards and what it means to use a bank versus a check-cashing spot.
We explored neighborhood lakes, tracked deer, drove RVs over local trails, walked quiet paths and went fishing, all of which helped the boys gain an appreciation for nature and wildlife, learn about themselves, and explored the outdoors. These adventure outings build confidence and were just great fun away from the pressures and conditions of home.
We talked about the importance of respecting girls, dealing with family issues like poor home conditions, incarceration & drug addiction, handling peer and school pressure. We mapped out options and coping skills to handle feelings of anxiety, anger and abandonment. We had "the talk" about growing up as a black boy in America.
We met with the boys' family members and made referrals for individual, group and family counseling services as needed. We believe in family values: love, trust, discipline and respect. These activities are foundational, and still a part of our Believe It. Achieve It. programming activities.
The program started with the Shepherd's House Team working with a small group of young men aged 11-17 in Walton County Georgia and a few young men aged 9-12 in Charlotte NC. It included boys from the neighborhood, referrals from DJJ, sons and grandsons of our friends, and our own grandsons and nephews. It was a perfect mix of backgrounds and experiences. Each young man had so much to share and a lot to learn from each other. And from being a Shepherd's House kid.
Shepherd's House was born in December of 2010. It started very simply with the house logo which Michael had envisioned years earlier. Michael spent years working in law enforcement and community service and saw firsthand the downstream negative impacts experienced by at-youth risk. He wanted to make a positive difference early on in the lives of our young boys and young men. We called ourselves The Shepherd's House and adopted Believe It. Achieve It. as our mantra. We agreed that Shepherd's House would be most impactful by focusing on the quality of our interaction with young people.
Our underlying building blocks are designed to provide activities that are structured, fun and educational. Activities that encourage personal goal setting and teach the steps and discipline needed to achieve your goals. Real life conversations. This approach helps us to attract and retain participation in our mentoring program. It also helps us gain support and encouragement for involvement from their family.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO MAKE AN IMPACT.
THANKS TO YOUR TIRELESS SUPPORT AND GENEROUS DONATIONS, WE HAVE DELIVERED SHEPHERD'S HOUSE PROGRAMS FOR OUR YOUTH FOR 10 YEARS! Your contributions and support help to make a difference.
Copyright © 2020 Shepherd's House Inc -
Shepherd's House Inc.org is a 501(c)3 non profit. Tax ID 900640164.
We honor the trust of those who through their tax dollars and charitable donations, make what we do for youth and families possible.
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