We are a network of 55 hard-working affiliate centers across the U.S. Together, we offer a continuum of enriching services to over 165,000 individuals every year, including:
- support services such as transportation, handy helpers, friendly visits, grocery shopping, and respite care to help older adults remain living in their own homes and communities.
- lifelong-learning designed for personal growth and enrichment
- health and wellness opportunities that enhance and maintain physical and cognitive well-being
- volunteering opportunities that provide purpose and personal satisfaction in giving back to the community
Our work not only alleviates loneliness, but provides exciting opportunities for older adults to take on new challenges, learn new skills, make new friends, and serve others.
Adventures in Learning is our signature program, with nearly all of our affiliate organizations offering college-type courses and cultural enrichment workshops focused on helping older adults continue to learn, discover, and grow. Experience one of these classes and it’s impossible not to see and feel the incredible enthusiasm for lifelong learning attendees share. Sessions are led by class instructors who themselves are mostly retired older adults or community experts who bring their special interests and backgrounds to enrich lives and keep minds strong and vibrant. Each Adventures in Learning session is developed by a local committee of Shepherd’s Center volunteers based on the interests and needs of older adults in each community. Subjects cover a range of topics: computer and technology, finance, literature, music and art appreciation, world religion, “how-to,” politics, current events, historical events and figures, foreign languages, and much more. These outstanding courses and topics – coupled with unforgettable content and camaraderie – keep attendees coming back year after year and decade after decade, making this program among our most popular.
You never know how crucial transportation is until you lose the ability to drive. This happens to countless older adults across the nation every day, leaving them feeling stressed and concerned. At Shepherd’s Centers, volunteer drivers from our affiliates across the country are dispatched every day to help those who have lost the ability to drive get to important medical care, shop for groceries and prescriptions, run errands, and participate in vital social and leisure activities. Our volunteers help their riders get in and out of their homes, help them with walkers or wheelchairs, and even assist with packages. All for free. Ask any of our riders: this free volunteer-provided service represents far more than just a ride. Valuable conversations and interactions occur, friendships form, and worries are eased when other, often costly, transport would otherwise need to be arranged. In countless cases, the relationship and bond that develops between riders and volunteers extends for years. Watch our video to learn more about volunteer driving.
The Volunteer Driver TurnKey Kit! Updated and revised by Dr. Helen Kerschner, the Volunteer Driver TurnKey Kit builds on decades of work and includes informational, educational, and technical resources. Under the leadership of Dr. Kerschner, Shepherd’s Centers of America is committed to expanding and supporting volunteer driver programs and the important role of these programs to ensure older adult mobility and independence. The TurnKey Kit is available to all prospective and existing volunteer driver programs across the country. Please reach out to Shepherd’s Centers of America by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (816-960-2022) if we can be of any assistance.
Older adults who are able to safely age in place by remaining in their own homes tend to be happier and healthier. For many, all that stands in the way of living in their own home is a little support from a helpful volunteer. Across the country every day, friendly and reliable volunteers are at the ready to offer a hand around the house of an older adult: changing a lightbulb or alarm batteries; unclogging a drain or installing a handrail; shopping for supplies or delivering a meal; and helping with yard work. Sometimes it’s simply a friendly call or visit to check-in and chat. Other times it could be an advocacy stop to help resolve fraud or answer questions. It’s the countless friendly, caring faces of Shepherd’s Centers of America volunteers that show up on front doors every day that are helping older adults across the country remain safely and independently in their homes.
Staying healthy and active into ones 80s and 90s is critical to aging well and maintaining physical health and well-being. Our network of Shepherd’s Centers offer an array of exciting opportunities across the country perfect for older adults. These wellness programs range from weekly exercise classes to nutritional education to health screenings to health literacy initiatives. They are all designed to provide the knowledge, skills, and social support for ensuring healthy lifestyles so participants can continue to do the things they most enjoy in life. Day after day in communities large and small across the U.S., older adults come together to take part in classes that range from Tai Chi to yoga to square dancing to chair exercises to line dancing. There’s even water aerobics and Zumba! Our caring network also promotes the wellness of caregivers to help them remain healthy and safe in their caregiving roles. Our caregiver support groups and trademark Breaktime Club provide caregivers a day of much needed respite while their loved one participates in enriching, social activities with others.
Day trips. Choral groups. Holiday parties. Overnight getaways. Dances. Museum stops. Intergenerational activities. Book Clubs. Every week one of our 55 affiliates hosts a life-changing, socially-enriching program for the older adults they serve. These trips and activities connect and engage them in learning, reduce feelings of isolation, and cultivate an active lifestyle and new friendships. Because our social enrichment programs are designed and driven by older adults at the helm, the Shepherd’s Center model stands apart from other models where decisions are made by the organization. We call this empowerment and the result is real. Ask anyone stepping off the bus from the last day trip, museum stop, or holiday party: our programs and services are deeply meaningful, memorable, and participants love the abundant opportunities for socializing, learning, and living a life of meaning.
You’re never too old – or young – to volunteer! Shepherd’s Center’s model is a unique and special one founded, in part, on older adults volunteering time in service to their peers. For older adults at that unique place in life where they are called to give back and still can, volunteering with their local Shepherd’s Center is an energizing way to do something worthwhile for someone else. Whether it’s an hour every couple of months or a regular daily activity, our volunteers make new and lasting friendships, routinely enjoy new experiences, and stay physically and mentally healthy by giving back. Volunteer opportunities vary from center to center. But all opportunities are flexible to each person’s schedule. And an array of choices means there is something for every interest.
- Volunteer caregiving: Give someone who can’t drive a ride to medical appointments, the grocery store, or an exercise class. Or visit or call on someone who isn’t able to get out very much just to say hello. Or lend a hand and help with chores or small household maintenance projects.
- Volunteer instructor: Share your expertise by leading an Adventures in Learning or wellness class.
- Volunteer administration: Provide office help, technology support, or board or committee leadership to develop programs to meet the needs of the community.
- Special projects: Help coordinate and implement community fundraising or social events.
- Intergenerational volunteering: Tutor or mentor children or teens, or participate in multigenerational service activities.
Shepherd’s Center volunteers come from all faiths and walks of life and include retirees, executives, families and even kids and teens. Each shares a common desire to help others.