encourages older adults to remain active and independent through enrichment programs
and volunteer service to their peers.
The 2014-2015 fiscal year was one of consolidation, improvement and growth. The Board undertook a full strategic planning review, led by professional Katie Campbell, based upon three plenary sessions with the full Board and several intensive meetings with individuals. The result was a three-year strategic plan enthusiastically adopted by the Board. New vision, mission, and values statements were also adopted as part of this exercise. All of these can be found on our website. The full cost of the strategic planning exercise was covered by a generous donation made for that purpose.The Executive Director, Julie Adams-Buchanan, who was appointed to that position effective June 1, 2014, took full administrative rein this fiscal year. Among significant developments was the implementation of a computerized online transportation system, Ride Scheduler, to bring our program up to 21st century standards. Transporting seniors to medical appointments and grocery stores is now easier to coordinate and drivers have further control on how they participate. Sarah Cheney, Executive Director of Shepherd’s Centers of America, came for a visit shortly after automation and is eager to see the outcomes of our Center, as well as many other Shepherd’s Centers using the program now.Among modernizing and economizing measures undertaken during the year, an increasing number of Gray Matters newsletters, Open University schedules and invitations are being distributed electronically. The significant contributions to seniors in the Greater Richmond community are detailed in our annual report.
The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond was incorporated in 1984. Reverend Robert Seiler of Richmond, with the support of several local churches, developed the Richmond Shepherd’s Center, based on the successful national model that had been established in the early 1970’s in Kansas City, MO. This pilot project was supported by the Virginia Diocese of the Episcopal Church with a three-year grant. The purpose of the organization was to utilize the skills, wisdom, and experience of seniors to solve some of the problems and unmet needs of other seniors in the community. It was not a place or a building, but was, and still is today, a community of caring, dedicated senior volunteers who offer their skills, wisdom and experience to make our organization the best resource in Richmond for those over 60.The first programs developed and implemented by these senior volunteers were transportation to medical appointments, handyman services, and an educational lecture series. Services were offered to those who were over 60 years of age and living west of First Street to the city limits and from Broad Street south to the James River.The success of the program led to widening support from individual, corporate, congregation and foundation contributions. Area teachers donated time and expertise as class attendance increased and interest in the life-long learning program grew. Several local churches offered their space during the week for the “Open University” educational classes, taught by retired professors. Volunteer participation in the Personal Services program increased.These programs have continued to serve the needs of people of retirement age for 30 years. Today, the Center serves an average of 500 “students” each year at the Open University, offering intellectual stimulation, socialization, and reducing a sense of isolation common in older adults. Each year, the Volunteer Services program serves approximately 200 clients, and provides more than 1400 cost-free round-trip rides to medical appointments and to grocery stores for seniors in the Richmond Metropolitan Area.
The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond's programs address the crucial human needs of purpose and meaning in later life while simultaneously addressing the problems of inadequate transportation, isolation, and the need for socialization and intellectual stimulation among seniors. The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond is a completely volunteer-operated organization of senior volunteers helping other seniors in the community. More than one in five adults 65 years of age and over does not drive, and transportation is recognized as one of the most crucial, under-addressed needs for older adults. When caring volunteers address needs such as transportation, minor home repair, and bill-paying, it becomes increasingly possible to minimize feelings of dependence and isolation. No one lives “independently”; we are interdependent throughout our lives. For both providers and recipients of Shepherd’s Center services, the sense of this vital interdependence creates opportunities for satisfaction and growth.Drivers almost always stay with the client in the doctor’s office, and often stop with the client at a pharmacy on the way home to fill a prescription. In several cases, a client was admitted to the hospital, and the volunteer stayed, as one would with family, until the person was ready to return home. The personal satisfaction derived from regularly providing transportation to clients who could not otherwise make the trip is tremendous. One volunteer driver insists on using the word “friends” rather than “clients”. This driver has routinely taken people to medical appointments and grocery shopping for more than 15 years.The Shepherd’s Center is special in its capacity to engage volunteers in leadership roles. We employ only three people. Some 350 volunteers carry out all other work, giving more than 10,000 hours of service annually. This work ranges from teaching or direct personal service to organizational planning, committee work, and board leadership. While it is not uncommon to find older adults giving their time to service organizations, it is unusual for an organization to be almost entirely comprised of older adults.
Julie Adams-Buchanan becomes the fifth executive director of the Center in its 30 years. She has held the position of Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Center for the past six and a half years, interviewing prospective clients and overseeing the hundreds of volunteers who provide transportation and other assistance to seniors in the Richmond community.
Adams-Buchanan received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) last March.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors I am delighted to welcome Julie as our new Executive Director,” said past Board President Art Gunlicks. “She brings a great deal of experience in the area of volunteer services and is enthusiastic about the Shepherd’s Center and the people we serve. We look forward to her leadership in the years ahead.”
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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