Our services are creating a brighter today and better tomorrow for all generations with opportunities for older adults to take on new challenges, learn new skills, make new friends & serve others
The Shepherd’s Center network offers a range of programs that meet a myriad of needs.
As a result, older adults are physically and mentally healthier, socially more engaged, enjoy meaningful friendships and live independently longer in the community. Promoting the many joys of aging, we advocate a positive paradigm…so that older adults experience personal growth and fulfillment through lifelong learning, wellness and service to others. Our services are provided exclusively by volunteers, free of charge, to anyone age 50 or older who resides in our local community.
Shepherd’s Center volunteers help local seniors by providing rides, friendly visits, and helping hands at home.
Local seniors can count on the Shepherd’s Center for the following services:
Our 2016 Volunteer of the Year is Sofia Rontaler. Sofia received a gift card to a local Safeway grocery store after providing 109 rides last year to a wide variety of our clients. She has been a driver for two and a half years. Sofia takes a personal interest in each person she works with and keeps in touch with many of them and even runs errands for some of them. Her dedication to the ideals that Shepherd’s Center espouses made her an obvious choice for the award.
Born in England to Polish immigrants after WWII, Sofia came to the US when she was 3 years old. Sofia became widowed after 23 years of marriage and ran a consignment shop in Vienna until 2014. Retirement provided Sofia with time to volunteer and she found “the flexibility to sign up for ride appointments that work with my schedule” was appealing and she enjoys “the chance to strike up a conversation” as she drives her clients to their appointments.
“Finding out about the Shepherd’s Center has been to me not a coincidence but a God incident. It can be so easy to get caught up in one’s own life, but it is important to reach out and help others.” – Sofia Rontaler
We are privileged to have volunteers like Sofia in our organization.
Kate Jones, who began volunteering with the Shepherd’s Center on November 19, 2013, is the Shepherd’s Center of McLean-Arlington-Falls Church 2014 Volunteer of the Year. During that period she provided 108 medical rides for our seniors showing the true spirit of serving people unable to get to and from their medical appointments.
Kate, a native of Englewood, New Jersey, a retired pediatric nurse, has lived in McLean for 34 years. She was a stay-at home mom when her children were young and then worked 14 years in school clinics for the Fairfax County Health Department, the majority of that time serving at Langley High School in McLean. She retired from that position in 2005.
When she is not volunteering for the Shepherd’s Center, she loves to swim, bake and spend time with her family. Kate and her husband, Gordon, have three children, Sarah, Dylan and Ethan. She also has two grandsons, Caleb and Adam.
Liz McRaney, 73, lives in Falls Church. She deals with some health issues, uses a cane and hasn’t driven in years. She tried public transportation, but service was spotty. Now the Shepherd’s Center takes her where she needs to go.
“They’re very caring and compassionate,” she says. “They’re my friends — I went out to lunch with a new driver. It’s a faith-based service they’re performing.” – Liz McRaney
We received a nice note from the daughter of one of our clients. In it she said:
“What a wonderful service you all provide and it meant so much to us. After Mom’s last accident when she decided to give up driving, it was a relief to her to find a reliable, compassionate and free service. And what a relief to me as well since I live out of town and can’t always be there to drive her. You are a blessing to the community. God bless you and keep up the good work.”
Another client said:
“Thanks so much to Robyn and her charming son for helping me over the two-day doctors care for my cataract surgery. I am inspired. I am so appreciative of what the Shepherd’s Center has done for me.”
“It took a long time but I finally won with the hearing aid company. Thank you.”
Comments like this give us real satisfaction and are part of the rewards for doing what we do.