Shepherds House to receive training from national foundation; Boyle chapter celebrating 5 year anniversary

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Shepherds House in Boyle County has been selected by the Stand Together Foundation to receive leadership training in their Catalyst Program.

Stand Together is a philanthropic community that helps other nonprofits tackle the root causes of America’s biggest problems. It was started in 2003 by Charles Koch. The Catalyst Program provides market-based management training to all types of nonprofits around the country.

Shepherds House in Boyle County is one of 14 nonprofits to be part of the six-month training program. Community Outreach Coordinator Roger Fox and Office Manager Blake Hobson are going to Austin, Texas this week to begin the training.

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They will hear presentations from nonprofits that just completed their six-month training. They’ll be able to meet, connect with and learn from other people who run nonprofits different from what they’re doing. The program has served organizations focused on everything from poverty, healthcare, job training, racial reform, and many other problems in America.

“It expands your reach with other organizations and the leadership training that comes along with it,” Hobson said. “We will learn as much as we can, and come back to our organization and try to implement the things they teach us.”

The program will allow Shepherds House to tell their story on a larger platform. During the six months, a film crew will document what the organization does and how they have made differences in the community. The video will be on the Shepherds House website and the Stand Together YouTube channel.

Fox and Hobson will make two other trips in May and August. At the end, they will share their story to the next group of trainees in a Ted Talk-style presentation.

“We’re excited to be able to go and learn some skills we’re going to be able to use,” Fox said. “We plan on being around the Shepherds House for a long time, so learning these market-based management skills is going to help us invest in our employees.”

Shepherds House is a recovery program for people released from prison, or who are struggling with addiction, to help them get stable employment and a place to live. It started in Lexington in the 1980s, and came to Boyle County five years ago.

The Boyle County non-resident addiction treatment center is celebrating its five year anniversary with an event on April 1 at noon at 454 South 3rd Street. Some graduates of the program will share their stories of recovery. The event will serve food and will honor local people and organizations that invest in Shepherds House.

Shepherds House has received support from the county, the Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (ASAP), the Industrial Foundation, local treatment providers, and others in the community.

Fox, who helped start the Boyle chapter, said that what makes it different from Lexington is the specialized focus on Boyle and Mercer counties’ community. They created the program to fit the needs of this area.

“It’s been a blessing to be here from the beginning to see how this thing has grown and see how Boyle and Mercer County have taken advantage of it,” Fox said.

It started with just a day reporting program, which takes people the day they are released from jail to help them figure out their next step. They recently started the Jail to Job program, which allows recently released inmates to get recovery therapy and help them find employment.

They now have six full time employees, some of whom have gone through recovery at Shepherds House. In 2021, they started the women’s recovery housing program, which Fox said has been a major success.

The Catalyst Program will open up the opportunity for Shepherds House to receive donor support nationwide. With more support, Fox said they hope to start more transitional housing programs.

He said clients in recovery often want to stay in the area after completing treatment, but don’t know where they’ll live. Transitional housing will help make their move back into society easier.

Fox said the best part of what they do is when they see Shepherds House graduates living their lives, shopping at Walmart, knowing they made a difference.

“To see that we made a difference in that person’s life; we didn’t do the work, they did the work, we just gave them the tools to do the work with, and that’s the best feeling in the world,” Fox said.