Organized by Brentwood Keller Williams agent Lori Ogorchock, more than 80 Keller Williams employees, vendors, friends and family descended on the Brentwood Shepherd’s Gate campus to help prepare for its open house scheduled for Sunday, May 16. Volunteers gave each room a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning. Others helped organize the pantry. Another group watched and played with the children of the house. On the driveway, volunteers sorted through several cars worth of donations.
In the backyard, volunteers worked on a number of projects. Tan bark was trucked in to refresh some of the garden beds. A wooden play structure for the children got a new awning complete with new hardware. A group of volunteers worked to build an easily accessible ramp to a shed where the children in the center kept their toys. Others worked in the center’s garden beds, adding new plants – all donated by Ace Hardware – and replacing old ones.
Everything at Shepherd’s Gate – including all the materials that the RED Day volunteers used to help – is the direct result of private donations. The 7,600-square-foot house and acre-plus of land was donated to the organization by Signature Properties. The sizable center can house up to 30 women and children at a time.
Shepherd’s Gate receives no government funds and relies on donations of time, money and materials. “We’re totally nonprofit,” said Yvonne Boitano, head of Program Services at Shepherd’s Gate in Brentwood. She added that a majority of the donations are from private individuals. Although the volume of donations has decreased due to the downturn in the economy, the community is still giving – and every little bit helps keep the doors of Shepherd’s Gate open.
“We need the people; we need the bodies to volunteer. It takes a whole lot of us to make this work,” said Boitano. Volunteers perform many duties at the center, including leading Bible studies and helping to care for the children. Other regular volunteers include a handyman and gardener.
The open house was a fun-filled, family-friendly event that helped get the word out about the center. In attendance were volunteers, church members from around the community and others who have worked with Shepherd’s Gate. A barbecue lunch was served, children enjoyed a petting zoo and an inflatable jumper, and treats such as cotton candy and popcorn. Raffle tickets were sold for a chance at winning prize-filled baskets and the ultimate grand prize, a brand-new gas grill.
Residents and visitors alike appreciated all that the RED Day volunteers had accomplished to spruce up the Brentwood campus. Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor gave a speech and presented Boitano with a certificate commemorating Shepherd’s Gate Brentwood’s participation in RED Day 2010.
Other speakers included Shepherd’s Gate Executive Director Steve McRee and Associate Director Carla McRee, who thanked the community of Brentwood for supporting their efforts to help homeless and battered women through the Shepherd’s Gate ministry. The most compelling speech of the day was from Jakara Payne, a former resident and graduate of the Brentwood program. Payne shared her journey from domestic abuse to Shepherd’s Gate. She is now living a drug-free, fulfilling life thanks to the help of Shepherd’s Gate.
For more information about Keller William’s RED Day Campaign, visit www.kw.com/kw/redday.html. For more information on Shepherd’s Gate, including how to donate or volunteer, visit www.shepherdsgate.org.