A facility caring for and teaching mentally disabled adults.
Thank you for praying for Shepherds College. Your prayers are so very important, and their impact cannot be overstated.
Here are some ministry highlights from 2020:
- In March, when COVID-19 forced us to send our students home, our incredible instructor team transitioned all training from on-campus and in-person to virtual instruction. Since all of our students have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), that transition was an even greater challenge, yet it was accomplished very successfully.
- We finished the spring semester last June. While we were not able to host a commencement service for our 2020 grads, we delivered their certificates of completion to their homes, traveling thousands of miles to do so. Those in-person visits were incredible and reminded students and their parents of the extent to which we care for and appreciate them.
- Our COVID Task Force put together plans to operate the fall semester on-campus. In August, we welcomed students back to Shepherds College. When our students returned home for the semester, we were grateful to be able to celebrate God’s protection over our student body as zero students tested positive for COVID-19 during the fall semester.
- We plan that our students will return to campus in January for a spring semester on-campus.
- Financially, God continues to demonstrate His provision for Shepherds in these ways:
• from June 2019 to June 2020, our overall debt was reduced by over 60%;
• our enrollment from the spring semester to the fall semester dropped less than 2%, while so many schools experienced a 20-40% drop in enrollment; and
• we successfully utilized a PPP loan that will be fully forgiven, and we did not layoff or furlough any staff.
- A positive outcome of COVID has been a plan to expand our impact through online training. When we saw how well our students adapted to online training, we initiated efforts to build a new distance learning program. Shepherds College Online will be launched this spring and offer modules and courses for people with IDD, their parents, educators, and others whose lives intersect with individuals with IDD. Shepherds College Online will not be a part of our accredited, post-secondary school but will provide training and instruction for those who cannot attend our school in-person.
- The health & safety of our students and staff as we resume the school year in January.
- God’s guidance as we establish our plans and responses to the operational challenges of the pandemic.
- God’s continued financial provision for Shepherds that allows us to fulfill our mission and impact lives for the Kingdom. Overall giving is down from each category of support – churches, individuals, foundations, and businesses.
- Direction in the development of Shepherds College Online as we seek to establish an online presence that extends our ministry’s reach and impact.
- Our recruitment efforts, as we look to bring in a full class of new students in August of 2021. Much of this work and the interactions with prospective students and their parents are underway and, without question, is complicated by the limitations and uncertainty that COVID-19 presents.
- The opportunity to honor both our 2020 and 2021 graduates in June with an in-person commencement service that recognizes and celebrates their accomplishments.
Thank you for your prayers and support of Shepherds College. We appreciate and are encouraged by your partnership in our ministry. When appropriate, I invite you and anyone at the church to visit our campus and see first-hand what God is accomplishing here at Shepherds College.