Good Shepherd Ranch, LLC (GSR) has a nonprofit arm called “Shepherding International.” The goal of Shepherding International is to provide dormitory housing, education, and training for college-age Ukrainian refugees interested in becoming leaders in their chosen fields as they are redeployed back into the world to achieve successful and fulfilling careers. As part of its mission, GSR will establish an eco-institute to provide career and higher education training for refugees on net-zero geothermal energy concepts, the most efficient and sustainable building design and construction techniques, agri-food production, and health and wellness practices. This practical training will empower these refugees to work across these economic sectors around the world.
This Shepherding International project is located in Ouray County, Colorado, near Ridgway, Colorado, which is a beautiful rural mountain area surrounded by the San Juan and Cimarron Mountain ranges. Unfortunately, the popularity of this destination has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing in the region. This has significantly impacted local businesses and their ability to hire employees that can afford to live in the area. Creating a dormitory facility that can house younger workers will benefit the surrounding community and bring more balance to the local demographics, which have primarily been occupied by a retired and aging population.
Shepherding International is working in partnership with SunCore Group and Huffine Global Solutions to renovate an existing 14,500-square-foot gym and community center in Ridgway to provide housing, education, and training for up to 30 Ukrainian refugees entering the U.S. This vacated building complex will be renovated into a dormitory and training center for the students. Shepherding International will ensure that students receive PTSD counseling, life coaching, US citizenship (if desired), and English language classes.
While the Ukrainian students are obtaining their citizenship, in addition to Ridgway, they can also work and engage in the surrounding communities of Ouray, Montrose, and Telluride. They will have the opportunity to serve as volunteer emergency (EMS) responders and firefighters who are needed in the immediate area. All of these prospects, in addition to the career and educational training, will be afforded them while at the GSR eco-institute.
Shepherding International is pursuing additional federal funding through the US State Department and other charitable contributions to help pay for the building renovation. There are also several community fundraisers that will go towards the building improvements. The year-long renovation project will begin in October 2022 and finish with a target opening date of November 5, 2023.
Volunteers with skills in both construction and energy conservation are needed to assist with renovating the facility. Anyone interested in volunteering to help in any way with this project can contact Wendy Fenner, the CEO of Good Shepherd Ranch, LLC. Wendy can be reached at email@example.com or by calling her at (970) 729-1003.