Shepherding International is a nonprofit organization working under the umbrella of its parent company Good Shepherd Ranch, LLC (GSR).

Shepherding International is working in partnership with SunCore Group and Huffine Global Solutions to renovate an existing 14,500 square foot structure that will provide housing, education and training for 25-30 Ukrainian refugees entering the U.S. This building will be renovated into a dormitory-living and training center for the students.  Shepherding International will ensure students receive PTSD counseling, life coaching, US citizenship (if desired), and English language classes.

This project is located 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 has primarily been occupied by a retired and aging population. While the Ukrainian students are obtaining their citizenship they can also work and engage in the surrounding communities of Ridgway, Ouray, Montrose, and Telluride.  They can also serve as volunteer emergency (EMS) responders and fire fighters that are needed in the immediate area. All of this is in addition to the career and educational training they will receive from the GSR Eco-Institute.

The proposed Shepherding International Career Center project site is located at the entrance of the Log Hill subdivision. The existing facility, originally constructed in 1984 with several additions over the years, was previously used as a gym and community center.  However, it has sat empty and unused for the past 10 years. SunCore Group has recently done a property site assessment.  The building is structurally sound; however, it needs to be brought up to current building and energy codes in order to receive a certificate of occupancy to house the Ukrainian student refugees.  The building needs several weatherization and renewable energy upgrades to reduce the operational cost. The existing and proposed floor plans of the facility are attached to this application for visual reference.

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.


Donate to This Cause

Shepherding International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our tax ID is 88-3159792 and all donations are tax-deductible.

If you prefer to mail a check, make it payable to “Shepherding International” and mail it to:

Shepherding International

c/o Kim Zahniser, President

1047 N. First Street

Montrose, CO 81401

Credit Card

Project Need

Labor Shortage

Due to labor shortages in the area the project needs volunteers with skills in both construction and energy conservation, to assist with renovating the facility this November as well as next Spring of 2023.

It is anticipated that all of the building permits and approvals from Ouray County will allow renovation to begin by October 2022.

Phase One

The renovation of this facility will be done in phases. 

The first phase will renovate the main kitchen, bathrooms next to the Directors Office Suite, and install a new laundry facility with an ADA access ramp creating an additional connection within the interior of the building. 

A safety rail around the former pool area / sunken entertainment area needs to be installed.  Gym equipment needs to be relocated within the facility.

New ceiling insulation above the pool area is imperative for reducing energy costs.  Work will also include demolition and resetting of several interior walls, removing and replacing bathroom fixtures, and upgrading to energy efficient lighting.

A new solar PV system will also be installed on the roof of the pool area by licensed electrical contractors, as well as upgrades to the entire electrical and fiber optic system.

Plumbing and mechanical work will also be performed by licensed contractors that can help supervise the volunteer labor.

Phase Two

The second phase, beginning in Spring of 2023, will include renovating the locker rooms, finishing the new interior walls, installing flooring, adding and adjusting doors and windows, and replacing exterior siding.

Work to be done outside of the building regards constructing new walkways between the new egress doors, ensuring that there is proper drainage on the north side, reopening a former driveway, cleaning up the existing landscaping, updating the outdoor deck areas, and ensuring that the existing BBQ pit and irrigation system is functioning properly.

Lodging accommodations are available for AmeriCorps or other volunteer groups within the existing structure.  There are currently 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a living room in the main office area outside of the construction zones. Additional rooms, beds and baths can easily be provided if more volunteer housing is needed.

The target readiness date for receiving Ukrainian refugees is November 5, 2023. (The kitchen expansion may or may not be completed by this date.  If it isn’t, then a kitchenette with at least a microwave and a refrigerator will be provided.