What Do Shepherd’s Centers and Starbucks Have in Common?

How often do you struggle to describe what your Shepherd’s Center does? It can be challenging because we do so much for so many people with vastly different needs. We’re about health and wellness, lifelong learning, support services, volunteerism, social enrichment, caregiver support, friendship…you can add to this list. 

One word that continues to be used to describe what we do is community. Story after story highlights the sense of identity and belonging that emerges after individuals, including staff, feel when connected to a Shepherd’s Center. 

But if you are at a loss to find one word, consider what others have said, “Shepherd’s Centers have to be experienced!” I believe this is true because Shepherd’s Centers transform the lives of older adults. 

Author and business executive Donald Miller shared this about the Starbucks experience: 

Starbucks exploded by not just offering customers a cup of coffee but by giving them a comfortable, sophisticated environment in which to relax. Customers felt good about themselves when they walked into a Starbucks. Starbucks was delivering more value than just coffee; they were delivering a sense of sophistication and enthusiasm about life.

They were also offering a place for people to meet in which they could experience affiliation and belonging. Starbucks changed American culture from hanging out in diners and bars to hanging out in a local, Italian-style coffee shop.

Even if you don’t frequent Starbucks, I suspect a positive feeling comes to mind. I contend we can substitute Shepherd’s Centers for Starbucks, and it would read something like this: 

Shepherd’s Centers are not just offering lifelong learning but creating a welcoming, inclusive environment where older adults can use their wisdom and experience to continue contributing to society. Individuals feel good about themselves when they walk into a Shepherd’s Center. Shepherd’s Centers are delivering more value than just programs; we are delivering a sense of purpose and enthusiasm about life and aging. 

We are also offering a place for people to connect and experience affiliation and belonging. Shepherd’s Centers are changing American culture from aging being about challenges and decline to being about expanding opportunities to live happy, healthy lives with meaning and purpose.  

At every age and stage of life, we all seek to belong to a caring community. Being part of the Shepherd’s Centers community with you is a joy!

Sarah Cheney

Thank you endlessly for your generosity

You’re changing lives and building community with your support.

Aging Forward Logo

Aging Forward National Office
5559 NW Barry Rd.
Box #333
Kansas City, MO 64154

Subscribe to our newsletter

Enjoy Aging Matters newsletter for insight and connection.