Dear Notre Dame Shepherds Friends,

As the new school year begins, Shepherds staff and Board look forward to a “normal”, healthy, in-person, be together, see each other’s smiling faces year! Let’s see if we can make it so!

This is also the beginning of Shepherds’ 20th year in partnership with Notre Dame High School in our joint mission of “Changing Lives.. One Student at a Time.” In the vein of taking a larger perspective, I thought I’d identify a few themes for the year.

The first is building on the extraordinary outpouring of generosity of those of you who mentor and sponsor our Shepherds students. The generosity I’m talking about is not just the financial support of the community of mentors and sponsors which is gratefully recognized, but as importantly, the time and attention given to our Shepherds students. The last two plus years took a toll on the well-being of this population of young people in particular. Shepherds will work with all of you to support your efforts to build on this positive momentum. The need is still evident and the opportunity to make a difference is before us.

The second is the sense that this fall we are taking another step on Shepherds’ 24 year journey in fulfilling our mission. We’ll have 62 Shepherds students this year which includes 20 Notre Dame young men, an equal number of dedicated mentors, solid financial footing, and an expanded program of educational, social, and college prep programs. In that regard, we are thrilled to welcome Mr. Dennis Yacono, ND Math Interventionist Teacher, as our new Shepherds Notre Dame Liaison. Dennis, NDHS ’01, had worked closely with our former, much loved ND Shepherds Liaison, Ms. Martha Giammatteo, ND Language Arts Interventionist, and consequently he is very familiar with Shepherds ND students. We’re very fortunate to have Dennis join the Shepherds’ team.

The 2022 -23 year theme that I hope all constituents can feel and take advantage of this year is the attention and care we give our mentors, both one-on-one and in organizing group activities. Our goal is to provide more opportunities to spend quality time with each other and your students. Your input and engagement with those initiatives is both requested and appreciated.

Let’s have a great year!