Tag Archives: Tag: Education


Jonathan is the embodiment of the Shepherds’ belief that education is the gift that keeps on giving – long after they graduate our program. He is a 2005 alumnus of Notre Dame West Haven High School and the Shepherds program. He has also given back to our program by becoming a mentor himself.

Jonathan continues to mentor in Charlotte, NC where he now lives via National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). NABA’s motto is ‘Lift as We Climb.’ “Being mentored opened up opportunities I did not know about or our family didn’t have the means to provide. I am continuing that tradition by mentoring young black accounting students,” claimed Jonathan.

Mentoring changes lives. You can too! Become a Shepherds mentor for a student in the freshman class beginning this fall. Contact Dan McAuliffe at info@shepherdsmentors.org or call 203-367-4273.

2020 Notre Dame Seniors

This evening, the entire Shepherds’ community at Notre Dame West Haven High School were to come together to honor the upcoming graduation of four young men: Luis, Damian, Johan and Sukeer. Due to social distancing restrictions, we will not be having those celebrations. However, we are endeavoring to honor our seniors in a way befitting their tremendous accomplishments.

Shepherds is exceptionally proud of these seniors who have come so far since their freshman year – and have robustly completed their education despite the public health challenge. Additionally, the seniors’ families, mentors, financial sponsors and the staff at our partner school, Notre Dame West Haven, should be all be recognized for their efforts to help these young men reach new heights. They say it takes a village –  and these young men have many villagers who have been supporting them the past four years.

We look forward to announcing our graduates’ plans for their education in June. Until then, congratulations to the Shepherds’ Notre Dame West Haven Class of 2020! Shepherds hopes you use the gifts of your Notre Dame West Haven education and the Shepherds program to keep reaching new goals. Go forth and do great things!


work hard

A significant percentage of graduates of the Shepherds program have chosen careers in the health care field. Melissa Bonnilla-Sanchez, Shepherds and Kolbe Cathedral HS class of 2009, is a respiratory therapist and the story of her resilience and determination is inspiring. Her mother, Shepherds’ mentor, Hope Carter, and other mentors she collected along the way helped her live the motto that was critical to her success: Work hard and be nice.

Thank you to Melissa and all the Shepherds’ alumni who have chosen to pursue careers in health care. Education is the gift that keeps on giving – and not just to the student – but to our entire community.

Being a Shepherds mentor changes lives and we are recruiting mentors for the class of 2024 starting in the fall. Join us today by contacting Executive Director Dan McAuliffe at info@shepherdsmentors.org or call 203-367-4273.



Shepherds’ seniors at our partner schools, Notre Dame West Haven and Kolbe Cathedral, are in the midst of making their college selection for the fall. Unlike previous years, COVID-19 is making in-person guidance counseling and mentoring very challenging for students and their guidance counselors. Analyzing academic goals, financial aid packages and potential transportation issues is a daunting task for many of our first-generation students. We are happy to report that they are rising to the challenge!

Their hard work and dedication in school is having an enormous impact in the options they have for college. The Shepherds program along with our partner schools, provide an education that has an impact that lasts long after our students graduate high school. We will announce their final selections in June and hope to find a way to to honor their accomplishments in person this summer.

Shepherds is recruiting mentors for the class of 2024. Be a part of the next group of Shepherds students’ success by applying to be a mentor today! To find out more, contact Dan McAuliffe at info@shepherdsmentors.org or call 203-367-4273

Recently a Shepherds and Kolbe Cathedral High School alumnus reached out to his mentor, Brian O’Connor. Isaiah Smith graduated from KCHS in 2003 and furthered his education at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. He graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

Shepherds and Brian O’Connor were excited to hear of Isaiah’s success. Currently, he along with his wife and two beautiful daughters live in Manchester, CT. Isaiah works at Koh Young America, Inc as a Regional Sales Manager.

Mentoring a student through the Shepherds program pays big social dividends to both the student and mentor. “Shepherds provided the opportunity for a private college preparatory education and a mentor to guide Isaiah. He made great use of the resources we gave him. Isaiah’s success is a great example how education is the gift that keeps on giving,” claimed Executive Director Dan McAuliffe. “Isaiah’s education and Shepherds experience have not only been a great benefit to him directly, but to his wife and children as well.”

Mentor Brian O’Connor was touched when Isaiah reached out to him, “I often wondered where Isaiah was and how his life turned out. It was a beautiful note and heartwarming to know he completed college, has a good job, and is happily married with a loving family,” stated mentor Brian O’Connor.

When asked about the impact that his mentor had on him, Isaiah responded “I truly believe my mentor Brian’s contribution to my high school education played a role in my success in life. I cannot thank him enough.”

Mentor Brian O’Connor changed a life. You can too! Why not consider become a Shepherds mentor this year? Shepherds is seeking mentors for the incoming Shepherds freshman class at both Kolbe Cathedral High School and Notre Dame West Haven. To find out more about the Shepherds program, contact Dan McAuliffe at info@shepherdsmentors.org or call 203-367-4273.  www.shepherdsmentors.org

Dear Shepherds Community,

As the implications of the virus pandemic become more immediate, it’s our sense that the connections that underpin the Shepherds partnership of student-parent-school-mentor-staff are even more relevant.

First, and foremost, we hope and pray that you and your families are well.

Second, the Shepherds staff is on duty – yes, like many of you, we are balancing home, family, virtual learning, and work responsibilities. But we have a job to do and are available to hear from you. If you think we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.

    Third, we would like to begin the process of building a community of sharing. We hope that by communicating more, we can support each other even if we can’t physically be there for one another.  Please share your stories – images or written –  about how you’re adapting to the current conditions, what you’ve learned and any suggestions you may have for others.

Send us your input or pictures at info@shepherdsmentors.org or text them to 203-550-6395, or tag Shepherds on Instagram or Facebook. We will post them for the greater community. We’ll curate the input and post as appropriate, names only disclosed upon permission.  


Shepherds enjoyed hearing from a student alumnus at Shepherds Notre Dame Mentor Appreciation Night. Notre Dame West Haven ’14 alum, Jeenn Barreiro embraced the lessons he learned during his time as a Shepherds student at NDWHS.

After high school, he continued his education at College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 2018. Jeenn currently works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a researcher and plans on attending graduate school in the fall.

While his academic and work successes make Shepherds proud, his impact on his community in Boston brings the lessons learned at Shepherds and NDWH full-circle. At our Mentor Appreciation Night, he spoke about how he is now a mentor himself. Jeenn mentoring and coaching a soccer team of refugees, undocumented and socio-economically challenged youths.

KCHS seniors (pictured) attended workshops with Jane-Ellen Collins at the end of January. Students received a crash-course on what it means to be a freshman in college.

Topics covered included roommate issues, laundry, planning a schedule, balancing studies and fun, where to go for academic help and a lot more! Consistently rated a favorite Shepherds activity by graduating seniors, Jane-Ellen does a great job preparing our KCHS Seniors for the next big step in their academic lives: Being a College Freshman

January is National Mentoring Month and Shepherds is so thankful for all the mentors that assist our students.

Our mentors are kind-hearted adults who help bridge the opportunity gap our inner-city students have. A good mentor allows students to see the hope and possibilities within themselves. Becoming a Shepherds is a satisfying way to make a positive impact on a young person in your own backyard.

As the Chronicle of Evidence Based Mentoring states, mentoring is an opportunity not only for the student, but for the mentor as well.

To find out more about becoming a mentor at Shepherds, contact Executive Director Dan McAuliffe at info@shepherds.com or www.shepherdsmentors.org

Four Ways Mentoring Benefits the Mentor