In the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine, we featured a cross-section section of Walton’s Women of Influence who may not always be seen out there in the limelight, but whose contributions are invaluable to the lives of Walton County’s citizens. We have expanded on this a little to feature them individually on Your Local News and in this story we feature Megan Herndon, director of Shepherd Staff in Loganville.
To read about all of the women featured, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine at one of the Walton County city halls, libraries or the Chamber of Commerce or click or tap on this link to read the digital version. To read the latest Newsletter from Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts detailing all the Holiday Events, click or tap on this link.
A valuable resource in the community for those who are in crisis as a result of their circumstance is Megan Herndon, director of Shepherd Staff in Loganville.
“Shepherd’s Staff’s mission is to help families who are in crisis by providing strategies that lead to independence, sharing Christ and His love and providing basic human need services such as food, financial assistance, housing, and continued education,” says Herndon, who is quick to deflect credit elsewhere.
“I often tell people that I just show up but it’s God who does all the work. And that is the truth,” she said. “However, while I’m steering the ship, I have a responsibility to evangelize the ministry while evangelizing the gospel. I’m responsible to make sure we have the right volunteers in place who can best serve our clients and accomplish our mission. And I am responsible to look for strategic partnerships, funding, and relationships that will make our organization stronger and add value to our community. Ultimately, we want our clients to break the bondage of this world and experience freedom in life because of freedom through Christ.”
And while spreading this word, Herndon makes sure that the people seeking help from the ministry learn their value and reconnect with their own self-worth.
“We work tirelessly to teach our clients that they are not defined by their current circumstances, their current living situation or their current paycheck. Our desire is to guide and assist through the process of improving the overall quality of their lives and becoming productive members of the community. Only on rare occasions do we suggest that clients should apply for government assistance or additional assistance. We are still seeing alarming high numbers of people on government assistance who could actually be working full-time jobs but are so yoked by the ‘programs’ they don’t realize they could have more money without them if they were working full time. And they don’t realize they could actually be doing very well for themselves if they would only adjust their mindset,” she says. “We are talking about the able-bodied, 18-55-year-olds who either have a high school diploma, more than a high school diploma, decent work experience or all of the above. Even those clients dealing with prior convictions have more opportunities than ever before. There are jobs out there, they just need the confidence, encouragement, and accountability to get the ball rolling. If we can help facilitate that, I think we will have a positive impact on the community and a return on investment that will pay huge long-range dividends.”
Herndon said in order to do this, they recently hired a client education manager to expand the ways in which they educate their clients.
“Education is one of the few things in life that once you have it, it cannot be taken away from you. Every single time a client comes into our offices, we will be educating them. Whether it’s a video, a conversation, employment opportunities, life skills or connecting them with other resources in the community; they won’t be able to get away without having some kind of knowledge imparted on them,” she said. “I see this strategy expanding toward blue-collar careers that will be desperately needed over the next 8 to 10 years. As the last of our baby boomers retire, the marketplace becomes a wide-open space for the “trades” to be capitalized upon. There will be a huge opportunity for people who are interested in becoming skilled laborers and not just working for other people but becoming business owners and employers. I would love for Shepherd’s Staff to be a part of that vision.”
“In today’s environment there is much need and Loganville is no exception. Fortunately, we have Megan. She has her hand on the pulse of the city. Megan knows the less fortunate, she understands their pain and can help,” said former Loganville Mayor Dan Curry. “Whether the need is food, lodging, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, counseling or paying of bills, she seems to have a solution. From the people on the streets, schools, civic organizations or churches she serves as a source to make a way when seemingly there is no way.”
Curry said Herndon was born with a gift, a calling on her life that make life better for so many others. So too, he says, as Kristy Daniel, event and marketing coordinator for the City of Loganville.
“Thank God for them and all they do daily,” Curry said.