Chartered in 1983 as a fundraising and support organization for shepherd center, the junior committee plans year-round for derby day.
The Junior Committee is a group of approximately 200 Atlanta young professionals dedicated to raising money and awareness for Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s premiere catastrophic care hospitals. Shepherd Center primarily treats patients with spinal injuries, acquired brain injuries, and diseases of the nervous system. Junior Committee members join to help raise money for the Center, have fun, and meet other young professionals interested in giving back to their community.
Hosted by Shepherd Center's Junior Committee, Derby Day raises funds to support Recreation Therapy Program for patients with catastrophic injuries and neurological diseases, as well as programs for people with disabilities in the community. Over the past 35 years, the Junior Committee has donated nearly $4.6 million to Shepherd Center’s Recreation Therapy Program as a result of its fundraising efforts through Derby Day. The Junior Committee is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities by enabling Shepherd Center to offer one of the most dynamic and comprehensive TR programs in the country, including athletics teams, outdoor activities, cultural arts, social gatherings (such as helping patients learn to attend movies and major sporting events). The Committee’s work is doubly important because most activities are not covered by patients’ insurance policies.
We will open membership for the 2017 - 2018 year on September 1, 2017.
Derby Day is only successful because of the time given and hard work of all Junior Committee members. All members are asked to fulfill the requirements listed below. Please look them over and email any questions to Leslie Jackson, Special Events Manager at Shepherd Center Foundation.
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Why Shepherd Center?: One of the many reasons that I am so proud to be involved with Shepherd Center is their dedication to the long-term health and happiness of their brain and spinal cord injury patients. We all deserve to be able to suck all the marrow out of life and Shepherd is working tirelessly to make that possible for their patients post-trauma through therapeutic recreation, patient outings, chaplaincy, extensive family housing training, assistive technology, back-to-school programs and peer support. It is breathtakingly hard, incredibly important work and I'm honored to be involved.
Hometown: Watkinsville, GA
Why Shepherd Center?: The people - there are so many wonderful people involved with the Shepherd Center. The volunteers, hospital support staff, and especially the current and former patients. Hearing former patients' stories about the impact of Recreation Therapy on their lives and the lives of those around them is incredibly powerful. As part of Junior Committee, the money we raise through Derby Day and other charity events helps to fund Rec Therapy, which can immensely improve the quality of life of Shepherd patients and their families. Our ability to have such a major effect on the lives of patients is why Junior Committee is so special and important to me.
Hometown: Annapolis, MD
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: Having done a long term clinical affiliation at Shepherd Center, this organization is close to my heart. I worked on the spinal cord injury unit for months and worked very closely with recreational therapists. As a Physical Therapist, being part of an organization that gives back to patients in assisting them through their adjustment to their new normal, holds true meaning to me. I work with patients with neurological deficits daily and have been there first hand working with the patients at Shepherd to make their lives better one step at a time while witnessing the struggles they have to go through. This recreational therapy program is one of a kind and allows patients to have experiences that they may have thought were no longer possible and/or allowing the opportunity to return to a hobby they have always enjoyed. I have learned that every little bit helps and I am so honored to have the opportunity to contribute!
Hometown: Mobile, AL
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: I had been looking for a way to get more involved in the Atlanta community, when I was introduced to Shepherd Center Junior Committee by a couple of friends that were members. After attending a couple of events, meeting several people that were involved, and learning more about Recreation Therapy; I decided to join. Three years later and I could not be more happy with making the decision to join. I have been able to meet some exceptional people (many of whom I am close friends with now), attend countless incredible events, all while raising funds for an Atlanta based not-for-profit hospital that is making a difference in people's lives from all over the nation.
Hometown: Sandy Springs, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: As a speech-language pathologist, I'm very passionate about the population Shepherd Center serves. I interned at Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd's outpatient rehabilitation center, and had the opportunity to treat patients alongside recreation therapists. These therapists play such an essential role in helping patients recover and find enjoyment in life moving forward. I wanted to do my part to help see that their therapy continues.
Hometown: Savannah, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: One of my best friends, Nikki Busch (Exec Board - Membership), asked me to join Junior Committee with her last year. She is a Physical Therapist and said she knew I enjoyed giving back. to the community. What she didn't know at the time is that Occupational, Recreational, and Physical Therapy are close to my heart. I was a member of Junior League of Atlanta from 2010 - 2013, where you're tasked with committing 50 hours of volunteer service per year at a charity of your choice. I chose Chastain Horse Park, where I spent 100 hours over a 2 year period volunteering with children in an effort to rehabilitate them through the use of Hippotherapy, an Occupational Therapy method. My sister is also a Physical Therapist and I enjoy hearing the stories of how she helps her patients on a daily basis. I am a very active person, which I've come to understand as being a common past for many of the patients at Shepherd Center. I can't imagine going through an accident and being limited in how I live my day-to-day life. I truly am eager to learn more about the work that the Shepherd Center does to get the patients back to their new normal, giving them the opportunity to be active again, and have that outlet to make their lives a full and happy one.
Hometown: Sandy Springs, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: I am honored to have this opportunity to support the Shepherd Center by volunteering with the Junior Committee. The Shepherd family set out to fill a void in Atlanta’s healthcare system in an era when rehabilitation and accessibility were not a priority, or even a real consideration, for many in the Atlanta community. Through their hard work and determination the Shepherd Family has been able to change not only the face of spinal-cord rehabilitation but have also shaped the way we do business here in Atlanta. Mrs. Shepherd’s advocacy for accessibility brought the Paralympic Games to Atlanta twenty years ago and changed the way Atlanta and the world plan for accessibility. Shepherd is overflowing with great Atlantans, those native and those who have traveled here from across the globe, who have come together beneath the Shepherd banner to change the world. It is a great privilege to be able to contribute to Shepherd’s continued success and growth by serving on the Junior Committee.
Hometown: Columbus, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: Aside from throwing the biggest and best derby party in Atlanta, the SCJC has introduced me to an amazing group of young professionals that are working together to donate their time and money to help support such an inspirational program (Rec Therapy) that the Shepherd Center runs. By working hard and playing hard throughout the year the Junior Committee's fundraising efforts helps thousands of patients and their families on their journey to a new normal.
Hometown: Cartersville, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee: I originally joined SCJC as a way to meet new people around Atlanta, but found that once you get involved, it can be so much more than that. When you are able to see first hand where the money you fundraise goes, it can be an extremely eye opening experience. Hanging out and getting to meet a few of the patients at Shepherd can give you a new perspective on life and you realize there is so much everyone can do to help!
Hometown: Franklin, TN
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: Getting involved with SCJC has been an eye-opening experience, enjoyed with like-minded young professionals from all backgrounds. SCJC is different from other organizations because you witness the impact you make first-hand, from monthly meetings at the hospital, testimonies from current and former patients, to watching wheelchair rugby practices (just to name a few). Shepherd Centers' presence is world-wide and, knowing that, at some point, a family member, friend, or colleague may be impacted by the hospital, helps drive my ambition to stay involved and to try and make a difference. The organization is not all work and no play, there are monthly social events for members to interact/meet one another and the year is capped off by throwing Atlanta's LARGEST Kentucky Derby party, now who wouldn't want to partake in that?!
Hometown: Roswell, GA
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: Once you hear the story behind Shepherd Center it makes it pretty easy to get behind the mission of Junior Committee. The hospital staff here truly works to make a positive difference in the patients’ lives and in turn that carries over to Junior Committee’ drive. On top of that, Derby Day at Chastain Horse Park is something you can’t miss.
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Why Shepherd Center Junior Committee?: I originally joined to meet people and also because who wouldn’t want to “party for a purpose”? However, once I began to learn more about this amazing community, I realized the average patient at Shepherd is young, like myself or any of my friends and colleagues. I think it’s so important to raise awareness of the amazing things going on at Shepherd and how Rec Therapy helps patients everyday get back to their new normal. Plus, the party we put on in May every year is one you cannot miss.