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Our Mission & History

Our programs promote healthier aging by:


-Creating Opportunities for Purposeful Living

-Increasing Social Connections and Activity

-Reducing Isolation and Loneliness

-Reducing Food Insecurity

Celebrating and Serving
older adults 

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Our mission is to support, celebrate and empower older adults, fostering independence and connection.

KC Shepherd’s Center is the original Shepherd’s Center, founded in 1972 by Dr. Elbert Cole, serving as the model for now 56 Shepherd’s Centers across the country.  Dr. Cole, then Pastor at Central United Methodist Church looked around his congregation at those nearing retirement and realized these vibrant, talented people 

had decades of life left, and had much to offer and receive both from each other and the community. He convened a group of 25 faith leaders around Kansas City, and Shepherd’s Center was born.

For nearly 50 years, KC Shepherd’s Center has offered a unique peer led platform of services aimed at helping senior Kansas Citians stay active and involved, get the care they need, remain independent as long as possible in their own homes, and age well in place. Our model is ‘of seniors, by seniors, for seniors’, reflected in our senior volunteers, our governance structures and our programs.  


Dr. Cole received immediate national attention for the revolutionary peer led initiative, and within two years, communities from around the country were asking how to create similar programs in their own areas.  He then founded Shepherd’s Center of America, still headquartered in Kansas City.


Our programs and services are dedicated to reducing the devastating impact on seniors' physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing of social isolation. 

Join us on this documented journey as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Kansas City Shepherd’s Center. The revered founder of the Shepherd’s Center, Dr. Elbert C. Cole, created a legacy of ministry by, for, and with older adults that remains with us today. This book documents the 50-year history and offers a deeper look into the future leadership qualities and models needed to reach older generations for decades to come.

The Shepherd’s Center, “a proven experiment,” provides evidence of the impact on quality of life for older adults when we meet and exceed their vital personal, social, and spiritual needs. Through this book, we celebrate the commitment to lifelong learning, compassionate care, and volunteer service opportunities demonstrated through the years at Kansas City Shepherd’s Center. We remember, recognize, and realize lessons learned from the past and present that propel us into the future!

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by Dr. Rusty Ryan (Author), Rev. Clayton Smith (Author), 

Dr. Elbert Cole (Author), Tom Akins (Author), 

Kathy Bock Scaletty (Author), Kay Wallick (Author), 

Janet Carlson Baker (Author), Sarah Cheney (Author), 

Carolyn Cole Williams (Author)

A Proven Experiment:
The Shepherd's Center Story

Call 816-444-1121 to order your very own copy

9200 Ward Parkway, Suite 200

Kansas City, MO 64114

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Our Mission is to support, celebrate and empower older adults, fostering independence and connection.

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