Norma K. Darragh, executive director of Shepherds Inc., will address the Senior Men's Club of New Canaan in Morrill Hall at St. Mark's Church on Friday, June 8, at 10 a.m. She will be accompanied by Timothy J. Stuart, president, and Wedney Morgan, one of Shepherds' inaugural students.

The Shepherds Program is a grassroots, nondenominational nonprofit organization, founded in Fairfield County that provides inner city Connecticut youth who are "at-risk," financially, emotionally or environmentally with a quality college preparatory education in a non-public high school environment.

Founded in 1998 with five students at one pilot school in Bridgeport, the program has changed the lives of more than 220 deserving students from Bridgeport, Danbury, Middletown, New Haven and Stamford, whom guidance counselors fear would fall through the cracks in an inner city public high school.

Shepherds' unique sponsor/mentor relationship has a proven track record. Individual benefactors, foundations and corporations support student tuition.

Each student is paired with a mentor who works one-on-one to fill a void in these young people's lives, providing direction, encouragement and support over the four-year journey.

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To date, 156 students have earned their high school diplomas in areas where dropout rates are as high as 44.6 percent. More than 90 percent of Shepherds students have pursued higher education. The impact is far-reaching, affecting not only the students, but their families and their communities as well.

Wedney Morgan, a young man who grew up in "The Hollow" in Bridgeport, was one of the five inaugural Shepherds students to graduate from Kolbe Cathedral in 2002. Awarded the Maximilian Kolbe Award for leadership and service, Morgan earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont in 2006. He is employed at Kohler Ronan LLC with offices in Danbury and Manhattan, and has returned to his alma mater as a Shepherds mentor.

To learn more about Shepherds, call 203-367-4273, or email, or visit

The Senior Men's Club of New Canaan is open for new members. Applicants are welcome to attend this meeting. Visit for more information or call membership chairman Jerry Transue at 203-966-6050.