Who are the Sheppards?
Mark Sheppard is one of the founders of Educated Angels non-profit organization. He has been married to his wife, Sibyl, for 30 years and together they have raised four amazing children. Upon retiring from 26 years active duty with the US Army he entered the field of education. He holds a degree in Finance, is alternatively certified as an educator, has a Master’s degree in Education and has obtained his Principal’s certification. Mark believes that education is a catalyst to achievement.
Sibyl Sheppard is also one of the founders of Educated Angels. Being married to Mark for 30 years and raising four successful children gives her great pride. She began her career path as an accountant but once she married Mark and began the military lifestyle, which she grew up within, she quickly realized that the mobility did not match the field. She explored other options before realizing that education was the perfect fit for her. Loving children and being a part of their success for the past 25 years has been a very humbling and rewarding experience.
Together, they have a desire to help children and make their community not only stronger, but a better place to live. Little did they envision being able to accomplish their current works when they started out 7 years ago before forming the non-profit. What started as s simple desire to hold summer camps for children with the intent to merge fun and education during the months to minimize children losing essential knowledge during the break, has turned into awarding multiple scholarships, assisting the homeless children of their community and supporting Special Needs children. The first 4 scholarships awarded came directly out of their pockets but the need to continue to give outweighed the sacrifice. With the vision of their partner, Tina Capito, they began to grow and become known throughout the community.
What kind of nonprofit work do you both do?
Community Service ~ Scholarships for students wanting to become an educator. Included with this scholarship is a summer Internship where the recipients get the opportunity to teach during summer camps. We hold an annual Make it Work Gala to honor these students. This Gala is supported and attended by more than 300 community members and leaders each April. Scholarships for students who participate in the local district bowling clubs. These scholarships are in honor of their son, C Zachary Sheppard, who had Down’s Syndrome. Even though he had a intellectual disability, he did not allow that to keep him from trying out for and making the Harker Heights HSVarsity Bowling Club. He was part of the one of the teams that made it to State Competition. C Zach also bowled weekly on a bowling league with the local bowling alley. We host an annual bowling tournament to support these scholarships.
Assisting the Homeless Awareness Response Program (HARP) for Killeen ISD. There have been as many as 1300 homeless students within our school district; the number fluctuates yearly. We hold an annual Back to School Bash to raise not only awareness but also to collect backpacks and school supplies for these students. In addition, we have partnered with LULAC Herencia Council #4297 to provide Senior portraits thanks to the donation of time and resources from several local photographers, spearheaded by Coach Henderson Sports Photography. We collect and offer prom dresses for the young ladies. We alsoprovide Senior “Next Step” Baskets with the donations from Blessed Properties, Helping the Hands that Feed the Homeless and many other individuals. Scholarship awarded through KISD Education Foundation to a student that has volunteered time working with the special needs community. This scholarship is also in honor of C Zachary Sheppard who passed away January 24, 2016. We have scholarships awarded in conjunction with Central Texas College, KZFrazier Drama Company and Greater Central Texas Federal Credit Union. With our C Zachary Memorial Foundation, we also assist the KISD Special Olympics Teams and the Harker Heights SUPER HEROES program which is an adaptive sports program designed specifically for children and young adults with special needs.
When did you both start your nonprofit work?
After giving back to the community for a couple of years, we realized that we could expand and give even more through a non-profit. We officially began our work through Educated Angels June 2016 with the support of 13 community members, who were our friends in various fields, who shared our vision and continue to serve on our board.
Where do you both serve with your nonprofit work?
Mark is a Vice President in the organization. Sibyl serves as the Secretary. They are both involved in all facets both taking the lead and lending a hand with each activity or event.
Why did you both choose to serve the community?
Giving seems to come naturally; especially given the line of work we both come from and are currently in. While Mark served our country for 26 years, Sibyl served as the President Spousal Unit who kept the home front strong during his demanding job and through 5 deployments. However, they are both products of retired military fathers; Mark’s father serving 24 years in the US Army and Sibyl’s serving 30 in the US Air Force. Both grew up accustomed to service. It continues to be an honor to serve the children, homeless and special needs sectors of our community.