Meet Sean Sheppard

There was a point in time in Sean Sheppard's life when he literally thought leaving the house was the worst part of his day.  "I was in an extremely negative place in my life," says Sean, "I spent most of my time focusing on what I didn't have and those thoughts made me a very surly person that didn't want to be around 99% of the people I came across."  

Today, Sheppard and his nonprofit organization, Embrace, have received awards and formal recognition from elected officials throughout the state of California for HIS WORK serving civilians and veterans in need, and more importantly, leading young people to become active in serving their community. He spends a majority of his time in the public eye leading, speaking, serving, loving, laughing and is surrounded by young adults in college who follow his leadership.  What brought about the 180 degree shift?  As Sean bluntly puts it, "God changed my heart."

As an only child who was accustomed to focusing on himself and his own needs, Sean spent his high school (Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, NJ Class of 1986), college (Georgetown University, Class of 1990) and graduate school years (San Diego State University, Class of 1995) focusing on 3 things: Me, myself and I.  "Drinking, lying and womanizing won't make your parents proud, but that's exactly what my friends and I were doing - as much as possible," admitted Sean.  "I smoked pot, sold pot and partied - pretty 'normal' stuff, really.  Most people, myself included, thought I was a pretty good person compared to a lot of other people.  Problem is, my definition and most people's of a good person, and God's definition, are light years apart."  A Good Shepherd?  Hardly.

While Sean was busy living his life for himself, yet not feeling very good about himself or his life, the economy took a turn for the worse.  WHERE he once complained about what he didn't have, now he literally had even less.  With his own bank account containing next to nothing, his Ohio home going into foreclosure and people around him losing their jobs left and right, Sean really was running out of money-making options.  So what did he do?  "I began helping the homeless at the Salvation Army.  Some how, God put it on my heart to drum up enough energy to start helping people who were worse off than me,"  said Sheppard.  "As I started donating my time, money started to appear - not a lot, but enough to allow me to start buying fruit and water to give to people out in the street.  At that point, that was the only thing I felt positive about in my life - I couldn't do it enough."

Broke, but giving to others.  Go figure.  "I've come to learn that's exactly how God works," says Sean.

The economic downturn had changed the face of homelessness in that many "regular, everyday people" were now living in the street.  It also caused many nonprofit organizations to close their doors for good.  Embrace (, Sean's brainchild, had about $200 to its name when he began serving the homeless on his own time.  He decided, through advice from an advesary of all people, to make homeless outreach a service that Embrace offered to the San Diego community.  States Sheppard, "Since bringing people from diverse walks of life together to serve those in need is our mission, making homeless outreach an Embrace program made sense to me.  I knew I could serve more people in need if I could get other people to join me.  What's unfolded over the last 3 years has been, in a word, amazing."

What has unfolded is Sean and thousands of Embrace college student volunteers providing hundreds of thousands of community service hours not just to the homeless population, but to low income children and low income and disabled veterans as well.  He has created, with the help of a core group of college student volunteers, several Embrace programs that have received formal awards from elected officials and veteran groups for the impact they've made on less fortunate members of the community.   He and his organization have made national news on several occasions because their work caught the eye of celebrities and sports figures alike.  Funding has come from unlikely sources including those that denied his requests in the past.  Sean was recently invited to The View co-host Sherri Shepherd's wedding to speak during the reception to inform her guests about how he serves the community through Embrace (  

Although he wasn't comfortable with it, "The Good Sheppard," a moniker that sprung up during his coaching days at The Ohio State University (Director of Strength and Conditioning, Olympic Sports, 1997-2000), resurfaced.

All of this unfolded from giving?  "It would appear so," says Sean.  "When my focus went from 'me' to 'we', life as I knew it became a distant memory.  When my definition of a good person became more in line with God's definition, miracles started happening.  It doesn't mean me or my life are perfect.  There's no such thing as perfection - but my life purpose was revealed: to help people in need and lead others to help people in need."

What's next on his giving agenda?  Leading celebrities to give more of their time and money to help people in need.  Why celebrities?  "Because their influence on all class levels of society is immeasurable, and, many of them will wind up discovering what's missing in their lives just like I did," states Sheppard, "So I guess I want to help them too." 

"We're all born with the ability to be a 'Good Shepherd' but far too often we keep ourselves from becoming that truly good person.  If I can help provide a spark that leads to someone becoming a giver and a helper for the rest of their life,  I mean, what more could you ask for?  When people see me, they know me for two things: giving, and leading other people to give.  That's a good thing to me."

And the Good Sheppard moniker?  "I'm comfortable with it - now that my definition of 'good' is in line with God's," says Sean. 

"My last name is Sheppard...I've grown to understand that probably wasn't a mistake.  I'm rolling with it."
























Hoya for Life
Aztec for Life
Class of 1990
Class of 1995


2011 © Sean Sheppard | Created by: Cammille Santos |