Home » Dear Editor »Opinion » Currently Reading:

The Unloved

January 23, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Dear Editor, Opinion No Comments

By Mark Gunderman

Last year 62 children were provided an unconditional love in the GSA shelters. A total of 118 people lived in our shelters receiving 8,216 bed-nights and 20,540 meals in 2010. However 937 folks were turned away due to a lack of bed space. Over 1,400 near homeless families were assisted through GSA Outreach and Resources and Referrals programs.

There is an award winning homeless animal shelter in Waterford, Virginia. It is located on a beautifully landscaped 13 acre parcel of land not far from an historic village. The 13,000 square foot facility includes a state of the art heating and air-conditioning system, a clinic for dogs and cats and animal visitation rooms. The paid staff and volunteers are conscientious and well trained. The homeless animals are kept in comfort, provided human love and treated with dignity.

There is an award winning homeless human shelter in North Leesburg for women and children. We call the 10 acre property Hebron (place of refuge). The Good Shepherd Alliance (GSA) is determined to provide unconditional love to these people in their time of greatest need. When an individual or family comes to the GSA seeking shelter at our Women and Children’s shelter, they are required to enter the Six Steps to Self-Sufficiency Program. We believe it is essential to provide them opportunity to plan for a long-term solution; not just shelter for a specific period of time.

Some homeless people go through life never having been loved. They grow up in an environment being abused, neglected or even abandoned during childhood. They were unloved from birth. I call these people the unloved. As adults, they find themselves living in dysfunctional families or dysfunctional relationships. They frequently lose their jobs and apartments, friends and families and find themselves living out in the streets or in cars or vans or tents. People without shelter fall prey to parasites, frostbite, infection, hopelessness and violence.

Hebron House

Leesburg's Hebron House. Photo is courtesy of Vickie Koth.

Tucked away deep in the Loudoun Woods, Hebron House is shelter for single women and single mothers with children. The GSA operates this 22 bed emergency shelter named after a city in the Bible meaning “place of refuge.” Residents immediately enter into our Six Steps to Self-Sufficiency intensive case management program. The program is geared to helping families in crisis get back to work and find a permanent residence. Guests may stay up to 89-days in the emergency shelter.

The GSA Mission Statement is as follows:

The Good Shepherd Alliance, Inc. exists to provide women, children, and families in crisis with emergency shelter, food, clothing, children’s programs, and counseling and transitional housing for pregnant women so as to empower them to become self-sufficient in the shortest-possible time.

It is founded upon the faith that there is but one Creator and sustaining God who manifests Himself in three personal revelations as our loving Father as Jesus Christ the Son and as the Holy Spirit.

We believe that our loving God calls us to love Him and others unconditionally.

We believe in the proclamation of God’s love through acts of mercy and justice to the poor. We believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word of loving the world through acts of salvation, mercy and justice.

We believe that just as God used ordinary people in the Bible to accomplish His mission of love so God uses ordinary people today to accomplish His mission of love by proclaiming the Good News of salvation through acts of mercy and justice for those whom society finds hard to love.

We believe that it takes a unified effort on the part of all God’s people for His love to be given to and seen in a broken and needy world.

GSA has developed critical programming to meet the needs of homeless people. Our Six Steps Stage Development Model assesses the needs of homeless people and attempts to engage them in accessing support services such as shelter, clothes, and food, financial and medical aid. The children of homeless parents are assisted in registering in nearby public schools.

Homelessness can have detrimental effects on children’s cognitive, emotional, physical and psychological development. Risk factors facing homeless children include poverty, family problems, parental loss, violence and drug use. Children may experience the loss of family members, friends and familiar neighborhoods; disruptions in school attendance; and exposure to strangers and threatening situations. All of these stressors increase a child’s risk for physical and mental health impairment.

Goals for the parents include understanding the basic development needs of children and how homelessness impacts those needs, learning techniques and strategies to meet their children’s needs, and developing the self-confidence and competence to make wise family decisions.

Goals for the children include providing a secure, nurturing place where children can express their emotions, providing opportunities for regaining self-worth and a sense of accomplishment, and developing strategies for children to communicate their needs to the adults in their lives.

The staff and volunteers of GSA believe in the power of selfless service, providing the homeless with an unconditional love. This love includes commitment and compassion to service the sick, abused, hurt, unloved and powerless. Unconditional love that flows freely is the simplest and purest of all acts.

We are a community of plenty.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

This year, the Good Shepherd Alliance asks every man, women and school child living in Northern Virginia to please be conscious of the poor that live among us. Be men and women of courage. Be strong in faith. Above all things do everything in love and please, once a month, once a week or even once a day, be a Good Samaritan!

If you are interested in learning more about the range and depth of the GSA mission, please call our Ashburn office at 703-724-1555 or email at administration@loudounhomeless.org or visit our web site at www.goodshepherdalliance.org.

If anyone is interested in publishing a faith article on this web column, please contact Mark Gunderman at gunderman2001@aol.com.

Comment on this article

By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.








The Holocene Climate


(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions


Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio


I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power


“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)


March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017


March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Constitutionally protected speech is exactly what it sounds like, protected. We all have the legal right to utter nonsensical and...
  • Martha on Protecting Free Speech: Free speech is not a cherished right at the not-quite accredited Patrick Henry College, a religious school that Del. LaRock...
  • Martha Polkey on First Look at Envision Loudoun Results: It remains to be seen whether the direction citizens have provided to the Envision process is actually incorporated into the...
  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Mr. LaRock, I assume that the only reason you weren’t at every School Board meeting in 2005 passionately defending the...
  • LongTimePville on Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10: I bet Kelli Grim flip flops on her conflicts of interest and transparency campaign she ran on and does not...

Steady and NoBull


Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

(Be the first to comment)

Keep Loudoun Beautiful—Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed

16 Mar 2017

Lovettsville Boat Launch 7-26-09

The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday-Friday. This is a great group or individual activity that can be scheduled around your availability. E-mail Lovettsville Area Leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to …

(Be the first to comment)

National Awkward Moments Day

8 Mar 2017


?Laughing at Yourself Is the Best Medicine No one knows who invented National Awkward Moments Day, Saturday, March 18. That’s no surprise, since it probably came about as the result of one stunningly awkward moment that the owner of that moment was hoping to forget. We surveyed our readers and friends to ask them about their most awkward moments, sharing …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Protecting Free Speech


By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …


Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

(Be the first to comment)

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

(Be the first to comment)


Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017


The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

(Be the first to comment)

WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017


The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

(Be the first to comment)


  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009