Sherry Morris has served as the executive director of Fannin County Family Connection for almost six years now.
She was recently interviewed for the Georgia Family Connection Partnership newsletter where she shared her ‘why.’
"Several years ago, I went through a divorce, lost health insurance, and was putting my life back together when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m a seven-year survivor now! Unable to meet travel and work demands, I lost my job of nearly 30 years. I found myself a single mom, without a support system, without income, and in the throes of situational poverty. When the position opened at FCFC, I knew this was for me. Knowing how difficult everyday life situations can be gives me the strength and desire to do my best to help my struggling neighbors. Thinking of ways our Collaborative can become even more useful keeps me up at night. I wake up each morning with a glad spirit that I have the opportunity to serve. Aside from being a mother to two incredible children, this is the best job ever," concluded Sherry Morris.
We are so honored to have Sherry leading Fannin County Family Connection!
Amanda Hyde has served as the office manager of Fannin County Family Connection for 10 years.
“Mandi is the greatest assistant in the world,” exclaimed FCFC Executive Director Sherry Morris when asked to describe her. “And she is dependable, trustworthy, and known as the ‘keeper of all things’ around here because of her organizational ability.”
Mandi handles accounts payable and payroll, along with donor databases and accounting at Fannin County Family Connection. She assists in all outreach and fundraising activities, as well as preparation for monthly Collaborative and Board Meetings. Mandi is also responsible for procurement of office and community center supplies.
“Helping people through my work at Fannin County Family Connection is incredibly rewarding,” says Mandi. “It really touches my heart when people are so grateful, they are moved to tears.”
Mandi grew up in Avondale Estates in DeKalb County, Georgia. She then moved to Conyers in Rockdale County where she worked as teacher’s assistant for 10 years. Mandi and her husband married in 2003 and moved to Blue Ridge in 2005. She served as an AmeriCorps member through Fannin County Family Connection from 2007-2010 prior to her current role as office manager.
“My most memorable experience is when a family came in that lost everything in a house fire,” said Mandi. “They had young children who needed beds. My son had outgrown his toddler bed, so I was able to give them the bed plus clothing. The family was so grateful, and I was happy I could help.”
Mandi and her husband are the proud parents of one teenage son. And did you know that Mandi is a certified scuba diver? She became certified in a freshwater sinkhole in Florida…one month before going on a scuba diving trip to Cozumel!
We are so grateful to have Mandi on the team at Fannin County Family Connection!
Greg Gelp serves as the Food Pantry Manager at Fannin County Family Connection. But what you might not know is that there was a point in Greg’s life some years after coming home from the war in Baghdad that he found himself homeless, hopeless, and destitute. To Greg’s great fortune, his life was completely changed by the loving kindness of a few strangers.
Greg says that the most rewarding aspect of his work at Fannin County Family Connection is that he regularly finds himself in a position to be that loving and kind stranger for someone else.
“In my opinion, a perfect day in the life here at Fannin County Family Connection is any day where we are afforded the opportunity to go above and beyond our usual functions to truly enact real positive change in the life of someone in need,” says Greg.
“Those perfect days do not exist without the undaunted commitment of our volunteers and staff to whom I owe the deepest gratitude for allowing me to serve alongside them,” he continued. “I often find it hard to believe that I am so fortunate as to make my living in the way that I do here at Fannin County Family Connection. For that, I am truly grateful."
We are so grateful to have Greg on the team at Fannin County Family Connection!
We are excited to have Jacqueline McKee as an intern at Fannin County Family Connection.
Jacqueline was raised in Talking Rock and graduated from Gilmer County High School. She is now a senior at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville campus.
She will graduate this fall with a bachelor’s degree in Human Service Delivery and Administration.
“I began by studying in the field of business,” said Jacqueline, “but realized that was not my passion. I knew I wanted to make positive changes in people’s lives, so I decided to study the human service field.”
Jacqueline says her work in the food service industry helped her find her love for working with people. That experience also helped to expand her communication skills with diverse populations of people.
Jacqueline began her internship at Fannin County Family Connection in January.
“This is my first internship,” said Jacqueline. “Since I have been here, my experiences and education in this field have grown exponentially. Family Connection has granted me opportunities to attend trainings, collaborative meetings, and work with clients and wonderful volunteers.”
When asked about her favorite part of the internship, she says it is the positive attitude that everyone has.
“You can really tell that everyone has a lot of motivation to help the community and make a difference,” Jacqueline said. “My supervisor, Sherry Morris, has been excellent in helping me achieve all my goals for this semester.”
Jacqueline says her experience at Fannin County Family Connection has opened her eyes to the possibility of working with a non-profit organization in the future.
“Working with Sherry has made me think about my future when I graduate from college,” said Jacqueline. “After I earn my bachelor’s degree, I am considering going back to school to receive a master’s degree in non-profit administrative work. It is a possibility that I may have a future working in non-profit organizations, and I can always thank Fannin County Family Connection for helping me find my passion for this field.”
When Jacqueline is not focusing on school and work, one of her favorite hobbies is enjoying the outdoors with her animals by either hiking or being out on the water.
And did you know that Jacqueline has earned her second-degree black belt??? She trained at Ben Kiker’s United Karate Studios in martial arts for 12 years.
“Martial arts had a major impact on helping me grow into the person I am today,” said Jacqueline. “I am thankful for the guidance that my martial arts teacher Ben Kiker gave me throughout my childhood.”
“I have made plenty of beautiful memories throughout my life up to this point,” Jacqueline said in closing, “and I am looking forward to the experiences to come. My time spent at Fannin County Family Connection has helped me gain a new appreciation towards life, and I am thankful for the opportunity to intern here!”
We thank you, Jacqueline, for your service to Fannin County Family Connection! We are grateful to have you on our team.
We are excited to have Shane Stepp, Jr. as an intern at Fannin County Family Connection.
Shane was raised in Epworth, Georgia, and is now a senior at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville campus.
He will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.
When he is not in the classroom, Shane is a musician in a five-piece jam band called, ‘The Varden.’ The band’s first ever gig was at Mystic Mountain Pizza where he works as a server.
“We are looking forward to recording our first-ever E.P. next month, so be on the lookout for that,” said Shane.
Upon graduation, Shane plans on working as an electrician’s apprentice while he evaluates his options in the public relations industry.
“Trade work is very valuable to learn, especially in today's climate, as manual labor is in very high demand at the moment,” said Shane. “My Papaw and other family members have been electricians most of their lives and they have inspired me to take on this role. I’m also fascinated by the way electricity is created and even if I decide not to become a licensed electrician, I would still like to learn about the field.”
As Shane looks toward the future, he also reflects on his internship experience at Fannin County Family Connection.
“Working for the Family Connection organization has been one of the most wholesome and impactful experiences I've had in my life,” said Shane. “The staff, volunteers, and clients are the kindest people you will ever meet. Sherry, Mandy, and Greg are driven to make sure our community is taken care of, and the volunteers that work here make sure that is possible. Everyone involved with our Family Connection organization has been amazing and I will definitely be back to help out after my internship is complete. It has been a pleasure of mine to work with them in helping the community. I consider them to be extended family.”
“Overall, I am looking forward to graduating and seeing what life has to offer,” concluded Shane. “I know it's not going to be easy, but I am optimistic about my future. It is going to be filled with a lot of good memories!”
Thank you, Shane, for your service to Fannin County Family Connection! We are grateful to have you on our team.