Shepherd's Gate Cafe at Via Christi Behavioral Health Center

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Cafeteria's new name reflects new focus

As Via Christi Behavioral Health Center staff made plans for the center's 10th anniversary in February, they included a contest to name the cafeteria. When judges chose The Shepherd's Gate Café, they were responding to the sense of mission and ministry that is central to patient care and services offered there -and reflected in many of the entries.

Although the name was entered anonymously, it is based in the Bible verses, "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. ... I am the good shepherd. ... " - John 10:9 & 11.

"I thought it was an excellent name," said Lois Clendening, the center's administrative nursing director. "A gate is a means of access, an invitation to come in. That goes with developing the cafeteria as a place for patients and families to meet and heal together over a meal."

Two staff members work particularly hard to make the Shepherd's Gate Café appealing to patients, families and staff: Carolyn Sykes, cook, and Jesus Segovia, sous chef.  The two both are pleased with their new assignments at Via Christi Behavioral Health Center, seeing them as God-given opportunities to serve.

"We want to welcome visitors to the café, to let them know they can eat with the patients they have come to visit," said Segovia. "We want families to feel close, like a kind of therapy for them to be together." Via Christi Hospital on Harry sends food to the center for Sykes and Segovia to finish and serve for lunch and dinner. Patients, guests and staff members can eat three meals a day in the café.

He credits Sykes' bright, welcoming smile and her ability to communicate with
all customers for improving patrons' enjoyment of eating in the café, and Clendening agrees. "Carolyn has a wonderful way with our patients," she said. "Jesus makes everyone welcome and gives comfort along with the food."   

"I'm excited about the café name and the work that's going on there," Clendening added. "They're bringing new energy into what we're doing, as we move forward."


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