Cathy Berggren is the Executive Director of the Real Life Center where she started as a volunteer in 1998. Cathy holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is a general and domestic mediator in Georgia and has over 30 years of experience in a variety of community work.
Her background and passion for others have helped develop the Real Life Center’s unique process of holistic care designed to encourage long-term change and broad community involvement. She currently serves on the Leadership Team with Dogwood Church, Fayette and Coweta Chamber of Commerce, and on the boards for FEMA and DFCS.
Cathy is passionate about helping others and encouraging others to live a life of intention and influence.
We are thrilled to have Shannon Echevarria as our Client Coordinator. A Kansas native, Shannon moved to this area in 2013 with her two daughters.
Shannon has a Masters degree in counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Shannon is a member of Dogwood Church and is active in the Worship Team and her Lifegroup. Shannon feels blessed to be a part of the Real Life Center ministry and we feel blessed to have her and her wonderful gift of caring for people. When not working, you can find Shannon spending time with her daughters, riding her Harley, and enjoying spending time with friends and family in Kansas.
Greg serves part-time as the Educational Coordinator overseeing the efforts of investing in and equipping our families with the skills to flourish in the marketplace and in their own personal and spiritual development. Greg has utilized his 30+ years of experience in Human Resources, Facilities and Administration in the corporate arena as his primary ministry. He has now transitioned to serve Christ by helping families who utilize our services at The Real Life Center.
Greg holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in applied and industrial psychology. Greg and his wife relocated to Georgia in 2018 to be closer to their grown children. His wife also serves our community as a healthcare professional. Together, they both enjoy walking, reading and participating in various church outreach programs.
Dana is excited to have joined our team as the Business Director. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Wes, and daughter, Lauren. She also has a married daughter, Lindsay, and a new son-in-law, Josh.
A CPA, Dana holds a degree in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech. Go Jackets! Her professional experience includes both public and private accounting, with the most recent experience being in a church setting. In her spare time, Dana enjoys hanging out with her family, reading, and playing trivia.
Matt serves as Volunteer Coordinator at the Real Life Center. Before joining our team, he served as a Family Pastor at a church where he ministered to children, students, and their families. Matt grew up in Texas, and he then lived in the Nashville, Tennessee area for twelve years before moving to Georgia. Matt and his wife, Amy, have two small children and are devoted Vanderbilt Commodore fans.
Matt holds a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry from Dallas Baptist University.
Development and Special Projects Manager
Jennifer Nolder is excited to have joined the Real Life Center as the Development and Special Projects Manager. Some of her responsibilities include fundraising, donor development, oversight of special programs and development of new special projects. Jennifer has devoted her career to non-profit work and serving others.
Jennifer is married to Dan Nolder and has one biological daughter. Jennifer and Dan serve as foster caregivers in Coweta County having brought over 20 children into their home. In her spare time, Jennifer loves spending time with her family and friends and making memories!
Food Drive Coordinator
Kristen serves part time as the Food Drive Coordinator. Kristen and her husband Quinn and two daughters, Leanna and Gracie, moved here from their home town Greensboro, North Carolina in January 2015. God led them here through a new career opportunity for Quinn in Atlanta.
Kristen’s passion for this ministry began in her childhood when her Grandmother would take her to Greensboro Urban Ministry in Greensboro, NC to help serve meals to people in need in the community. Kristen has enjoyed volunteering to help with food drives in Greensboro numerous times over the years. Kristen feels very blessed to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff and volunteers at the RLC to serve the Lord in this amazing community!
Operations Support/Orchard Coordinator
Steve Thomas serves part-time as Operations Support and Orchard Coordinator. In this capacity, Steve supports the Center and the Orchard.
Steve has been self-employed since 1972, designing and building quality control gauging systems primarily for the food processing and can manufacturing industry. Steve is also an active volunteer with the Orchard. He helped with the planting of the Orchard and has served on the Fig/Pomegranate Team and as Peach Team Lead.
He and his family live in Tyrone and attend Dogwood Church. They have 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Pete serves as our Operations Manager. In that capacity, he is responsible for all logistics, transportation, and warehouse functions at the Real Life Center. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. He is a 20-year veteran of the US Army, retiring out of Fort McPherson in 2007.
Pete and his wife Laurel are natives of the state of New Hampshire. They have two daughters.