Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington

Rating: 5 stars   14 reviews

Issues: Job Training, Human Services, Religion

Location: 1516 Hamilton St NW Washington DC 20011 USA

Mission: Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (SMGW) is a community partnership bringing together homeless people and others in need in Greater Washington (D.C) with support and volunteers from Episcopal and other churches in a joint effort to improve the lives of all. Samaritan Ministry pursues this goal by: Promoting awareness of community needs Fostering partnerships at all levels Breaking down barriers imposed by poverty Developing participants abilities to help themselves to better lives

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've volunteered for almost three years as a member of Samaritan Ministry's Parish Council. In that capacity I attend meetings every other month to find out more Samaritan Ministry's work and how my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal parish I represent can support the organization. Our parish participates every year in a fall Mini Walk, which raises money for Samaritan Ministry's work and helps it qualify for bonus funds from Fannie Mae's Help-the-Homeless Program. In November, we put up a Christmas Giving Tree in the church lobby and collect toys, clothes, gift cards and other presents for the children and adults Samaritan Ministry serves so well. My parish has also hosted two Next Step experiences as part of our ongoing education program. Next Step brings to our church Samaritan Ministry staff, a volunteer and, most important, one of the people whose life has been turned around because of Samaritan ministry. The stories of these folks are remarkable and inspiring. I've heard several over the years and am always moved. I make sure that every article I write for our monthly parish newsletter contains at least one of these stories. I know that other parishioners find them as powerful as I do. They're an important reason we register for the Mini Walk, buy gifts for the people Samaritan Ministry serves and come to the Next Step (Fund Raising) Breakfast every spring. Samaritan Ministry works with people who have nothing. Some of them were born that way. Others lost what they had to addiction, crime, illness or plain old bad luck. Samaritan Ministry is there to help them all. Its program of setting goals and giving people the tools they need to achieve them works. The organization and the people it helps deserve every bit of support we can offer.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

There are many homeless people in suburban Washington, DC, where I live. They stand at crowded intersections, begging for money from people stopped in their cars waiting for the traffic light to turn green. I used to turn away from the homeless. Now, I give them a card that explains Samaritan Ministry's services along with a dollar or two and a power bar. We talk about the program. I look in their eyes. It's a gift.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I'd expand Samaritan Ministry so that it could bring its program to Montgomery County, MD. There's a large and growing population of homeless who could benefit from its services.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer caseworker and a member of the Board for 10 years. Currently serving as Chair of the Development Committee (and former President) of Samaritan Ministry, I was first drawn to the Next Step Program where I saw an opportunity to help individuals in a city where homelessness, poverty, unemployment and unmet medical needs were great. As a caseworker, I’m never sure who I will be seeing, but I do know two things: first - whoever is sitting across from me will be very different from me, and second - that individual will be much the same as me. Different, because of gender, race, age and level of education, access to medical care, family stability, and safety in his neighborhood. How then, might he be the same? Like many, I have family and friends who have confronted alcohol addiction and severe depression, and I have experienced loss through the death of family members and from a job I had enjoyed. Most of our lives have been touched directly or indirectly by these challenges, or variations of them, because we are all human: we suffer, we have ambitions, we have gains and losses, a need for recognition, and a need for compassion. During these meetings with our participants I follow up with steps the participant had set for himself, and ask what steps he plans to take next. He’s likely to be looking for a job, housing, computer mentoring, or low cost medical help - and he may also be looking for a fresh start. There are some who are trying to earn enough money to rent an apartment, who already have part time jobs and need a second job - and are willing to work 12 or 16 hour days. Or those who have jobs and get up at 4 in the morning to make connections for three different busses to arrive at work by 7 am. It is profoundly moving for me during these conversations. Here is a human being in need, and he is describing situations I cannot imagine having to confront. In addition to setting next steps together, sometimes we share stories, sometimes we laugh, and sometimes I wipe away tears. Two human beings have made a connection. At Samaritan Ministry we are all called participants: those who come for help in the Next Step Program as well as staff and volunteers alike. We all participate in the process of transforming lives - the lives of those who walk through our doors and those of us who are there to meet with them.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen many individuals set and achieve goals in the next Step Program, and I see the numbers growing each year. I have seen financial support grow significantly as we find new ways to tell our story.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

FInd more financial support to fully staff all of our offices, and eventually to create a fourth office to reach more people in need in the greater DC area.

Rating: 5 stars  

After having spent much time working as a volunteer with nonprofit groups in Chicago, I sought an opportunity to work with an organization which helped people to become self-sufficient. Because of her previous association, my wife directed me to SamaritanMinistry's Next Step Program. She urged me to volunteer to work in one of the offices in order to "learn what they really do." My wife was right. During this period, I believe that I received more personal benefit (in understanding and appreciating human needs) than benefits that I might have provided to others. As a result of this experience, I ended up participating on the Development Committee of the Board. That led to joining the Board and participation on various other committees and in various other activities.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I saw how helpful it could be to participants to reflect on their own lives in a positive way and to make plans for their future in a hopeful way. The environment at Samaritan Ministry promotes that attitude and helps people to become self-sufficient. I observed the joy in the face of a participant reporting back that he did, indeed, get the job applied for. This experience also demonstrated to me how narrow is the path we follow, how easy it is to "trip", and to need help.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would hope that more funding resources could become available in orcer to expand the services in other geographic areas, such as Maryland. I would also hope that a larger stable funding source might be attained over time.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been moved to support this organization in many ways. Its "Next Step" program is innovative, relies on the initiative of participants in the program and respects the participants' dignity. This organization does so much more than provide food and clothes. It provides links for volunteers to experience the devastating effects of homelessness on people. It allows volunteers to provide lasting help and hear first-hand the impact homelessness can have on real people. It is an effective program that continues to link homeless people needing many things with caring, respectful, dedicated volunteers and staff. Samaritan Ministry's Next Step program is a refreshing approach to helping others.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Serving as a Partner Parish Representative and have served on the Board of this organization. I have also assisted in fund/aware-raising events and hosting an AIDS Retreat.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help insure its long-term stability with urging a stronger endowment.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

Matching grants through Help The Homeless campaign, the Next Step program is a an approach with which I philosophically support.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

I made a five year pledge and the opportunity to provide payment with a 20% add-on was an excellent win-win approach in the Help the Homeless Campaign.

What would you tell others about this organization?

This organization is not just giving out goods and services. It does so with respect, dignity and places the decision with program participants. It works with folks to achieve participants' goals, as long as the participants keeping coming.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Rating: 5 stars  

This review is for the Food and Shelter 2010 campaign. I have been a representative from my parish to Samaritan Minstry for 8 years, and a Board member for 4 years. I am currently President of the Board of Samaritan Ministry. I have seen how its Next Step program builds up a sense of self-worth and empowerment in those who come to Samaritan Ministry for help. The Next Step program gives individual attention to each program participant and helps each determine for themselves what their next steps need to be -- such as getting a GED, obtaining a non-driver id card, finishing their resume, finding permanent housing, and applying on-line for jobs using the computers at Samaritan Ministry. I helped one ex-offender who thought he was barred from practicing his vocation as a medical therapist determine that there was no legal bar, and he just needed to study and retake his boards to restart his career again. The Next Step program not only gives extraordinary one-on-one help to participants, it enables volunteers to give extraordinary one-on-one help, thereby enriching enormously the lives of those who volunteer at Samaritan Ministry.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Enabling me to personally help program participants, and to hear participants deliver their personal stories about how they have been helped by Samaritan Ministry. I have also experienced the increasing support from individuals for this organization, and the increased numbers of parishes and organizations that have been impressed by the results Samaritan Ministry achieves in finding housing, jobs, and rehabilitation services for participants in its Next Step program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Run a capital campaign to pay off its Northwest Office mortgage, and strive to expand its Maryland base of support to open a fourth office in southern Maryland near the D.C. border.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a liason to the Ministry from my parish for about six years,and was Chair of the Development Committee served on the Board for more than three years. These opportunities have given me so much pleasure, and have really changed my life. It is a privilege to work with such committed volunteers as well as with the wonderful staff - all such caring people! Observing with how much respect everyone treats the brave men and women who come to us, determined to change their lives, and how much hope and guidance these participants are given is truly remarkable.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

increased giving & increased donors; in making SMGW a major part of my parish's outreach.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the number of major donors; pay off the mortgage; expand the program.

Rating: 5 stars  

SMGW is a great organization because not only does it provide assistance with social services, there's an emphasis on treating the participants with dignity and respect. I have really enjoyed seeing small changes in participants' attitudes from them feeling like they cant do anything to feeling a greater sense of worth and power over their lives.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

by seeing participants who are getting jobs, getting into substance abuse programs and moving into apts! :-)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

work on changing office locations. The set up of the Arlington office makes it difficult to quickly help participants who are on the computers and monitor their activities.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have served on the Board of Directors and various Board commitees for Samaritan Ministry over the past twelve years and am proud of the record of the ministry to help members of the the diadvantaged community to help themselves better their lives through the Next Step program. The program involves a one-on-one relationship between a participant and a caseworker, and the program participant takes ownershiip of the process by setting measurable goals to achieve a result, such as finding a job, finding housing, recovering from substance abuse, etc.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping people to better their lives and avoid homelessness and substance abuse.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would try to make more people aware of the good work it does in the Washignton D.C. metropolitan area.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked as a volunteer caseworker at Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington for approx. 3 months. What I have come to love most about the organization is its warm & friendly atmosphere. Participants feel welcome every time they come in, a feeling they don't often get when visiting other non-profit or government agencies. I have enjoyed witnessing how participants have opened up over time as they see and feel the continued hopsitality.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing participants come back again and again, excited and often surprised at their personal success in achieving their goals and excited to work with SMGW on setting/achieving their next goals.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find additional funding to 1) increase the number of computers that participants may use and 2) to increase the number of staff members available to work with participants on a one-on-one basis on developing computer skills and completing online applications/forms.

Rating: 5 stars  

Like so many other volunteers for this organization, I was moved to contact SMGW by the enthusiastic example of people I admired at my church. There was an appeal for a volunteer on Fridays who would greet participants, help them feel at ease, and direct them to case-workers who could come to understand their situations of need . I began the following week (this was over ten years ago), and started an association with persons whose life circumstances differed sharply from my own. It was an association I’d long knew I needed, and one, after my wife’s illness, I knew was crucial to revive. When I did return I asked if I could volunteer as a case worker, having received solid training in pastoral counseling. For four years now I meet twice a week with participants, and try to respond to them through an approach that is basic to our whole program: helping participants fulfill their challenges and goals by taking clear and feasible “next steps.” Often their needs involve both food and shelter. We can help in a limited way with food, but also can direct participants to other places and programs where food is available. Shelter is a common need, for so many of our participants are homeless or close to it. Each person has his/her own preferences and fears, and finding a shelter where a participant can feel adequately safe and reasonably comfortable is challenging. Our job is to encourage and support a participant in taking the next step of actually getting to the food bank or the shelter. Sooner or later volunteers face the question of whether their hours a week spent assisting a non-profit organization is enough, or whether financial support is also imperative. I’ve had some success in interesting others to volunteer at SMGW. And becoming a donor seemed to me as natural and necessary as pledging to my church, and on roughly the same scale. Those of us who can, put our resources where our heart leads us. Mine, most wonderfully, has led me to Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Knowing just how our participants have progressed by taking "next steps," and learning from their determination, courage and strength.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to get our mortgage paid off.

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