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November 30, 2010

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November 30, 2010

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.

The Great!

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.

Ways to make it better...

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.

November 30, 2010

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November 30, 2010

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.

The Great!

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.

Ways to make it better...

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.

November 30, 2010

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November 30, 2010

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.

The Great!

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.

Ways to make it better...

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.

November 29, 2010

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November 29, 2010

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.

The Great!

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.

Ways to make it better...

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

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

November 29, 2010

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November 29, 2010

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.

The Great!

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

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

Ways to make it better...

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.

November 22, 2010

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November 22, 2010

I have been a supporter of SMGW since its inception. I was a member of hte Episcopal Cparish that began this organization. I have followed its work for twenty-five years, and watched it really become focused on its mission, and develop a program "Next Step" that has truly helped thousands, by this time of people who had lamost lost hope. They have reached out to and assisted folks who are now recovering addicts, alcholics, who have been homeless, without work, people living with AIDS, and people who had lost their self-respect and dignity as human beings, and hope of anyone caring about them. This program exists on the money it is able to raise through donations, foundation grants, and govermental grants. Because it is so well run, it has beena ble to increase the number of people that they are able to serve, and to recruit volunteers to help. I am extraordinarily proud to be associated with SMGW. It is highly respected among churches and social agencies in the Washington regional area. I have become a regular donor and I encourage others to do the same. A better invetsment in helping people get their lives back on track and moving forward with hope and belief in themselves, you can't find. The individuals name their "next step" and SMGW works with them to accomplish them, one step at a time. Those in need can buy into things that they have decided upon themselves, rather than having others tell them what their next steps must be. I highly recommend this organization and its Executive Director David Downes. Janice Robinson Board Member and Donor

The Great!

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

I have met individuals whosse lives have been turned around because SMGW was ther to help,and continues to help by caring and staying in touch.

Ways to make it better...

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

I would want to replicate this organization's wholistic approach to helping people in other urban settings.

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Could train as a Front Office Coordinators or a Casework Associate. FOC's manage the front office, greeting people, signing them in for meetings with their caseworkers, answering phones, receiving mail and messages for participants. Excellent people skills are essential to this position because the FOC is the first contact between the participant and Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington. As a Casework Associate, a volunteer can assist participants and Samaritan Ministry in a variety of ways including writing resumes, supervising the computer room, helping participants fill out job applications, sorting clothes in the clothes closet, sorting food in pantry, do general maintenance around the offices.