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Carolyn Peirce

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Review for Samaritan Ministry Of Greater Washington, Washington, DC, USA

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.

Role:  Board Member & As a caseworker I helped people find employment, housing and low cost medical care, and as a Board member I have helped raise funds to support our program.