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Spring, a Time for New Beginnings

Today is officially the start of Spring, whether or not the temperatures are an accurate indicator. It definitely is a time of re-birth and new beginnings. It was springtime 40 years ago that Monica Dickens founded the first Samaritans branch in the United States in Boston. Beginning in the basement of the Arlington Street Church with one phone and 22 volunteers, 40 years later we find ourselves continuing to befriend those courageous enough to reach out for help. We still rely on the same principles Dickens brought to the US 40 years ago, and we think she would be proud to see how we have since expanded our services over the past 40 years. Our services now include prevention programs where workshops and trainings are provided to schools and other non-profit organizations desiring more information about risk factors, warning signs, and how to help those at risk of suicide. After the loss of a loved one to suicide, today we have support groups meeting in seven different locations and we schedule home visits throughout the commonwealth, befriending those who need a SafePlace to grieve and heal. At the heart of our services remains our availability 24/7 through phone calls, online chats and texts to connect with those struggling with feelings of isolation, despair and suicide. Whatever the reason people reach out, they know they are not alone when connected with Samaritans. 


We provide all of these services without charge, depending on the generosity of the communities we serve to value these services and assist us each year in their offering. We hope you are able to join us as our guests when we celebrate 40 years of compassion at our Breakfast for Hope on May 14th. We are so pleased that both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Hill Holliday Chairman & CEO Karen Kaplan have agreed to be honorary chairs of this year's milestone event.




For more information on attending, sponsoring the event, or to RSVP click here - or to make a donation in celebration of Samaritans' 40 years of service, click here

Comfort Zone Camp
On Saturday, March 8, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Samaritans
partnered   with Comfort Zone Camp to provide a one day camp for young survivors of suicide to be among peers and talk about their loss. At the start of the day, campers were understandably guarded. The warm and welcoming environment provided by Comfort Zone Camp staff and volunteers allowed campers to connect and support one another during this difficult time. The transformation that occurred over the course of the day was truly indescribable. The day also gave parents the opportunity to come together, share their feelings, and find comfort in one another. Both through feeling understood and gaining new perspectives, parents walked away feeling more connected and hopeful. We're grateful to the Department of Public Health and Comfort Zone Camp for partnering with us to provide this rare opportunity for youth survivors to find hope and healing.
Samaritans in the News
Roberta on Fox Boston
Last Wednesday, Samaritans' Executive Director Roberta Hurtig sat down with Fox 25 correspondent Sara Underwood and Harvard Professor of Psychology Dr. Matthew Nock to discuss the important issue of military suicides. Dr. Nock, whose important work on suicide and self-injury behavior is further explained here, explains that he is interested in studying the at-risk populations because "If we can understand the behavior and develop better ways of detecting it and assessing it and preventing it and treating it, we can help people all over the world."
Samaritans' Poster
In celebration of Samaritans' 40 years of service, our friends over at Cole Creative created this poster, featuring the Samaritans Statewide Helpline number and how to contact Samaritans for services. We are now in the process of distributing the poster to service providers, schools, and other organizations in our service area who work with people who would benefit from the services we offer. In reintroducing our organization, we are making sure those who could benefit from our services are aware that there is always a compassionate befriender just a phone call away. If you would like to receive a poster for your service organization, school or business that you would like to make sure receives the poster, please send us your contact information, we'll send one your way.
2014 Marathon Team Updates
We could not be more excited about the 24 dedicated people running in the 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21st for suicide prevention! Each month through April, we will be introducing you to a few of the members of our outstanding team.
  • Katy Erker first became involved with Samaritans when she ran the 5K in 2011. Last year, she became a survivor after losing two family members to suicide and will be running her first Boston Marathon in their memory. Up until recently, Katy was an alternate runner for the team, but thanks to the John Hancock Boston Marathon Nonprofit, Samaritans received one more bib number last month and we were thrilled to be able to give it to Katy. To learn more about Katy, visit her crowdrise page.   
  • Marc Bellanger nearly reached the finish line as a member of Samaritans' 2013 Marathon Team, and is once again running in memory of his father, Alain. Marc first became involved with Samaritans through the 5K in 2004, and has been a member of Samaritans' Board since 2005. To learn more about Marc, visit his crowdrise page.  
  • Carrie Asselin is running her first marathon in memory of her brother, Nathaniel. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Carrie first became involved with Samaritans through Grief Support Services when she moved to Boston. To learn more about Carrie, visit her crowdrise page.  
  • Meghan Shanahan managed to reach 25.7 miles as a member of last year's marathon team, and has decided to once again join us in running the distance for suicide prevention. As a former helpline volunteer, Meghan has been involved with Samaritans since 2009. Meghan is also the only member of this year's marathon team to participate in the B.A.A. medley this year - the B.A.A. 5K, 10K and half marathon - in addition to running the 2014 Boston Marathon. To learn more about Meghan, visit her crowdrise page.    
  • Dick Jardine qualified for the Boston Marathon independently and reached out to Samaritans about making his 40th Marathon run, and 7th Boston Marathon run, more meaningful by running the distance for suicide prevention. As a veteran and father of a helpline volunteer, Dick hopes to bring more attention to this important issue. To learn more about Dick, visit his crowdrise page. If you or someone you know has qualified for the Boston Marathon and would like to make your run more more meaningful, contact us about joining Samaritans' Marathon Team as Dick did. 
  • Nicole Costa was the first person to run the distance for suicide prevention in the 2008 Boston Marathon, and is once again running in memory of her cousin, Christian. As the captain of last year's biggest 5K team, SafePlace facilitator, and Samaritans' Board Member, Nicole has raised over $125,000 for Samaritans over the years. To learn more about Nicole, visit her crowdrise page

To read about the whole team, head over to the marathon section of our website, and to check on the team's fundraising progress towards their collective goal of $150,000 towards our life-saving services, visit the team's crowdrise page. If you are participating in another physical challenge and would like to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention at the same time, contact us about joining Samaritans' Running Community.  

Out and About: Community Outreach and Education
In February, Community Education and Outreach Program Manager Kelley Cunningham, along with Commonwealth Corps member Lynda Wallack, met with almost 2,000 people for seminars at:
  • Community Resources for Justice (Dorcester)
  • Massachusetts Communication Supervisors Association (Norwood)
  • Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association (Wellesley)
  • Galvin Middle School (Wakefield)
  • John D. Runkle School (Brookline)
  • Newton North High School (Newton)
  • Swampscott High School (Swampscott)
  • Newton South High School (Newton)
  • Cambridge College (Cambridge)
  • Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (Boston) 
If you would like our Community Outreach and Education team to speak at your school or event, contact Kelley Cunningham .
Upcoming Events
All proceeds to benefit Samaritans for fundraising events listed below unless otherwise stated.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is hosting a fundraiser at Sweet Caroline's this Friday, March 21st from 5PM until closing for all of their nurses running the Boston Marathon, including returning runner Meghan! The event is free to attend and will include a raffle with some exciting prizes!    
  • Marathon team member Tricia will be collecting donations at the Woburn Farmers Market this Sunday, March 23rd from 10:30 - 1:30PM. For each $5 donation, participants receive a ticket for the Opportunity Drawing to win the amazing Boston Strong Quilt created by Tricia's sister, Lissa, containing signatures of over 170 notable Bostonians! 
  • Returning marathon team member Helene is hosting a fundraising party including a raffle, silent auction and chair massages at Joe Sent Me in Waltham on March 22nd from 7:00 - 11:00PM! Check out Helene's marathon blog for more information on the event, and to learn more about what inspires Helene to once again run the distance for suicide prevention! 
  • Interested in Irish Step Dancing? March 30th is your chance to improve your jig at The Dance Complex in Cambridge where internationally acclaimed Irish dance teacher and choreographer Kieran Jordan will be donating all the proceeds from back-to-back workshops from 3:00-5:30PM to Samaritans' marathon team member's Marcus and Michelle's goal of $26,200 for Samaritans' life-saving services! To pre-register for the class, email us for details.
  • 5K Team CJ 3 is getting a head start on their fundraising this year with a Baked Chicken Dinner on April 5th from 4:30 - 7:30PM in Pittsfield. $10 to enter, email us for more details!
  • Also on April 5th, head over to the New England Tango Academy in Cambridge for Torus Tangos for Samaritans, cocktail hour sponsored by local distiller GrandTen followed by a lesson in Argentine tango. $20 in advance, $30 at the door!  
  • Crisis Services volunteer and returning marathon team member Leslie is hosting a bowling night and raffle at Lucky Strike Bowling on April 11th from 6:00 - 8:00PM. $15 admission includes bowling shoes! 
  • Join us at the State Suicide Prevention Conference April 16th and 17th at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham!  
  • Mark May 14th in your calendar for our Breakfast For Hope at the Sheraton Hotel in Back Bay, Boston! If you are interested in volunteering, attending or hosting a table, contact us!
  • The 16th Annual Samaritans "Run/Walk for Someone Else's Life" 5K will be held on September 27th at Artesani Park - registration will be opening soon! 
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