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Samaritans Turns 40!
Samaritans' founder Monica Dickens with Samaritans UK founder Chad Varah outside of the first Samaritans' office in the basement of the Arlington Street Church. 

40 years ago today, April 4, 1974, the first Samaritans branch in the United States opened its doors for business. With one telephone and 22 volunteers, our founder, Monica Dickens, was determined to bring the magic of befriending to those in crisis to the city of Boston. Despite much skepticism that the UK based philosophy of using compassionate volunteers, established as Samaritans by Chad Varah in London in 1953, would be effective in reducing suicide this side of the ocean, the phones began to ring. 40 years later, they are still ringing. It is estimated that in the past 40 years, more than 4,500 trained volunteers have answered more than 2.5 million phone calls. Each call represents someone who is in crisis, dealing with feelings of isolation, despair or suicide; someone who is worried about a friend or loved one; someone who has lost hope and needs a safe place to talk and be heard. The compassion they receive helps them choose another day of life. 


40 years later, in addition to answering calls 24/7 that come in from any one of six crisis lines - a local Boston number, a local MetroWest number, a toll free teen number, two national numbers or the Samaritans Statewide Helpline number - Samaritans volunteers also respond to incoming online chats and texts, insuring that whatever way is chosen for reaching out for help, a compassionate befriender will be there to answer.


40 years later, we also provide workshops and trainings in the community on suicide prevention - highlighting risk factors, warning signs and how to assist those in crisis. More than 100,000 have been trained. We also work with the large survivor community - those who have been personally impacted by a loss to suicide - while they grieve and heal. More than 10,000 have been comforted.


All of these services are provided free of charge. We are here today, 40 years later, because of you. Those who know the impact of what we do, who have helped deliver the services, who underwrite their costs. Thank you for the lives we have saved and the lives we have comforted. We couldn't have done it without you.

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
On Tuesday, we dressed up the training room in Samaritans' green and orange, and staff gathered with many of our wonderful volunteers to appreciate them for all they do. After Samaritans Executive Director Roberta Hurtig gave her opening remarks, one of Samaritans' first volunteers and current board member, Lisa Sarno, known as volunteer Lisa 190, shared some of her experiences as a volunteer in the basement of the Arlington Street Church. Emma 2952 received the award for most volunteer hours this year, with an astounding 1131 hours, and Matt 2954 received the award for most overnight shifts this year. We could not be more thankful for all of the dedicated volunteers providing compassionate listening to those in need 24/7.
Celebrate 40 Years of Compassion - Join Us and Become a Sponsor for this year's Breakfast for Hope
On May 14th Samaritans will celebrate "40 Years of Compassion" at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston from 8-9AM (registration opens at 7AM). This year's Breakfast for Hope will be particularly special as it will be the celebration event marking our 40th anniversary of service to the communities of Greater Boston and MetroWest. To help us celebrate, our friends over at Cole Creative are helping us create a commemorative program book for all attendees to take home. Purchasing an ad for inclusion in the program brochure or sponsoring the event helps to offset the costs associated with the Breakfast for Hope so all the funds that are raised at the event go directly to providing services. If your business, nonprofit or government agency is interested in sponsoring the event or purchasing an ad to commemorate this milestone event, contact Amy Killory. A big thank you goes out to our current Major Sponsors: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Intex Solutions, Inc.; Connors Family Foundation; Keolis Commuter Services; Loomis, Sayles & Company; Boston Red Sox Foundation; and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The deadline for ads to appear in the program book is April 15th, and if you are interested in attending the event as an individual or table host, contact Eve Rabinowitz.
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! For the past several months, we have been introducing you to our amazing team. Here are the final six who are running the distance for suicide prevention this year in the Boston Marathon:
  • Helene Newberg was a member of last year's marathon team, and is once again running in memory of her family friend Shaira. Throughout the training process this year and in 2013, Helene has kept a blog detailing her training. To learn more about Helene, visit her crowdrise page.  
  • Natalie Chouinard first became involved with Samaritans through the 5K, and as a veteran member of the Navy, looks forward to running the marathon for suicide prevention and raising awareness about military suicides. To learn more about Natalie, visit her crowdrise page.    
  • Erin Wallace was a member of last year's marathon team, and is once again running in memory of her brother-in-law, Georgie. Erin first became involved with Samaritans through Grief Support Services, and participates in the 5K as a member of Georgie's Gang. To learn more about Erin, visit her crowdrise page.  
  • Kacy Cerasoli has been involved with Samaritans for many years, as the daughter of a helpline volunteer, volunteer herself, staff member, and now marathon team member. Kacy works as a social worker, and still serves as a helpline volunteer. To learn more about Kacy, visit her crowdrise page.  
  • Peter Mongeau was a member of last year's marathon team, and is once again running the distance for suicide prevention in memory of his sister, Kathy. Peter has been involved with Samaritans for many years, and participates in the 5K as a member of one of our biggest teams, Kathy's Team. To learn more about Peter, visit his crowdrise page.  
  • Sarah Duncan was also a member of last year's team who is once again running in memory of her mother. Sarah has been involved with Samaritans for many years, and has organized a large 5K team since 2009. To learn more about Sarah, 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 new collective goal of $195,000 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 over 700 people for seminars at:
  • Pathways for Change (Worcester)
  • Our Lady of Sorrows (Sharon) 
  • Community Resources for Justice (Dorchester) 
  • Harvard University Volunteer Fair (Cambridge) 
  • Hopkinton Wellness Fair (Hopkinton) 
  • Voices Against Violence (Framingham) 
  • Sacred Heart Diocesan Health Fair (New Bedford) 
  • Upham Elder Services/PACE (Dorcester) 
  • Miles River Middle School (Hamilton) 
  • Whitcomb Middle School (Marlborough) 
  • Algonquin Regional High School (Northborough) 
  • Malden Catholic High School (Malden)  
  • Emmanual College Career & Internship Fair (Boston) 
  • Maimonides School (Brookline) 
  • Wakefield Public School (Wakefield) 
If you would like our Community Outreach and Education team to speak at your school or event, contact Kelley Cunningham .
Upcoming Events
Please join us at one of the upcoming events organized to benefit Samaritans:
  • Saturday April 5th is a busy day for Samaritans events! Head over to the New England Tango Academy in Cambridge for Torus Tangos for Samaritans, cocktail hour beginning at 7PM sponsored by local distiller GrandTen followed by a lesson in Argentine tango. $20 in advance, $30 at the door!    
  • Marathon team member Michelle is hosting Cocktails for a Cause in Newton on April 5th from 5-7PM, drop by to enjoy a martini while bidding in the silent auction or raffle! Email us for details!
  • Also on April 5th, 5K Team CJ 3 is getting a head start on their fundraising this year with a Baked Chicken Dinner from 4:30 - 7:30PM in Pittsfield. $10 to enter, email us for details! 
  • 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! 
  • 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 is now open!  
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