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In This Issue:
Saying Farewell to RobertaFarewellRoberta
Board Chair Peter Marsh, Roberta Hurtig, Council Chair and Board Member Brian Potts, and Director of Grief Support Services Debbie DiMasi at Roberta's Farewell hosted by Christy and Jay Cashman
At the end of this month, not only will our 40th anniversary year be coming to a close, but we will also be saying goodbye to our Executive Director of 12 years, Roberta Hurtig.

Roberta has touched so many lives over her time at Samaritans. Board Chair, Pete Marsh, who lost his twin brother to suicide in 2007 shares his thoughts:

We often talk about the life-saving work that Samaritans does every single day and every lonely night of the year. For over 12 years, you've been our True North inspiring this organization with your words and guiding us with your actions. At work, I find that I've become a better manager because of what I've learned from your leadership skills. At home, I've used you as an example to inspire my own children about the importance of giving back and performing acts of kindness and charity.

Roberta, while Samaritans will continue to save lives, please know that - among so many other things - by befriending me, you have helped to give new meaning to my life. And, for that, I will be forever grateful. Thank you.

Thank you from all of us, Roberta!  
Several anonymous donors have pledged to give $2 for every dollar contributed in Roberta's honor, up to $100,000. Please make a donation today in Roberta's honor to help us secure the financial stability of Samaritans Roberta has worked so hard to sustain.

We are also hosting an Open House at Samaritans' office (41 West Street, Boston) on December 15th in Roberta's honor. Click here to inquire about attending.  
Volunteer Spotlight: Meet MichelleVolunteerMichelle
Samaritans Volunteer Michelle
After moving to Boston a few years ago and hearing about her friend's past experience as a volunteer, Michelle came to an info session at Samaritans. Over two and a half years later, she is still a regular volunteer:

"People are usually very interested when they hear I volunteer at a suicide prevention organization, and think it must be very difficult. Most are surprised to learn that they majority of our callers are not at imminent risk and are just looking for someone to listen to them. After going through the training, the biggest surprised was that this type of work was pretty natural to me. It is not as difficult as I had imagined it would be to just be there for someone.

I never imagined how much volunteering here would change my personal and professional life. Soon after becoming a volunteer, my roommate was going through a difficult break-up, and I listened to her without judgement or giving advice. After she got through with it, she told me how much she appreciated the way I listened to her. That's when I realized that I could do this for others and really make a difference.

Professionally, I work in financial aid, and there are a surprising number of students who come into our office with high emotions. Volunteering at Samaritans has increased my awareness of the different situations these students may be in, and taught me how to listen without judgment. This ultimately allows me to give better service to our students and their parents.

The skills I have learned as a befriender really work, and make a difference in difficult conversations.
Volunteering at Samaritans has opened my eyes to the lack of mental health resources in our country. Most recently, this has been revealed by all of the youth taking their lives. Who knows who these kids could have turned out to be? If my small role at Samaritans can save a life, then it's worth all of the time I spend here. Though I think all of the methods of befriending are very important and valid, I am happy to be providing text support because the service really appeals to teens. When I'm volunteering on our texting service, I know that we are reaching teens that may not have normally called in.

Being able to listen is the most important quality in a befriender. It sounds like such a simple concept, and yet in your every day life, how often are people truly listening to what you are saying? When I'm volunteering on the helpline, I am so involved with the caller's conversation that it's almost like I'm in the room with them. Befriending is about being there and to do that, you have to set your own ego aside and listen without judgment. With this, comes the realization that it isn't really about you. It's about the person reaching out to someone else, because in that moment, they need to be heard. When I talk to people who are considering becoming volunteers, I tell them it can be difficult when you have an intense conversation, but the other volunteers and the staff are so support.

Being a befriender is an amazing experience that will change your life.
There is one experience on the phonelines at Samaritans that I will remember forever. I was doing an overnight shift and got a call from a young woman who was considering taking her life that evening. After over an hour conversation, she finally agreed to separate herself from the means of taking her life, and instead go to bed with her husband. I felt so supported by my homeleader throughout the entire call, which was instrumental to its success. I realized that night that our service may have saved that young woman's life. I can't tell you how proud I was to have been a part of that."

Befriending is a crucial service - and we need volunteers in order to provide it to all of those in need. If you think you would make a good befriender, contact us about attending an information session.
Join Us at the Annual MemorialAME
Candles Each January, Samaritans hosts a memorial service for all suicide survivors. Those who attend range from people who have suffered a recent loss to people who are remembering a loved one lost to suicide years ago. Whether through song, a poem, a writing that captures your thoughts and feelings or through silent observance - we will remember them. By coming together and memorializing our loved ones, we are able to celebrate the lives of those we've lost. Celebrate the joy and beauty of having known them, and the everlasting imprint they have left in our hearts.

If you would like to submit something for inclusion in this year's program book, please contact Emily Britt.

Even if you have not lost a loved one to suicide, all members of the greater Samaritans' community are invited to join us for this powerful event. There is no more impactful way to be reminded of the importance of our work, nor more inspirational way to rededicate ourselves to the work of suicide prevention in the upcoming year.

When and Where : 3-5PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington Center (630 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington), a social hour will following the program to build upon the community of support we have created at Samaritans.
Introducing our 2015 Boston Marathon Team!MarathonTeam
We are so excited to announce our 2015 Marathon Team, who will run the Boston Marathon for suicide prevention on April 20th! Thanks to the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit, this is the 8th consecutive year that Samaritans will have a team running 26.2 miles in the most prestigious marathon in the country. Each month through April, we will be introducing you to a few members of our outstanding team:
  • Carrie Asselin: a member of our 2014 Boston Marathon team, Carrie raised over $13,000 in memory of her brother, Nathaniel, who she lost to suicide in 2011. Unfortunately, Carrie was injured just weeks before last year's marathon and was unable to run. Lucky for us she is ready now! She moved to Boston (from Cheyney, PA) in June of 2012 to pursue neuroscience research, but has since shifted gears and is in her first year at Cambridge Friends School as a Middle School Science Intern. Carrie first became involved with Samaritans when she attended SafePlace meetings. To make a donation towards Carrie's goal of $13,402 or learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page.  
  • Michelle "Mo" Wheeler: Mo is a suicide attempt survivor. She became a runner in 2010, and you may often hear her say"running has saved my life". Last year, she became involved with Samaritans through the 5K team Ally's Team, in memory of her friends sister, Allyson Marie Kramer, who was lost to suicide at the young age of 13. Though she is an avid runner, this will be Mo's first marathon. Mo lives in in Merrimack, NH with her husband and two sons. To make a donation towards Mo's goal of $10,000 or to learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page
  • James "Jimmy" Morin: Jimmy is a learning consultant residing in South Boston. He will be running his second Boston Marathon, his first with Samaritans, in memory of his mother, Elizabeth, who he lost to suicide almost ten years ago. Jimmy first became involved with Samaritans as a member of the 5K team SouthieStrong, and aims to break the stigma associated with suicide. To make a donation towards Jimmy's goal of $7,500 or learn more about him, visit his CrowdRise page

Help the team reach their collection goal of $150,000 for our life saving services:

10 of 15 2015 Boston Marathon Team Members
  • Make a donation. Donate directly to one or more of our runners by visiting our CrowdRise page and clicking on their individual pages, or you can make a general donation to the entire team.
  • Qualified for the Boston Marathon and want to make your run more meaningful? Join our team!
  • Sponsor the team or an individual. Thank you to our current team sponsor, Vista Equity Partners!
  • Do you have access to bib numbers? We still have three Alternate Runners waiting to receive bibs for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Contact Team Manager Eve about supporting or joining the team! 

  • Participating in a physical challenge of your choosing and want to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention at the same time? Contact Eve Rabinowitz for more information about joining Samaritans' Running Community - even if its not a running event, we're always open to new ideas and would love to find a way to work with you!
Volunteer Holiday PartyVolunteerParty
The training room turned festive for the volunteer holiday party! 
Last week, Samaritans' staff and volunteers gathered to celebrate the holiday season. Over traditional Australian pies, we conversed about shared experienced with Samaritans, and what brought each of us into suicide prevention. Since most volunteers befriend during the same shift each week, the holiday party is a great chance to meet volunteers they may not normally see. Sharing stories, advice, and inspiration made this event truly spectacular. Thank you volunteers for your dedication and compassion to Samaritans!

Has Your Loved One Survived A Suicide Attempt?AttemptFocus
We are hosting a focus group for family members of those who have survived a suicide attempt to learn what services are of value as they deal with their own feelings of trauma, their concern for their family member, and their need for information and resources to support themselves and one another.

Do you know of someone that might be interested in participating? To learn more or register for this focus group that we are hosting in collaboration with Riverside Trauma Center and the Department of Public Health, contact our Grief Support Services.
Welcome Stacey!Stacey
Please welcome our new Development Coordinator, Stacey Cotter! Stacey moved from New York to Boston in 2009 to obtain a bachelor's degree in English from Northeastern University. There, she developed a passion for social justice and service work that led to a career in nonprofits. Witnessing issues of mental health and suicide among homeless populations and in personal relationships, particularly in the LBGT community, motivates her to support Samaritans' mission. In her spare time, she is also an aspiring vegetarian cook and guitar player, Netflix enthusiast, avid reader, and city explorer.
Upcoming EventsUpcomingEvents
  • Interested in becoming a Grief Support Services volunteer? Contact Grief Support Services Manager Emily Britt for spring training dates.
  • Samaritans' Memorial Event, a nondenominational event open to all members of Samaritans' community, will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington - Sunday, January 4th from 3 - 5PM with a reception to follow (630 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington Center)
  • Comfort Zone Camp will be held on June 27 - contact us today to volunteer or have your child participate in this one-day camp for youth survivors of suicide!

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