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In This Issue:
A New Chapter: Welcoming SteveWelcomeSteve
Steve and the rest of Kathy's Team
at the 2013 5K
This year's Annual Memorial also served as Steve Mongeau's first event as Samaritans' Executive Director. Many of us gathered on January 4th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington to remember loved ones lost to suicide at the Annual Memorial. This event, established by board member Jane Quercia to remember her brother, Tommy, is always a sober but beautiful occasion to remember those we love who are no longer with us.

Steve is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Social work and former Vice President of Sales and Growth Initiatives at Office Max. He has had a successful career in the for-profit sector including past position at Pietzo, Eduventures, Staples, and Standard Coffee - but he also knows Samaritans. A survivor, volunteer, 5K team captain, Breakfast for Hope table host, and former board member as well as board chair, Steve is excited and enthusiastic about stepping into his new role. 
Steve (right) with his wife Janice (front), son Patrick, daughter-in-law Amy, and niece Jeanine at the 2014 Breakfast for Hope

After losing his sister Kathy to suicide in 1987, like many families, the Mongeaus did not know where to turn for support. Eight years later, Steve came to an info session at Samaritans and began volunteering on the Helpline. That same year, he also volunteered at registration at the 5K, and after the event called his six brothers and sisters and told them the next year they needed to have a team in memory of Kathy. For the past eight years, Kathy's Team has been at Samaritans' 5K and has become one of our top fundraising teams.

In discussing his new position at the Annual Memorial, Steve shared, "What Samaritans has done for my family is hard for me to put into words. Today, you all have inspired me to reach for even greater heights, to give all I can to expand our life saving services at Samaritans, in the mission of reducing the incidences of suicide and the circle of pain that surrounds it. We need to grow our capabilities and provide open ears and hearts to all of those in need, and to help them find hope in their lives. As I believe most of you will agree, those we love who have been lost to suicide cannot be defined or remembered by their final act. We can enjoy the memories of good times we shared with them, and it is okay, in fact very helpful to share those times with others. Together, through open and honest communication, we can help each other with our journeys through the complex grief that we are experiencing, and in doing so, can open doors to hope."
Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Gracevolunteerspotlight
Samaritans Volunteer Grace
Grace, a Research Assistant and Teaching Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, first learned about Samaritans from a professor and former volunteer, and was immediately intrigued.

"I wanted to become a befriender because I like the philosophy behind befriending; the idea that volunteers can be there for someone in the moment when they need it and how that can be impactful. Suicide prevention is important to me because there is no such thing as a suicide treatment. The best way to stop the suffering that suicide brings is to try to prevent it.

My favorite thing about being a befriender is getting a chance to connect with a caller and hopefully make their day a little brighter, even if it is only for the short amount of time that we're on the phone. For many callers, speaking with a volunteer is the first chance they've had all day, or maybe even longer to speak with someone who is listening intently to what they have to say.

I have found that I am a much better friend and partner after volunteering with Samaritans. Before I began volunteering, my default 'good friend' setting was to give advice often before my friend had finished speaking! Now I do a lot less talking and a lot more nodding. Just a few nights ago I got together with a friend who has been going through a lot recently, and he talked to me for almost four hours. As he was leaving he said, 'Thank you for listening, it's been a while since someone has just listened instead of trying to fix me.'

When people ask me about being a volunteer, they often stay 'Wow, that must be really hard.' I tell them that volunteering at Samaritans is perhaps one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences that you could ever have, but you should reflect on whether it is the right fit." 

Thanks for sharing, Grace! 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.
Introducing our 2015 Boston Marathon Team!MarathonTeam
We are so excited to announce our 2015 Marathon Team that 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:
  • Colleen Hart: Colleen is originally from Needham, and is a Technology Consultant and former  professional basketball player who has lost several high school friends from to suicide. Colleen originally became involved with Samaritans through Make Noise to Save a Life, and hopes to spread awareness about suicide prevention and Grief Support Services while bringing hope to her community. To make a donation toward Colleen's goal of $10,000 for suicide prevention or learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page
     

  • Davia Moore: Davia formerly struggled with depression, and sees the  Boston Marathon as a metaphor for the road to recovery from hopelessness and despair. Currently a high school teacher in Beverly, she is running for herself and for the three members of her community who were recently lost to suicide. To make a donation toward Davia's goal of $10,000 for suicide prevention or learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page.
     
  • Jesse Gass: Jesse is a native Bostonian who first became involved with Samaritans when she was living in New York and volunteered as a befriender on the helpline. She is looking forward to running the marathon in memory of her cousin, Danny. To make a donation toward Jesse's goal of $5,000 for suicide prevention or to learn more about her, visit her CrowdRise page.

Help the team reach their collective goal of $130,000 for our life saving services:

A few of the 2015 Boston Marathon Team Members
at the recent team event

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 it's not a running event, we're always open to new ideas and would love to find a way to work with you!
Focus Group and Sharing StoriesAttemptFocus
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.

Have you called, texted or chatted with someone at Samaritans and are interested in sharing your story? We want to tell the stories of the challenges people face and how Samaritans makes an impact. If you are comfortable sharing your story, anonymously or by name, we would love to hear from you. Contact us to find out more.
Welcome Lauren!Lauren
Please welcome our new Manager of Community Outreach and Education, Lauren Gablinske! Lauren is originally from the Ocean State, and has been a resident of South Boston for the last 3 years. She is a graduate of University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and has been in the software sales field for the last seven years. In 2011, Lauren lost her brother to suicide and became involved with the Samaritans through the 5K in 2013. She went on to run the Boston Marathon for Samaritans, raising over $35,000 as a member of the 2014 team. Recently, she has decided to make a career change and join  Samaritans as the Manager of Community Outreach and Education. She lives by the motto "be the change you wish to see in the world" and is passionate about helping others who have faced the same kind of loss she has and all those that suffer from isolation and suicidal thoughts. She is starting graduate school this month for School Counseling, and couldn't be more excited for this new chapter.  Outside of work she loves to run, read, try new restaurants, and take trips on the weekends around New England. 

Lauren's first month at Samaritans has already been a busy one! Along with our Chief Program Officer, Ron White, Lauren met with over 150 people all over our service area, including Blake Estates (Hyde Park), Baker Middle School (Brookline), and Lincoln Middle School (Brookline). 

In discussing her first outreach, Lauren shared, "My first experience going to an outreach was to Lincoln Middle School. I went to three classes, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was just amazed by the maturity of all three 8th grade classes we met with, as well as the amount of knowledge they had around suicide and mental illness. Each class was engaged, asking good questions, and genuinely interested in learning about warning signs of those who might be suicidal."

Suicide prevention training is an essential need. If your school, office or community organization is interest in arranging a training, contact Lauren.
Samaritan Staff Openingsstaff
Interested in becoming a Samaritans' staff member? We are currently accepting applications for the following positions:
Upcoming EventsUpcomingEvents
  • Don a hat and your favorite costume for the Frosty 5K Virtual Race to benefit marathon team member Deanna - $26.20 to join, January 15 - February 15
  • Head over to The Lucky Dog for a music variety show in memory of Lin Rosenbusch - free to attend, donations accepted towards Samaritans' services, 9PM on Friday, January 23 at 89 Green Street in Worcester
  • America's Best Defense is hosting a Self Defense Seminar to benefit marathon team member Nickie - $20 to join, 11AM on Saturday, January 24 at 274 South Street in Shrewsbury
  • Get your blood pumping with marathon team member Mo at the Jade Dragon Restaurant for the Chilly Cherub Cheek Chase one mile dash around Merrimack NH - $20 to join, pre-party begins at 11AM, race at 12PM, Sunday, February 8 at 515 Daniel Webster Hwy in Merrimack
  • Join us at the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Coalition (MSPC) Annual State House Day on Monday, February 9 from 9AM - 12PM at the State House
  • Prom Season is coming - mention Samaritans at Party Dress Express February 20 - 22 and you'll receive a 10% discount plus a portion of your purchase will benefit Samaritans - 657 Quarry Street in Fall River
  • Want to learn more about Samaritans, or introduce your friends and family to the organization you've come to know and love? Join us at the Breakfast for Hope - May 13th at 9AM at the Sheraton in Boston
  • 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
  • Mark your calendars, the 2015 5K Run/Walk and Family Fun Festival will be held on September 26th in Artesani Park - more details to come
  • Interested in becoming a Grief Support Services volunteer? Contact Grief Support Services Manager Emily Britt for spring training dates
  • Now through April 20, visit Nadine at Contemporary Trends and 50% of your salon service will be donated directly to marathon team member Mo's fundraising goal - 501 Daniel Webster Hwy in Merrimack NH
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