Twenty-five years ago, in 1994, I was looking for a place to do some volunteer work. I thought back to my adolescence in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and I remembered how on a number of occasions, I reached out to the local hotlines. I was going through some stuff that I wasn’t comfortable talking about with anyone I knew, and the hotlines provided a hugely necessary sounding board. So I called Samaritans to see if I could help.
Twenty-five years later, in 2019, I’m still there. My time at Samaritans has outlasted not just jobs, but careers. It’s outlived relationships, cars, pets; you name it. Why do I stay? First, I believe in the work and second, I believe in the people who are carrying it out. Nearly 80,000 times last year, someone who was in crisis or suicidal or maybe just in a bad place at the moment felt the need to pick up the phone and reach out to a stranger for help. Each one of those times, a Samaritans volunteer picked up the phone and was there for them. Maybe a life was saved, maybe a day got brighter, or maybe there was no change at all. But we were there when we were needed. While I’m no longer on the phones, I am proud to be a part of an organization that does this work.
So why am I walking on September 29th? Part of it is to celebrate the people doing the work and to show public support of an organization I believe in with every ounce of my being. But the bigger part is that doing this work doesn’t come cheaply, especially here in the most expensive city in the country. So while I’ll be out there walking in the sun and wearing my Samaritans t-shirt, it will all be with the help of friends and family who’ve made a donation to help Samaritans keep doing what it’s doing.
If you are donating, thank you! If you are walking, extra thank you! If you’re just curious about the event or the organization, I assure you they are both worthy of your support. And if you’re my mom just combing the Internet looking for stuff about me, Hi Mom!