The Problem Solver: Doug Leavens

 Doug Leavens has been a hard-working volunteer with Samaritan Ministry for more than two years as Computer Mentor, Resume Writer, Outreach Assistant, and Partner Representative for Christ Church, Kensington.

Thanks to his years of professional experience in international development, Doug is curious and interested in people from all backgrounds and walks of life -- a trait that's invaluable in the diverse Silver Spring office. Thanks to his hospitality, orientation to detail, patience and problem-solver attitude, Doug is a terrific computer mentor and practice interviewer for Next Step participants.

Doug began volunteering at Samaritan Ministry “because I care deeply that we have so many in our communities who are less fortunate. They are looking for something I can take for granted…a hand up out of poverty or homelessness, illness, hard times, bad luck or just plain rotten circumstances. I love connecting with and having great conversations with our participants. They all have amazing stories and wonderful dreams to fulfill. I feel it is a blessing to be able to give back, to pay forward to others, and to share my experience, talents and skills.”

He continued: “[Samaritan Ministry is meaningful because it] empowers the homeless and those in need, starting with showing respect to everyone who walks through our doors, or that we meet on the streets. To greet someone with an open heart creates an atmosphere of equality and acceptance that many participants tell me makes them feel so welcome. They are in a safe place with us. And that makes it easier for them to take that first, next step toward a better, more fulfilling life.”

Doug is "a problem solver, says Kathy Staudt, Lead Caseworker at the Silver Spring office, “some of our participants' issues can lead to frustration when the problems are really challenging and multifaceted, but Doug is a great one for staying with the issue and trying to figure it out. I really rely on him for one on one work with participants at the computer. We rely on him to serve our participants consistently - and they miss him when he's not there!"