SMGW-Byte Back STRIVE Collaboration is Thriving

Samaritan’s new series of STRIVE employment readiness and digital literacy classes offered jointly with Byte Back is already in its third session of the year — and we’re lining up participants for four additional cohorts.

At the April 26th graduation of the second 2024 class, Lamar Carey, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, offered high praise for Samaritan, and extremely moving remarks for the graduates. 

“For me, the easiest way to accomplish your dreams is to pursue them,” Carey said. “So I congratulate you for completing the class, but I commend you for taking the step further to realize your destiny and fulfill your dreams … I’m looking forward to seeing how you transform the world from your cellphone and from your laptop.”

The four-week class meets at St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church at 2001 14th SE, which is adjacent to Samaritan’s Anacostia office. Students attend class five days per week from 9am to 3pm, and upon graduation receive a laptop from Samaritan to take home.

Samaritan STRIVE Trainer Dr. Cheryl Mercer leads the students in self-reflection, goal setting, and learning essential employment-appropriate attitudes, interpersonal communication, and workplace practices. 

A Byte Back trainer provides the basic smart phone, computer, and internet training that is particularly useful to the returning citizens among the students, as during their incarceration, they will have had no access to computers — or much of any of the technology that Lamont noted is ingrained in everyday life today.

Over the course of the class, Associate Caseworker Doris McRoy supports the students with matters such as health, housing and benefits. 

And then for the last program module and for another two years following graduation, Samaritan Employer Specialist Diane Quinn coaches the students in applying for jobs and navigating their fledgling new careers. 

Samaritan is STRIVE’s DC affiliate, and our trainers receive instruction from STRIVE National in East Harlem, NY. But the cost of providing funding to pay STRIVE trainers and other course expenses is another way that your donations to Samaritan provide critical support to our Next Step participants!

To register or learn more, contact Samaritan STRIVE Trainer Dr. Cheryl Mercer atcmercer@samaritanministry.org.