Sixth Annual Next Step Breakfast Shines

Thank you to all who attended the Next Step Breakfast this year! Close to $200,000 in gifts and pledges was raised at the Next Step Breakfast through the generous contributions of Samaritan Ministry’s friends and supporters. We are so grateful for the continued generosity and dedication to Samaritan Ministry’s Next Step Program.

Over 260 supporters and friends of Samaritan Ministry attended the Sixth Annual Next Step Breakfast on May 16 at the National Press ClubJudy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour served as the mistress of ceremonies. During her opening remarks, Woodruff credited her involvement with Samaritan Ministry to the important work of the Next Step Program and praised Samaritan Ministry’s dedicated staff. Musical entertainment followed with the National Cathedral Lower School Guild. The all-girl choir inspired with a stirring vocal melody.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, led the opening prayer and reflected on the message behind the story of the Good Samaritan, as it relates to Samaritan Ministry’s work and mission. “As most of you, I think of that story from the perspective of that Samaritan, but I ask you for just a moment to remember the countless times in your life when you were the person on the roadside needing help, and what it felt like to be in that vulnerable place and needing someone to notice and to reach out and to care,” she said.

David Downes, Executive Director of Samaritan Ministry, shared his thoughts on the Next Step Program and its important role in the Metro DC Area community. Downes said, “Part of our mission is providing a welcoming, supportive environment, patient, listening ears and hearts, and the kind of compassionate, caring encouragement that helps people believe in themselves, and believe in their ability to transform their own lives—an essential first step for the growing number of people experiencing the despair of longtime unemployment and/or homelessness.”

The Next Step Breakfast also served as the premiere for a new Samaritan Ministry video directed by Samaritan Ministry volunteer, Jay Mallin. Mallin first became familiar with Samaritan Ministry through his parish, St. John’s Church, Norwood Parish. He hoped to see Next Step Program participants’ stories brought to life through the video, “I thought it would be great to have the opportunity to put some 'flesh and bones' on the mission through a video so that people could see and hear from participants talking about the difference Samaritan Ministry has made for them.” Next Step Program participant, Richard Leonard*, was inspired to take part in the video as a way to give back to Samaritan Ministry. He said he wanted to let other potential participants know, “If I can do it, anyone can do it. There are opportunities out here.” Click here to watch the video. 

[img_assist|nid=251|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=519|height=346]Bill Flanders, a volunteer Associate Caseworker at Samaritan Ministry’s Northwest Office, spoke after the video about his experience working with Next Step Program participants. He recounted how his work with two participants in particular had affected him. Heather McDaniel*, a Next Step Program participant, also spoke about her experience with Samaritan Ministry. Heather first learned about Samaritan Ministry from another Next Step participant who was on the bus to Samaritan Ministry to work on an employment goal. McDaniel decided to join him, “And I really liked it. I loved the caseworkers there, especially Gail Davis, a true example of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. [Samaritan Ministry caseworkers] ask the participants what they want and need, and how they can help themselves to be helped.” As a Next Step participant, McDaniel has become recertified as a fitness instructor and learned through computer mentoring how to better utilize social media to promote her business.

Click here to see more pictures from the Next Step Breakfast. 

*Samaritan Ministry obtained permission to publish full name.