YP Impact Volunteer Event Recap: Providing a Beacon of Hope with Samaritan

As you know, Young Professionals of Seattle recently launched a new division: YP Impact in partnership with the United Way of King County’s Emerging Leaders program. Each quarter, we focus on a different area of need. Each quarter is further broken down by month. During month 1 we create awareness; month 2 we volunteer or do an issue-based activity; and month 3 we have a call to action to continue to make an impact. This quarter the focus is on ending homelessness.

From October -December 2018, we partnered with Samaritan. They provide low-energy beacons to individuals in need through nonprofit shelters and partners.  As part of our month 2 volunteer event, on November 17th, 14 members of the YP Impact community passed out beacons, created profiles for the beacon holders and listened to their stories.

The day started with an orientation by Jessica McCoy and Chris Sun of Samaritan at the Salvation Army’s William Booth Center. United Way of King County provided t-shirts for all the volunteers.

Jessica McCoy of Samaritan, gives a brief orientation to YP Impact volunteers and passes out United Way t-shirts.

Volunteers then split into groups of two where they signed-up new beacon holders.

YP Impact volunteers sign-up a new beacon holder.

The new beacon holders were asked a series of questions and a profile was created for them. This included sharing a story of how they became homeless, what they needed, what their interests were and a photo so that people could recognize them. Beacon holders were able to share as much or as little as they were comfortable with.

A beacon holder shares his story.

Volunteers summarized the beacon holders’ answers in the profiles, so many of the volunteers read back to the beacon holder what they put on the profile to check for accuracy.

YP Impact volunteer, Steven Nelson (right), relates back the beacon holders’ story.

Part of the sign up process also included sharing information with the beacon holders on how they can use the money donated to them, through the app. Beacon holders are given a list of partner merchants who provides goods and services to the beacon holders.

Allison Campbell (left) and Ahmad Corner (center) explain some of what a beacon holder can use money donated to him on.

Additionally, a map was provided to the beacon holders showing where they can check in with nonprofit counselors to use the funds on the app, get resources, develop a plan and get a new battery.

YP Impact volunteers show a beacon holder where he can check in each month with a nonprofit.

 

Part of a map with info for beacon holders.

Samaritan was on hand if there were any concerns or questions the volunteers or beacon holders had.

Jessica McCoy of Samaritan demonstrates how to use the app to a new beacon holder.

At the end of the day we signed up around 20 new beacon holders! All the people who were present at the Salvation Army and wanted a beacon were given one. And the volunteers were all smiles, having felt great to have made a connection with some of the individuals and knowing they made a difference.

YP Impact is a budding community of young professionals with an interest in giving back to the community we live, work and play in. If you’re interested in joining the community or just hearing more, visit this page and sign up to follow along.  

Kara Wenrich

Kara Wenrich

Kara is a nonprofit consultant, the YP Impact Program Manager, runs Seattle Entrepreneurs and is on the board of Net Impact Seattle. When she is not working Kara can be found at concerts, volunteering, hiking, rafting, camping, traveling or off on one of life's many adventures.
Kara Wenrich