Shannon Yrle has given over 40 volunteer hours to SAMM since December, and isn't stopping there. Shannon spreads her time across multiple SAMM initiatives. And, as a teacher of adult students with cognitive disabilities, she partners with SAMM's donation station to help her students give back to the community and practice job skills.
What made you decide to volunteer with SAMM?
I was looking for volunteer opportunities to expand my skills and experience beyond what I do at work. I work with adult students with cognitive disabilities & some mental illnesses. For those who do not have a strong support system at home or at some point lose that support, there is a good possibility they may become homeless. I chose SAMM specifically because the homeless people I encounter in my own neighborhood often remind me of my students, and I thought it would be a great way to help do my small part.
What’s your favorite part of volunteering with SAMM?
I think I’ve done a little of everything, but my favorite would be working with the kids. They still see the world with such wonder & amazement. It’s a good reminder of how we adults should try to live.
You’ve volunteered over 40 hours with SAMM just since December! Wow! What drives you to give so much back to the community?
We all find ourselves in circumstances where we are in need of help from others. I’ve been very fortunate to always have had that help available to me. I suppose I’m just trying to pull my weight as a member of the community in an effort to not take more than I’ve given.
You have also been bringing some of your adult students to the SAMM Donation Station for job skills training. Tell me a little bit more about that, what made you decide to work with SAMM, and how your students are doing with this program.
I was already volunteering with SAMM on my own when it occurred to me it would be a great place for my students to work also. These are their final years in the public school system, and we focus mostly on community-based instruction at their age level. We do job training at other places like HEB, Walgreens, Macy’s, Meals on Wheels, Food Bank and so on. My students love going to the donation warehouse. It’s an opportunity for them to feel valuable and a true member of their community. The people at the Donation Station have been so nice & accommodating to us. The students also get a kick out of looking at all the unique things people think to donate!
We are so thankful to have volunteers like Shannon, who give endlessly to SAMM. Thank you for sharing your story, Shannon.
Once a month University United Methodist Church unloads a truck full of skateboards, ramps, and, most importantly, helmets at our Transitional Living and Learning Center. As soon as the truck pulls into the driveway, our kids grow excited to get outside, meet the volunteers, and learn new skills.
However, it is apparent that learning to ride a rail or land a jump aren’t the only skills these volunteers are teaching. Through encouragement, cheering, and support, volunteers help the kids believe in themselves and develop greater self-esteem.
“We believe that God loves and wants everyone to enter into a relationship with Him, regardless of what the world thinks about them. . . We were led to offer skating at SAMM because it is a fun activity and simply one of the most portable ways we know how to bring the message of Love and Mercy of Christ to others. We also like to show kids how positive skating is instead of some of the negative images others would like to associate with skateboarding.”-Pastor Kit Tomlinson
We would like to thank the "Skate Church" volunteers from University United Methodist Church!
You've made a difference in the lives of our kids!
Highland View Church of Christ-Tennessee Youth Group blessed SAMMinistries with their service in June. After they went back home, they spoke to their congregation about their "Aha moments!" If you ever thought about volunteering, this is a must see.
But first, you might want to grab a tissue!
Food and fellowship were poured out on our
Transitional Living and Learning Center families when two congregations united to prepare and serve a special Father's Day BBQ.
Thirty-eight volunteers from Community Baptist and Free Grace Baptist churches brought 168 hamburgers and hotdogs, salads, chips, beans, corn and homemade desserts!
They fired up the grill and the fun began! While the cooks were preparing the food, a special Father's Day devotional was delivered that touched everyone-whether they were a father or not! Trees provided some much needed shade for mealtime! It was the perfect place to sit back and relax on a summer day!
Basketball, volleyball and ultimate Frisbee followed a
wonderful meal and fellowship.
Our thanks go to these wonderful volunteers for a day of food, fun and fellowship!
Thanks to Summit Church, Mother's Day came one day early for our Mom's in our Transitional Program. Close to 30 volunteers provided childcare and a day of pampering for our Moms.
While volunteers took care of their children, each Mom received a rose and gift bag full of lotions, toiletries and special things a mom would love! They also were treated with a serenade of "His Eye is on the Sparrow", an inspiring message of love, a wonderful lunch and Mother's Day cake. However, the biggest hit of the day was the pampering corner.
A massage therapist brought her crew and they provided back, neck and hand massages for all of the ladies! Each one thoroughly enjoyed this day to relax as they received a break from the day-to-day stress they experience as moms in extraordinary circumstances.
Smiles filled the room and "Praise God!" could be heard all afternoon as these wonderful servants truly gave their hands and feet in service! Thank you to all of the women, men and teens from Summit Church who helped our Mom's feel special!
Powerful Women of God and a day of pampering
Volunteers at SAMMinistries have many roles, provide various services, and serve for a variety of reasons. One thing that all of our volunteers have in common is the powerful effect they have on our residents. In March, volunteers from Powerful Women of God Ministries came to SAMMinistries at the Haven for Hope campus and truly served the single women and moms at the shelter with great dignity and compassion.
On March 26 the volunteers from Powerful Women of God Ministries turned the Chapel at our downtown campus into a full service beauty salon. Professional women empowered our residents, boosting their self-esteem and self-dignity, by providing manicures, pedicures, and even massages to each woman who attended. The volunteers included an array of make-up artists and beauticians.
The effects of an event likes this are lasting. With each nail that was painted, shoulder that was rubbed, and foot that was filed, these volunteers reminded the ladies of SAMMinistries that they are worth it...that they are valued and deserving. Our ladies woke up that morning with daily stresses and esteem issues, but after attending the Ladies Pampering Day, their dignity was restored, their hearts were affected, and their smiles were intoxicating.The delight was so refreshing and impactful, that we hope to be able to offer this to the female residents at SAMMinistries every few months!
Giving a manicure
Powerful Women of God Ministries provided more than 250 volunteer hours serving the mission of SAMMinistries and truly engaging and loving on the ladies of SAMM. As each lady entered the ready-made salon, they were given a raffle ticket. Several residents left the event with baskets full of lotions, fragrances, and a number of items collected to help our ladies remember that they are beautiful women. Thank you so much to these volunteers, who saw a need and responded with love and passion.
Volunteers have been the heartbeat of SAMMinistries for 28 years. We currently have a staff of 70 who work tirelessly to best serve the men, women, and children in San Antonio, but in the beginning all operations were under the living hands of volunteers.
In our years at Commerce volunteers not only checked guests in each and every night, but they were also asked to stay overnight and oversee any needs that might come up. We had a number of compassionate volunteers who committed entire nights to serving the homeless community. It is always a blessing to come across volunteers that experienced SAMMinistries under this umbrella. We have so much gratitude and respect for those individuals and their overwhelming love and care for our residents.
In June of 2010 I was contacted by Bill Baumann, a member of 1st Presbyterian Church who had served as an overnight volunteer all those years ago. Bill's one statement that started every discussion was, "What do you need?" In the midst of transition onto the Haven for Hope campus our needs were vast. At the time we had filled up our family dorm in just days but had no programs for the families on campus.
Bill committed to showing up every week, and every week he did. Bill started a program called Kid's Corner, something that was deeply desired by our staff at the Commerce shelter but was an impossible feat due to the limited space we had, and overcrowded family area. Week after week Bill showed up with books in hand and a crowd of kids overwhelming him. He continued to show up, Thursday nights at 7:00pm.
Today Bill has help. Crystal Fayard, a college student who served in the fall semester and wanted to continue coming after her course requirement was up, now leads the program and with help from a few other volunteers the program is sustained. Consistency is the key to supporting the residents at Haven, especially in dealing with the kids. Bill and Crystal have been the epitome of consistency and we are so thankful for their efforts, their support, and their leadership.
Matthew 19:14 Is Anita Lankford's mission verse for her work at SAMMinistries. The text reads, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Anita Lankford is a long time member of Maranatha Bible Church and volunteer of SAMMinistries. For years Anita served at the shelter on occasion as Maranatha provided a bible study, genuine fellowship with the residents of the Commerce shelter, and always followed by hugs and Maranatha's specialty hot dogs. Eighteen months ago Anita approached the staff at the shelter and asked if she could start a youth program. Our eyes lit up as at the time we had 18 families and any encouragement and authenticity they could be shown would surely have a positive affect. As she tossed ideas across the table regarding the kids of the SAMM Shelter she spoke of games, bible studies, songs to sing, dances to dance, and crafts to create.
Name: CH2M Hill
Sunday evening volunteers laid foundation, mixed concrete, set shingles, and floated walls. Alongside the CH2M Hill volunteers were five men that bussed from SAMMinistries to learn a trade. During the holidays, the building serves as Santa’s Workshop, where homeless children select gifts for their loved ones. The building also provides storage for essentials like baby formula, diapers and toys. The CH2M Hill volunteers possess vision, passion, skill and commitment. What they really built were relationships.
Name: Street2Feet Program—Megan Cullip and Elizabeth Rosenblum
Category: Community Group
For several years, Megan Cullip and Elizabeth Rosenblum served the homeless “street tacos” on Christmas Eve. But each year they would leave feeling like maybe they could do more. That’s when they contacted SAMMinistries to work on a program they named Street2Feet, a running group with homeless members that encourages goal setting, emphasizes fitness, enforces dignity, and builds relationships. The Street2Feet team is now 25 members who have volunteered over 1,200 hours, offering training sessions and health education courses. The group coordinated the first-ever Street2Feet 5K, which raised $20,000, had more than 500 runners, and included 35 residents of SAMMinistries’ programs. There is commitment from the SAMM residents, too. When they see Cullip and Rosenblum, they yell down the hallway: “let me get my shoes!” The Street2Feet volunteer team has a deep desire to serve. They never settle for “standard.” In fact, they transcend the standard for passion, leadership, creativity and volunteerism. They have an energy that ignites motion and promotes positive change.