To the editor:
On Dec. 22, 2011, a new light burst onto the Cape Ann horizon.
That day, Grace Center, the drop-in space for Cape Ann's unattached people, opened doors for the first time at Trinity Congregational Church. The following week the organization opened another day of operation out of St. John's Episcopal Church, and opened a third day a week later out of the Unitarian Universalist Church.
These faith communities have hosted Grace Center for the past 20 weeks. Working relationships with The Open Door, Action Inc., and many other individuals and groups have allowed our program to provide a warm and welcoming place for the homeless and those who may feel alone or isolated, our "guests."
By building a trusting relationship with the guests and providing access to services through referrals, we encourage our guests to move beyond crisis and move toward self-sufficient, happy, and healthy lives. We are proud of the work that we do. Yet, we know much more is to be done.
Grace Center will continue this good work, much of which is due to the commitment of our incredible volunteers. These volunteers have covered more than 140 shifts with responsibilities including the opening and closing of the three operating sites, welcoming guests, promoting healthy and safe relationships, discussing dreams, and advocating for the acceptance of all guests and other volunteers.
Our volunteers are everything to our organization. They are nurses, social workers, college professors, parents, businesses professionals, Rotary members, and retired community members. They are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, and non-denominational. They are residents of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester, and Rockport. Our community is thriving in diversity and intention.
As Grace Center grows, our need for committed volunteers will grow. The 100 individual guests who have sought out help through self-motivation, improved relationships with the Gloucester emergency relief professionals, and the continued commitment of our volunteers mark the successes of Grace Center.
Please consider becoming a Grace Center volunteer and help us deliver continued success. Visit us at www.facebook.com/GraceCenter or email Samantha at email@example.com.
SAMANTHA ALVES, BSW, MSW,