Befriending: The American Samaritans
This book relates the founding in America, and effectiveness of, a branch of the worldwide organization of volunteers known as the Samaritans, committed to the prevention of suicide through the simple means of "listening therapy." It is a description of the successful humanitarian efforts of "nonprofessional" volunteers by best-selling author Monica Dickens, herself a Samaritan. Monica Dickens, great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, was known in England as a novelist; in America, as the founder of the U.S. Samaritans. Today Samaritans are in every large city of the country, some even with multiple branches. Volunteers work 24 hours a day, answering telephones or meeting troubled people, to try to give them, in nonjudgmental ways, the help they need to get their lives back in order. When Monica Dickens formed the Boston chapter, there were doubters. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and governmental bureaucrats, all said there was no chance that a Samaritan branch would work in that city. They did not realize the depth of Dickensian resolve. She meant to have a Samaritan branch in Boston, and later in Cape Cod. And, in the best traditions of her great-grandfather, so she did. Her story of the American Samaritans should be of interest to anyone who has ever pondered the human condition.
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