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Press Release: August 27, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Denise Panichas, Executive Director
Phone 401.721.5220

Providence (RI) – The Samaritans of Rhode Island will mark its 35th Anniversary with September events and programs to raise awareness of its humanitarian mission in suicide prevention as well as its need for funding it was announced today by Denise Panichas, Executive Director.

Established in 1977, the vision statement of The Samaritans is to have a suicide free Rhode Island. The agency’s board, staff and volunteers work toward the goal of being the “agency of choice” for individuals, families and other community stakeholders who seek information relating to suicide prevention, grief support, education and resources.

“The changing world of philanthropy in Rhode Island has made this one of the most difficult and at the same time one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had,” said Ms. Panichas, “but after 11 years with the agency, I have learned that almost everyone, of all backgrounds and ages, knows someone who has been touched by a suicide or someone who is at-risk for suicide. To this day, I am astounded at the numbers and variety of people who reach out to us for help, guidance and support. The tragic loss and its impact on family and others have kept me, the agency’s board as well as our volunteers motivated to keep trying in spite of ongoing challenges to funding our operations and programs.”

“When you are the state’s most trusted name in suicide prevention and grief support for those left behind by a loved one’s suicide and you host more than 30,000 annual visitors to your website, you just cannot give up,” said Panichas. “Instead, you create new opportunities for the public to support you.”

In response to its financial challenges, in late 2011, The Samaritans moved into a new home, in the historic Baker-Hanley House at 67 Park Place in Pawtucket and opened the Forget-Me-Not Fine Art Gallery and Community Education Center. The Gallery will provide new educational awareness and fundraising opportunities through its association with Rhode Island’s artists and artisans. Public education programs will be offered to the community as well as educators. The gallery will also be available for community and special events as well as rentals.

September 2012 Calendar of Events:
September 5, 2012 – The Samaritans of RI 21-hour Crisis Hotline/Listening Line volunteer training begins with an introductory night from (6:00-7:00pm)
Mandatory Classes: September,6th,12th, 13th, 19th, 20th,26th(6-9pm)
Classes meet at the First Unitarian Church Parish Center at One Benevolent Street Benefit Streets in Providence.
All Samaritan volunteers must be 18 years or older; out of high school.

September 10, 2012 – World Suicide Prevention Day – Forget-Me-Not Gallery open house from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
All sales from the gifts shop’s Alex and Ani bracelet collection will benefit The Samaritans Safe Place Grief Support Program.

September 28, 2012 – 35th Anniversary Celebration Event , 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Forget-Me-Not Gallery.
Co-chairs: Rui and Rita Alves, Leonard Lopes and Diane Von Hoffer, Robert and Lidia Oster.
Candlelight Remembrance (weather permitting); Fine Art Exhibit , Reception, Music by Unclaimed Freight,
Wine Grab, Gift Shop. $40 per person/$80 per couple.

September 29, 2012 – Forget-Me-Not Gallery & Memorable Music!
Pawtucket Arts Festival Fringe Festival Event: Forget-Me-Not Gallery & Jazz with Rod Luther!
Free Admission. See Pawtucket Arts Festival web site for more details. www.pawtucketartsfestival.org.

For more information about interviews, public presentations, volunteering, donating and sponsorships or to attend the 35th Anniversary Celebration visit www.samaritansri.org or call The Samaritans of RI business line at 401.721.5220.

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

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