Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton to Headline Samaritas ‘Be the Rock’ Gala

Tickets to VIP Reception Available Now

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Samaritas, one of Michigan’s largest nonprofit health and human service organizations, will host its annual Be the Rock event on Monday, Sept. 19, at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids to raise funds and awareness about its many programs to help Michigan’s vulnerable populations. The gala will feature a keynote speech by Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist, best-selling author, and adoptive father.

“We’re thrilled to have Scott Hamilton join us for our return to the Amway Grand Plaza for an in-person event,” said Sam Beals, CEO at Samaritas. “This gala is more than an elegant evening out with friends. It’s a major fundraiser that helps us pay for programs and services that support families and individuals in need of healing and support.”

Hamilton, an adoptive father of two and an adoptee himself, will deliver a keynote speech to inspire guests to consider adoption, especially to adopt the 231 unmatched foster children in Michigan, who need a loving family to care for them.

Permanent foster care, or long-term foster care, is when a child’s parents have lost custodial rights, usually due to severe neglect and/or abuse. Through Samaritas, foster children are placed with adults until their families can care for them again. Many foster children who cannot return home, typically six years old and older, will never find a forever home. Statistics show that foster kids unable to find a forever home are more likely to become homeless, misuse substances, have an unwanted pregnancy, or become impoverished. Loving families willing to adopt or foster older children can break this cycle of instability and provide a safe haven for them to heal and flourish.

During the annual Be the Rock Gala, Samaritas will recognize business leaders for creating ripples of positive change throughout the community. This year’s recipients include Bing Goei of Eastern Floral for his work with the Asian American community, as well as Berkshire Hathaway and ZoomInfo for their community outreach efforts.

Samaritas serves thousands throughout Michigan, including refugees, children in foster care, adults with developmental disabilities, people struggling with substance use disorders, and those in need of affordable housing.

Visit samaritas.org/BeTheRock for Be the Rock Gala ticket information, including a special VIP reception with Scott Hamilton. 

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430