“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

See What Our Volunteers Are Saying


My year of working as a volunteer at SOME gave me invaluable experience in a new field. With the breadth of programs at SOME, I was able to combine my interests in direct service and systemic change. The training I received helped me transition from my service year to an amazing new job… at SOME.”
— Joni


My experience as a long-term volunteer with SOME was nothing like I expected.

First off, Gandhi House is a privilege.  Not being familiar with anything other than the downtown area, I was expecting a much less comfortable home and neighborhood.  I loved the early mornings and evenings sitting out on the front porch.

As a Volunteer Corps member I helped the Development Team and found myself working with an amazing group of people to plan SOME’s  Senior Summer Camp.  Imagine taking some of the most underserved people in our nation’s Capital out into the countryside of West Virginia for a week of fun and relaxation?  There are just no words to describe the gratitude I felt being part of that experience.

It seemed like every time I looked deeper into the workings of SOME all around Washington, DC, I became more and more in awe of the depth of their reach into the community.  I met incredible people, both clients and employees.  I expect to remain life-long friends with most of the other long-term volunteers who I lived with at Gandhi House.

It was the first year of my retirement from a 35-year career.  My three sons were grown and had flown the nest.  I was free to start a new chapter in life doing something more fulfilling.   My year at SOME was the perfect springboard.
— Nancy



For me, my time at SOME offered a wide-range of useful life experiences that I carry with me today. Some of this includes valuable professional experience as a tutor and curriculum designer with the Center for Employment Training (CET.) I also learned a great deal of practical knowledge as a Life Skills Coordinator at the Shalom House. Both of these positions gave me hands-on experience that helped sharpen my own long-term career abilities.

But beyond the valuable work experience, I learned a great deal about the goodness of the human spirit from my time as a long-term volunteer with SOME. As I write this now, I can still remember the many smiles that I would see on a daily basis from the many people connected with SOME as employees, volunteers, and participants in SOME’s countless programs. The true beauty in being a part of SOME is realizing the organization’s amazing connection to both the real and the ideal in our world. SOME directly faces some of the hardest challenges a human can face; hunger, homelessness, sickness, pain, etc. These obstacles are among the toughest pains in this world. Yet SOME meets them with a culture of compassion, love, respect, and dignity for all. Life is not easy and SOME recognizes that, yet within all of us are the tools to help each other bring out our individual best. Even in the darkest scenarios, we help each other find the light.

Since I finished my time volunteering, I continue each year as a camp counselor for SOME’s senior citizen summer camp. Even though I am no longer in the DC area, I can use this time to connect to the “bubble of kindness” that is such a defining aspect of the camp experience, and of SOME in general. I often say, I get more from summer camp than the senior citizens!

Ultimately, when I work with SOME, I can honestly feel like I am connecting to the very best parts of myself. And that is what I take away more than anything else from my time as volunteer with SOME - a connection to my own best self. — Tim



I have always been drawn to efforts that foster nonviolence, community, and overall respect for self and others; my time with SOME was a natural transition into concrete work that incorporates all of these values on a daily basis ] The year I spent as a SOME volunteer was inspiring, frustrating, joyful and exhausting but I could not have asked for a more supportive or dedicated group of individuals to work with and learn from. Above all, the experience was an eye-opening tutorial of the interconnected nature of poverty, homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse that helped me define how I wanted to make a difference in my community. — Marissa



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