Samantha Grier who was, by her own description and memory, “always a God conscious little kid” who did not get a lot of parental attention from her parents who were busy earning a living. She remembers being at their children’s clothing store often, and as they were naturally busy, she read a lot. As years went on, she found not only that she was on the road to spiritual grown but that she had a talent for synthesizing abstract concepts and principals into practical applications.
Armed with this natural ability and multiple degrees in child development, she was ready to ease pain and suffering in children, and founded The Parents Place on the east coast. When she came to SF, a resource center in the planning asked permission to use the name Parents’ Place, now a thriving organization five locations in the San Francisco) Samantha, always her eye on new emotional needs, realized that people who go to Parents’ Place are good parents, and there was still real pain to tackle in the world of children. In the San Francisco Bay Area over 10,000 children are in foster care, and now add to childhood suffering, the children who are orphans in war zones and those who are, with parents, refugees.
Samantha has taken on the world of anguished children, and with her talent for synthesizing she founded Caring For Children designed to address the emotional needs of children in crisis. She works with police in how to avoid re-traumatizing children who have to be ripped away from home and parents for any variety of reasons. Her goal is to increase the chances of a distressed child’s growing up without sky high anxieties, anger, and inability to manage emotions. Enter the teddy bear. She knew from the psychoanalytic literature that Teddy Bears are transitional objects that give in fantasy what children do not get in reality. Teddy Bears reduce anxiety, bedwetting and nightmares, but it is only a first step. The children still need help to elevate self-esteem and reduce anger. As every issue drives Samantha to a practical solution, she has plan for this built into the Teddy Bear.
You may know Samantha in her other incarnation Shulamit Sofia, her spiritual and pen name for her Soul Strength Seminars and her book Climbing the Sacred Ladder, based on the Biblical story of Jacob’s ladder. The book, like Samantha herself, is spiritually complicated, with its steps to reaching many levels of spiritual ascent and to get rid of what she laughingly calls, “stinkin’ thinkin”, so it is best heard in her own smart, loving, humor filled, experienced voice. And, how did she come to the name Shulamit Sofia? It all makes such sense, and, she is sure that God is behind this miracle of the success.
Love Letters? Samantha, who has actually not yet written to her children and grandchildren, nails the need for thought before reaching for that pen and paper. She sees that a great love letter is the combination of passion and planning, and has the art of it down so pat that now she will write those letters. Her own life documented in her own penmanship will be a personal treasure now, to family and friends for generations, and an important historical treasure in decades to come. Oh, and it turns out she has literal love letters she has from long ago? Just listen to it all. And, given her ability to take the concept to reality, she now has a project to send 5,000 Teddy Bears to Jordan where the first batch of Syrian refugees have gone. Maybe an actual letter with each? Hard to organize, but she is on it.
Every concept for Samantha seems to be a starting point for a new way to reach people. You might like to know that the Teddy Bear plot thickened beautifully when three years into her work, her sister reminded her of a long buried memory. Samantha herself as a child was very attached to a teddy bear. How about a love letter to her sister for the memory or a love letter to her first Teddy Bear? There is no limit to what love can be put to paper, stamped and mailed.