SOS President Dave Freeman's remarks at SOS's 39th Anniversary event:
Good Evening everyone and welcome to Singles Outreach Services Inc. 39th anniversary celebration. Some of you may be thinking that we just had an anniversary, and you would be right for in August we celebrated our 37th year as a corporation.
Tonight we are celebrating the beginning of Singles Outreach. We found the document that was issued to our founder Gregg Baldwin Millett PhD. on October 21st 1983, for doing business as Singles Outreach Support.
It was the vision of one man who saw the need for an organization of this type that quickly grew. A mailing list was created and increased monthly. February 1985 the list doubled from 300 – 600. By April of that year the mailings were expanded to 18 cities and towns reaching 1,155 people.
In April of 1985 a membership count was being listed in the newsletter. In October of 1985 2 years after our beginning we reached over 1,000 members. Singles Outreach continued to grow, and the idea of one man soon became a corporation of over 5,000 members strong.
Singles Outreach was designed to be a place for those in a transitional position in their life and was there for over 50,000 people that have come and were helped to move on. Though we are not a dating service several marriages stemmed from our membership as well many valuable friendships. The visions of one man, Gregg Baldwin Millett PhD., changed many lives.
With that, Singles Outreach grew to be the largest organization for singles in the United States, and today as other singles organizations have folded due to competition of the internet, Singles Outreach Services has survived and thanks to all of you is now the oldest Singles organization in the United States.
Our survival is due to all of our volunteers that serve on the board and as advisors; Dave, Esther, Gerald, Scott, Luella, Bonnie, Pat, Loretta, Joyce. Advisors Ann, Maria, Joan, Jerry.
Executive Director Ann Who accomplishes many tasks in the day to day running of our corporation.
Our volunteers hosting events, Dan - Indoor and Outdoor Tennis, Judy - Bowling, John - Outdoorsy Stuff, Martha - Golf, Lynn, Maureen, and Stephanie - hosting dining adventures. Scott – Potlucks & Bingo, Maria - Scheduling facilitators for Real World, Pat - hosting mahjong, Pat, Joan Bonnie, and Ann - hosting special events, Luella - hosting Game Night. And a big thank you to you our members for your continued support.
I am one of those lives changed for the better after joining SOS. I unfortunately did not join in time to meet Gregg, but his corporation changed my life for the better, I met my lovely fiancée’ here and I myself have made many valuable friendships.
I would like to share a couple of stories with you before I open up the floor to those of you wishing to share a story or two. I was at a point in my life where I felt the current chapter I was living was about to come to an end and a new one would soon begin. I decided to check out singles outreach. I came to their bowling night after finding the information on-line. I figured that would be easy enough to go to the bowling alley and check out the group without them knowing that I was there for them.
I observed the group and decided to go over and meet them; they were very friendly and receiving, and I had a great time that night. A few of the bowlers tried to get me to come to game night the following Saturday.
I thought about it and decided to go. I arrived an hour early, and waited in my car for someone to come and open up. After about a half hour of waiting I got cold feet and decided to leave. I started up the car and drove as far as Price Chopper and pulled into their parking lot as I sat there I tried to convince myself to go back. I drove out of the parking lot back onto Central Avenue and found myself turning to return to SOS. When I returned there were lights on inside. It was about quarter of so I decided to wait until 7 to go in. As I waited in my car another car pulled in and a woman got out and headed towards the door. She saw me sitting in my car and began talking to me from a distance as she approached my car. At first I thought she recognized me from bowling, but I didn’t recognize her. She asked if I was there for game night. I replied well sort of not sure if I am going in she simply touched my shoulder and said I do wish that you will join us. It was that act of kindness that encouraged me to go in and join game night. I was glad that I did. I had a great time and feel like I made a few friends that night.
I then attended more events and as a result I met many great people and over the years have made several friendships that I cherish today.
It is with this memory and several experiences that I have had with SOS over the years that I was able to answer a question that was posed a couple months ago. A member posed the question what are members getting for their membership fee. My practical side responded they get a newsletter, weekly updates, and reduced rate on events. I then posed the question to someone else whose take was they get this wonderful room to come to as well as my aforementioned reasons.
I too have thought about this and pondered the question with so many of those that have come and gone. I ask “What brought them here? What did we offer them? What did they get out of it? Did we succeed in helping them?
Then I reflect back to five years ago, and the road the led me to Singles Outreach Services. Why did I come here? How did I benefit? Why did I stay? Why do I pay the $30.00 still?
As I remember March 2017, and the events that led me to this door, I am able to answer those questions and the original question posed at our retreat on August 19, 2022.
Events in my life that led up to March 2017, that led to the realization that change in my life was inevitable. One chapter of my life was ending, the next unwritten, a time where I stood at a crossroads to which way does my life path lead? One thing I knew I needed was purpose in my life, a sense of belonging, Family Friends, a reason to leave the house. Thoughts and feelings that led to the positive actions that caused those in need to seek out our door. Like most of the people that find their way here, I found acceptance, friendship, a place to go and feel welcomed, something to look forward to, a reason to leave the house; I found the next chapter in my life, like I am sure that some of you have found as well. Like many people that have come through our door and found the way to move on with their life, I found purpose, a sense of belonging, friends, and family. As I look out now and see all of you, I thank you for the best $30.00 I ever invested.
It was Thursday the 19th of May when I opened for our writer’s workshop. Only one person attended that night, but I decided to proceed with the event anyway. It seemed to me that this person needed to have something to do.
We waited a bit before starting, but no one else showed. I had a book of writing prompts, asked the person attending to give me a number she chose nineteen.
We turned to that page and read aloud the writing prompt. It instructed us to write about how you met your significant other. We sat for a while working on our stories, when we had finished it was time to share.
I read mine, she then took her turn. She read her story with great feeling a story that was very well written. After she had finished, she explained that nineteen had a special meaning for her, today being the 19th; it was her late husband’s birthday.
She thanked me for the opportunity to write about this, that it had provided her with great comfort. Her take on tonight’s event reconfirmed for me the purpose of our organization.
To offer a safe place for people to come to, feel comfortable in just being their selves. Even though this event was not well attended, I feel that the results of the evening made it a great success.
In closing, I would just like to thank all of you for coming tonight, but more importantly thank you for being a part of us. Thank you for keeping the vision of one man alive today.
I would like to propose a toast to our founder and friend, a man who came, saw and delivered what was needed to change many lives and still continues to do so today. To Gregg, thank you.
"SHOW YOUR MEMBERSHIP CARD AT ALL EVENTS". Look for your card and keep it in your wallet. You will be asked for it at each event. We will continue this throughout the year.
For further information on any events or to contact the activity leader, call the office at 518-452-6883, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will get back to you.
Celebrating over 35 Years of service
to Capital Region Singles!
Interview with Dave Freeman, Singles Outreach President, on Schenectady Today March 2022
Every Tuesday Evening
Every Tuesday Evening starting at 7pm this disc ussion offers a chance to engage in a wide range of directed conversations. We finish at 9 pm, and those who wish can adjourn to the nearby O’Toole’s Sports Pub for continued conversation and half price appetizers. Want to get your feet wet in the SOS experience? This is a good place to start.
$3 members - $5 non-members.
Tuesdays at 7 PM
Call 518-452-6883 or email us for more information.
Jazz Sax Performer Alan Darcy performance on Sept. 5
New Year's Day Snowshoe Hike at Moreau State Park.
Nice day to enjoy the snow and sunshine and start on our resolutions for 2018! L-R Ellen, Bob, Joe, Emily, Frosty the Snowman, Michele, Bob, Tom and Erica (behind the camera)