Go ahead, talk to strangers. Start with Hello.

January 17, 2023

“Living in close connection with other humans has made my life brighter, weirder, and better,” Shannon Martin says in her newest book, “Start with Hello.” “Learning to live with ‘neighbor’ as part of my DNA has changed the way I see the world and myself. It has changed who I am and what I believe in.”

Every day in Bridge of Hope, Neighboring Volunteers are building relationships with strangers who are facing homelessness:

  • Showing up to help a family move into a new apartment on New Year’s Day.
  • Taking the children ice skating for their first time.
  • Helping find a cheap car that gets a single mom to her job reliably every day.
  • Walking the Chester Valley trail while getting to know the family.
  • I have frequently heard women in Bridge of Hope say of their Neighboring Volunteers, “they were strangers who became friends.”

Arial, says this about her experience since finding Bridge of Hope: “I found myself facing the unthinkable. My children’s father backed out of all of his responsibilities as a parent and my children and I became homeless. I was working full-time and still could not afford a home for us. My vehicle died. A family member stored all of our belonging but ended up throwing them in a dumpster. We ended up with nothing. I was feeling broken and hopeless. Bridge of Hope was very helpful to us as I slowly began to reconstruct a life for my children and myself. The encouragement I received helped me see for myself that I can regain stability for us. We have a new home that is safe from fighting. I have a reliable car. I have made new friends that care about my children. We are better and stronger because of Bridge of Hope.”

Strangers become new friends. That’s neighboring. Neighboring means walking with a mom and her children facing homelessness. Can you do that?

In 2023, our invitation is to “go and do likewise.”


Edith Yoder
Chief Executive Officer


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Go ahead, talk to strangers. Start with Hello.