When it comes to the volunteer contributions of Dean and Dorothy Hearn, it might be easier to list what they haven’t done (yet) for Interfaith Works, because they have done so much: making meals for our shelter, supporting database needs at our Interfaith Clothing Center, singing in our Hope Choir, and more.

But at the heart of it all is their incredible commitment to mentoring families in crisis through our Friends In Action (FIA) program. Through their church, Saint Mark Presbyterian in Bethesda, the Hearns have been part of mutliple teams that make a one-year commitment and fill in gaps in the lives of a family in crisis, with the support of IW staff. Retirees who are dedicated to volunteering, Dean and Dorothy have met many families’ needs in diverse ways, tutoring children and helping parents with financial guidance, job coaching and advocating with teachers. It is a big commitment. But Dean says, “I think we’ve been rewarded by this program.” The Hearns estimate they have been on more than a dozen FIA mentor teams!

For one FIA family that emigrated from Iran and struggled for stability, Dean and Dorothy essentially became surrogate grandparents to the family’s two young boys. Recently, the Hearns were ecstatic to get a special invitation to come to Baltimore to stand with them as “family” during their naturalization ceremony. “It was a big thrill,” Dean says. He was pleased to tell them as the years pass and they stay in close touch, they are no longer their FIA family. “You are our friends.”