Companions of the Way Community
The Companions live and work with the poor and marginalized in an intentional community, centered in a small housing complex in Salinas (the ‘Mercy Center’), and on the second floor of Dorothy's Hospitality Center (located at 30 Soledad St.) called the House of Peace. As full-time volunteers, we receive housing at no charge and a small monthly allowance for unmet living expenses. Our quest is to “Imagine Paradise, Practice Beauty”. The quest is not just a means for us, but an end in itself – to live lives of “holy daring”, with grace, gentleness, enthusiasm and joy. We are challenged to grow in a passionate commitment to God, one another, and to the world through a sincere practice of meditation and the “Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings.” We have a communal commitment to an expansive vision of personal and social possibilities.
Who got us started - the Smiths!
Robert began a Catholic Worker group in Salinas in the 1980's, and over 30 years it has evolved into Dorothy's Place. Robert is passionate about Michelle, Donovan, Devin, Rose of Sharon, and you better believe he makes some good soup! Robert is known for the great love he has, which continues to spread throughout the Salinas Valley and beyond. You can read Robert's writing at www.theburninghand.com!
Michelle is an elementary school teacher. She loves playing with Donovan, Devin, and Rose of Sharon. Her loving kindness and laughter bring warmth and joy to all.
Donovan and Devin
Loves riding 2 wheel bikes, camping, art, adventures, picking flowers, and being with family. Especially helping to care for...
Rose of Sharonthe Smith's amazing daughter!
Who are we?
Reverend Shinko Rick is a Zen Priest and lineage holder in the Soto tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He was a member of the Franciscan Workers in 1991 and 1992. He then got distracted by a blue jay and spent 18 years in Zen temples listening to that silly bird. Now he is back with us, with the aspiration to create a little holy mischief with his time. Jacob is actively taking Aikido. He has a wisdom and height beyond his years. Jacob used to live at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and is Rick’s son. Right now he is 12 almost 13 and loves Star Trek. Currently he pops in and out of the Jefferson Street community because lives both with his dad in Salinas and his mom in Sebastopol. Bill is wicked funny! He has worked as a community organizer in Phoenix, Boston, and Chicago for nearly 15 years. Bill is most passionate about organizing in marginalized communities to create partnerships between social service agencies and the people they serve. Bill was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ and he enjoys spoken work, going on coffee house dates, sight seeing, cooking Sonoran style Mexican food, watching movies, and aqua aerobics! Bill's passion here at Dorothy's Place is in peer group organizing and advocacy.
Brittany is a delighted and passionate lover of life. She spends time swimming, gardening, bicycling, and cooking gluten free! She gets excited about new people and experiences and is very comfortable in a busy room full of friends. Her primary projects and passions are living and serving at the House of Peace, being a good aunt and sister to her local family, and being loving and compassionate to her partner Audrey.
Greg serves in the Dayroom and coordinates recruitment for the community. Greg enjoys the interplay of conversation, sitting meditation with Rick and the community, hiking, and reading, and is an avid musician with 20 years of experience in experimental rock, jazz, country, and classical.
Michael is the coordinator of St. Clare's Corner program at our residence on Jefferson Street where he serves the poor (generally the farm workers in our area) with emergency food and household goods during the months of November through May. He is also the relief coordinator for Dorothy's Kitchen, caretaker of our residence and just a generally indispensable baseball fanatic!
What Do We Do?
Here are the programs that we lead in our community:
Dorothy's Kitchen Dorothy's Kitchen opens at 8:30 in the morning for a hot breakfast for our guests, serving around 150 each day. The Kitchen also serves a hot lunch everyday of the week at 1:00. We average 200 lunch meals daily.
Day Room The Day Room at Dorothy's Place Hospitality Center is designed to be a gathering place where the homeless, marginalized, and others who are our guests can socialize. They may also take care of basic health needs, and access other services that are geared towards helping them live with greater dignity and discover possible "next steps" for their lives.
Peter Maurin Screen Printers The goal of the Peter Maurin Screen Printers is to create job training and income opportunities for guests of Dorothy's Place who are ready for a "next step" after volunteering, while creating business revenue that supports our Women Alive! Emergency Shelter. Our emphasis is building self-esteem and confidence among our members and creating a work environment without overwhelming stress. Still, we are a business working in a competitive environment and we all work together to exceed our customers' expectations. We are mindful of our members’ limitations in capacity but intent on building relationships that support a desire to exceed those limitations.
Women Alive! We are committed to women living on the streets. The primary objective of our program is to create a safe, non-judgmental, nurturing space for women beginning with an emergency overnight shelter. Currently, Women Alive! is the only emergency walk-in shelter for street women in Monterey County.
@risk Artisan Gallery where art is practiced and shared. Whether therapeutic, recycled, practical or mystical, modern or anti-modern, world class or anti-class, @RisK is art of, by and for the people. Features work by the homeless and marginalized of our Chinatown neighborhood, on consignment with 75% of the proceeds going to the artist, creating income for those with barriers to employment.
Youth Alive! Our Youth Alive! Program offers year-round academic support and recreational activities at a farm worker community (Campesinos Jimenez and Camphora) in Soledad, CA. In relationship with youth and parents, we have co-created a culturally responsive curriculum that:
- focuses on literacy in language arts, science, and math
- decrease isolation and marginalization of youth and families through field-trips with cultural, social, and environmental foci
- honors the history, culture, and experiences of the community; and
- supports creative expression of youth and families as a means of reclaiming dignity and voice, healing, and celebration.
St. Clare's Corner St. Clare's Corner opened in 1982 to provide household goods, clothing, and food to families in need who live in the general neighborhood of our Community Center in Salinas. Clare's is open during the winter months of high unemployment, October- May. By offering this assistance, Clare's serves as a necessary buffer to help families through these difficult months. Clare's continues our vision of neighborhoods of mutual aid. Since our Salinas community has many seasonal farm workers, the need is great.