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Zerik Samples wears many hats, including serving as a youth minister and actor in community theatre. 

A quick peek at Zerik Samples' schedule is enough to make anyone's head spin. He certainly has a full plate with his job as chief development officer with the Community Action of Coastal Georgia. Then there's his work as a youth minister, co-music director and chorus member at Philadelphia Overcomer's Church of Deliverance.

But wait, there's more. Samples is also an active member of the local theatre community, performing in musicals and productions throughout the Golden Isles. While many would feel overwhelmed with so many items on the "to do" list, Samples is truly in his element, moving seamlessly from one role to another. 

"My schedule is crazy," he said with a laugh. "My parents are what I call 'workaholics.' They worked really hard to provide a better life for my brother and I, and I think we picked up that skill. But I'm passionate about everything I do."

That starts with his profession. Samples animatedly speaks at length about his work and its mission to benefit the community. 

"I believe that a rising tide raises all boats and everyone will thrive," he said. "I came back to Brunswick after college and finishing my master's degree because I really wanted to be able to help people here."

He started with YMCA in McIntosh County. There, Samples was able to help programs that benefited those in the community, many of whom are his kin folk.

"My mom's side of the family is from McIntosh County and my dad's side is from Atlanta. I've always envisioned helping the community where my family lived ... you know, paying it forward. We have a huge and supportive family. Everybody (in McIntosh) is pretty much either related to us by blood or marriage," he said with a laugh.

"My family really holds strong to their roots, and I wanted to make an impact in their life. I had an opportunity at the Y to do that through a program called Teen Achievers. Some of my relatives were actually in that program, which was great."  

Samples continued to generate positive change through the Community Action of Coastal Georgia, which covers nine counties including Glynn and McIntosh. 

"We cover everyone ... from the cradle to the grave. We have programs that can help everyone," he said.  

Some of the many programs include HeadStart, senior care programs, as well as aid for weatherizing homes and financial planning education. Each of the offerings is geared toward helping those struggling find a hand up rather than distributing handouts.  

"We truly feel that it is our duty our job to educate the families. The population that we deal with is on a lower socio-economic income level. A lot of times they don't know how to advocate for themselves. Community Action gives them an opportunity to learn to do that," he said. "That's truly self sufficiency, when a family can gain the resources that they need on their own."

When not helping families set course for success, Sample can be found at his church, where he shares his faith through music, as co-music director. He is also a youth minister and recently led a children's Vacation Bible School program.  

"You know, you go to work and then you have to teach VBS at night, then go back to work and sometimes you think, 'Why am I putting myself through this?'" he said with a laugh. "But it is all about helping someone understand the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is so worth it."  

But Samples does manage to carve out some rare "me" time. And that's usually participating in community theatre productions. He's been a part of a number of shows, most recently in Showstoppers at the Brunswick Actors Theater downtown. 

"That's where I'm in my element," he said with a smile. "It's a release from being in control and having so many obligations. It's a time where you can take on a role of someone else in play. That's just for me."

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