At some point, everyone will experience grief. There is no timetable, and no two people feel it the same way. But it is important to express those feelings in a productive way.
Fox Valley Hands of Hope in Geneva offers programs for all ages and for all circumstances — adults who have lost a spouse, kids who have lost a parent or sibling and adults who have lost a parent — all for free.
Fifteen years ago, Ken Schneider, a volunteer and former client, developed M.A.L.E.S., Men After Loss Expressing themselves Safely, after the loss of his wife. He realized after going through the Fox Valley Hands of Hope program that he could help men in similar circumstances.
“There weren’t any places around for men to openly express themselves in a safe space and learn from each other,” Schneider said in a news release. “Men are not conditioned to feel like they can cry or discuss their emotions without judgment.”
The group is held on a monthly basis and is open to any man who walks through the doors.
To make sure that programs like M.A.L.E.S. and others can stay free to clients, Fox Valley Hands of Hope is hosting a golf outing Monday, Aug. 8 at Eagle Brook Country Club in Geneva.
Claire Culton, Outreach Engagement specialist with Fox Valley Hands of Hope, talks about the organization’s programs and the upcoming golf outing.
Q: What is Fox Valley Hands of Hope? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.
A: Fox Valley Hands of Hope is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to providing compassionate guidance and support to the grieving at no cost to clients.
Oftentimes, people attribute grief to a single moment; however, that painful feeling can last a lifetime. Losing a loved one is not something that someone will simply get over. Instead, grief is a circumstance that will continually be difficult at times and easier in others.
Unattended grief can lead to depressive disorders and behavioral disorders in both children and adults. FVHH clinicians and volunteers combat any negative ramifications that may come with grief by offering a variety of individual and group programs for all ages. We serve people in Kane, Kendall, DuPage, and parts of Cook, McHenry and DeKalb counties.
We are the only organization in the community that provides a multitude of grief specific support options at no cost to those who need help.
Participants and volunteers at the 2021 Family Forest Days. This Fox Valley Hands of Hope program offers families who are coping with loss a day of support, learning, and outdoor fun.
– courtesy of Fox Valley Hands of Hope
Q: How many people per year do you serve?
A: We currently serve over 800 people annually with our programs and are experiencing a rapid increase in those served. Prior to the pandemic, we served as many as 2,200 and we anticipate reaching that number again soon.
Q: What are some of your programs?
A: We provide individual counseling with a licensed clinician. We also provide individual support with a volunteer. We have multiple group program options that cater to specific grief experiences.
For example, our Pathways program is a group for adults who have experienced the loss of a spouse or life partners. Guiding Star is a group for adults who have lost their parent.
Project Hope is our in-school support group for children and youth. For this program, clinicians venture to local schools and facilitate grief groups in the school setting during the school day so that children and youth have a comfortable, convenient location to receive help.
We also have our annual Family Forest Days camp, where families who are coping with loss can have a day of support, learning, and outdoor fun.
We offer all programs in both English and Spanish, and we have both virtual and in-person options for service.
Ken Schneider founded M.A.L.E.S., Men After Loss Expressing themselves Safely, 15 years after the loss of his wife.
– courtesy of Fox Valley Hands of Hope
Q: What is the M.A.L.E.S. group?
A: Our M.A.L.E.S. group is a monthly group for men to get together and process their grief. The acronym stands for Men After Loss Expressing themselves Safely.
Volunteer and former client Ken Schneider created this program 15 years ago as a way for men to have a safe space to express their emotions.
Research shows that men grieve very differently from women. Our society does not make men feel as though they can be emotional without judgment. This group facilitates a setting where men feel like they can be themselves without the judgment of others, because all the other participates have gone through similar circumstances.
This group teaches men that true strength comes from embracing your emotions and learning from them. To learn more about the history and intention of the program, readers can visit the blog post at www.fvhh.net/2022/07/14/golfing-for-mens-grief/.
Q: Tell us about the upcoming Golf Classic to benefit this group. How can people participate?
A: The Golf Classic will take place Monday, Aug. 8, at Eagle Brook Country Club in Geneva. Registration and lunch will open at 11:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. As our players finish their round of golf, we will host a reception with heavy appetizers, a bar, and raffle.
There are many ways for folks to participate in the Golf Classic. If you’re a golfer, we hope you’ll purchase ticket(s) for a foursome and join us on the course. If you’re not a golfer, but would like to support the event and our organization, there are plenty of non-ticketed opportunities, like a hole sponsorship or a ticket to our post-golf reception.
Cost is $275 or $1,100 for a foursome, which includes pre-golf lunch, three drink tickets and post-golf reception. Admission is $50 for the post-golf reception only.
All of the opportunities for support are available at bidpal.net/fvhhgolf22.
Q: How can readers help if they can’t participate in the event?
A: There are other fundraising events on the horizon that readers could look forward to. On Sept. 16, we will host our inaugural mini-golf fundraising event at the St. Charles Park District’s miniature golf course, River View.
In February, we will host our fourth annual beer tasting event as well! Visit our website, www.fvhh.net, and subscribe to our newsletter for more details.
General donations are always a huge help, too. FVHH is also always seeking those interested in volunteering. We are a volunteer driven organization and have as many as 200 volunteers dedicating their time to provide direct and indirect support. To find out how to volunteer, email [email protected] or call (630) 232-2233.
Q: What else would you like readers to know?
A: We are a direct service organization that provides everything for free to our community. Because we receive no “earned” income, we entirely rely on generous community members and entities.
Support from the community through event attendance, donations, or volunteerism means that we can continue to provide quality support to the grieving, all at no cost to those who need help.
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Fox Valley Hands of Hope Golf Classic
What: A golf outing to benefit Fox Valley Hands of Hope’s free grief counseling programs
When: Registration and lunch will open at 11:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8
Where: Eagle Brook Country Club, 2288 Fargo Blvd., Geneva
Cost: $275 or $1,100 for a foursome; $50 for the post-golf reception
To register: bidpal.net/fvhhgolf22