How a game of golf can change the lives of grieving men in our community
"Iron sharpens iron" is an expression widely used.
Ken Schneider, a 15-year volunteer with Fox Valley Hands of Hope, uses the phrase to describe the grief coping process with men.
This year also marks the 15th anniversary of Fox Valley Hands of Hope's M.A.L.E.S. group, which has helped men in our communities who are suffering from grief.
The acronym stands for "Men After Loss Expressing themselves Safely."
Schneider developed the program a few years after the loss of his wife in 2003. Once he received support from Fox Valley Hands of Hope, he knew that he could help other men who were going through similar experiences.
"There weren't any places around for men to openly express themselves in a safe space and learn from each other. Men are not conditioned to feel like they can cry or discuss their emotions without judgment," so Schneider determined to create that safe space.
The group, held on a monthly basis, is open to any man who walks through the doors of the nonprofit mental health organization located in Geneva.
The participants learn about the grief process; their feelings heard and validated.
"True strength is about asking for help and not being unemotional," Schneider said. "It is my job to help them understand that they will smile again, they will laugh again, and they will dance again, but they will never forget and it's OK have to those moments of sorrow."
The M.A.L.E.S. group participants know that Schneider and Fox Valley Hands of Hope are always available if they need help during difficult moments of grief.
Programs like this are made possible by support from the community.
Fox Valley Hands of Hope provides the M.A.L.E.S. group and all other programs at no cost to the community, so that grieving people do not have to worry about payment among all of the other things they are going through.
This year, Fox Valley Hands of Hope is hosting a Golf Classic fundraiser on Aug. 8 to ensure they can continue to change lives through compassionate, heartfelt support.
Tickets are currently available and can be found at one.bidpal.net/fvhhgolf22/welcome. Deadline to sign up is Aug. 1.
"I volunteer for Fox Valley Hands of Hope because I know if I went through what I did, felt the things I did and received the help I did (at FVHH), someone else probably feels the same. I want to now be the one to help teach them that it is important to let themselves be human," Ken said.
Participation at FVHH's annual golf event means that you could also play a part in making a difference in the life of someone grieving.
The third annual outing will begin with registration and lunch at 11:30 a.m. at Eagle Brook Country Club in Geneva. It will be a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. There will be a post-golf reception with open bar and appetizers.
Cost is $275 or $1,100 for a foursome. It includes pre-golf lunch, three drink tickets and post-golf reception.
Admission is $50 for the post-golf reception only. It includes open bar and heavy appetizers.
All monies raised at this event will go directly to fund Fox Valley Hands of Hope's no-cost grief support services.
If there are any questions regarding the event, email Noe Janus, director of development, at email@example.com.