Widowed Persons Outreach - Helping and Healing
Since 1992, Widowed Persons Outreach - Helping and Healing, has been providing bereavement help to people in our community who are newly widowed. Thirty years ago, Phyllis Silverman, through the Laboratory of Community Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School studied spousal bereavement. Her goal was to develop a program to help newly widowed people. At that time, it was thought that bereavement and mourning lasted just six weeks. When she interviewed widowed people, they set her straight. They told her that "...at the end of two years if your head is screwed back on your shoulders and turned around to the future, you're lucky." She asked them what was most helpful to them during their bereavement. The overwhelming reply was "other widowed people". The results of this study were the foundation for widowed persons groups throughout the country.
Widowed Persons Outreach now has 33 volunteers - men and women who have been widowed themselves, have taken our Volunteer Training and are now helping newly widowed people through their own grief. They do this in a variety of ways: one-on-one help, support groups, social activities, educational events, and a bi-monthly newsletter. WPO has an on-going Bereavement Support Group that meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at Sibley Hospital, and a six-week Bereavement Support Group at IONA Senior Services.
If you have been widowed for over two years and would like to volunteer with WPO, call Marti Bailey, WPO Coordinator, at (202) 364-7602. Peg Masi, WPO Volunteer says, "We are always in need of volunteers. It is very rewarding. Helping others in turn helps you. We all feel the need to repay the comfort and support we received when we needed it most."
If you know someone who is recently widowed and would like help, consider telling him or her about Widowed Persons Outreach - Helping and Healing
. (202) 537-4942.
Click here to view the recent Widowed Persons Outreach Newsletter
In addition to the newsletter, visit the blog Cry, Laugh, Heal, which brings a discussion about grief and its journey to the online community.
Widowed Persons Outreach Volunteers attend the Annual Holiday Luncheon at a local restaurant. WPO provides bereavement services including one-on-one help, a support group, a newsletter, and also social events that help the newly widowed person re-integrate into the community.
Widowed Persons Outreach - Helping and Healing is a free community service sponsored by Sibley Hospital and in partnership with IONA Senior Services, Capital Hospice, William Wendt Center for Loss and Healing and Joseph Gawler's Sons, Inc.
Read the July/August 2011 Newsletter here.