New Hope has backing of “100 Women” who donate to chosen charities
Posted on 10/03/2019
Members of 100 Women joined with employees and board members of New Hope to present the funds to the grief support nonprofit.The reach of New Hope has snowballed since they moved to downtown Northville in August 2017. Avenues for their message of hope and healing after the death of a loved one have expanded due to word of mouth, social media and solid media coverage. A greater number of facilitators, all of whom have been through the program, lead support groups that are blossoming in size and categories. They have received new sources of funding, including a recent donation of $13,300 from the group 100 Women Who Care – Northville.

Volunteer facilitator Debbie Damesworth was instrumental in that contribution and she herself is one of the 160 members of the Northville chapter. At each quarterly meeting, the group listens to appeals from four different charities and votes on which one to support. Each woman donates $100 to that quarter’s cause.

Damesworth, who sought services from New Hope after losing her husband Bob suddenly 10 years ago, spoke eloquently to the 100 Women group at Genitti’s about the need for grief support and its lasting imprint on people served by the nonprofit. (See speech here.) 

“I was so honored to be chosen from the 100 Women group in August and very excited for the presentation of checks on Sept. 18. When I saw the article about 100 Women Who Care in the ‘Ville (magazine), I just knew this was something I wanted and needed to do,” Damesworth said about her impetus for joining. (View website here.)

Reflecting on her journey after losing her husband, she said, “With grief…it’s always there. There’s a hole in my heart that will never be repaired but God has expanded my heart to pull in others. What helps me is to pass that on. There is a purpose for me. I’ve always loved people but I never thought I’d be talking in front of people. The opposite of faith is fear. I’m not the same person that I was.”

She says if she had not had New Hope as a resource, “I think I would have struggled. It was a shock when my husband died. If you don’t work on your grief, you’re going to be stuck where you’re at. My church was supportive when it happened and tried to be during my recovery but they were going through their grief – Bob was their friend.”

A vital ingredient of New Hope’s program is peer support. Small groups of people who’ve encountered the same type of loss (death of a spouse, child, parent, or someone who died by suicide or an overdose) are grouped together. The sessions (typically 8 weeks) are led by a trained volunteer facilitator who weaves aspects of grief and methods of healing into the discussion.

People who grieve “totally understand all the wrapped-up emotions I was feeling and still do today,” Damesworth said. “I learned that everything I was feeling was normal…from the shock to the denial, to the pain, to the guilt, to the anger, to the realization, to the new normal.”

New Hope’s vision is to be a bereavement resource center for Southeast Michigan that creates a safer community for grieving people by providing support, education, community, and practical resources to grieving adults, children and families. The nonprofit also provides training, education, and practical resources to volunteers, community leaders, and organizations that serve and interact with people who are grieving.

Funds from the 100 Women will be used to provide free peer support, programs, services and referrals. Specifically, it will assist these programs:

1. The 8-Week Workshop “From Grief to New Hope” – cover the cost of 80 individuals
2. Expand the Novi and Northville Starting Again support groups for widows and widowers
3. Networking expenses – Share information about New Hope Center for Grief Support in new venues and in front of new groups

“New Hope has a five-year plan to expand,” Damesworth said. “We need facilitators, volunteers and donors to get there.”

The group also holds workshops at Brightmoor Church in Novi and Ward Church in Northville Township. Some of their support groups meet at Hillside Church, Maybury State Park, and at a church in Dearborn. Support groups are best kept to 10 people to allow each a chance to talk, Damesworth noted. The 8-week workshop - From Grief to New Hope - had 50 people 10 years ago; last spring there were 130 people.

New Hope has four staff members, the rest of the team of 150 are volunteers. For more information, visit their website.