HISTORY.

Mid-Peninsula Widows and Widowers Association was founded as a self-help support group in June of 1976. In the beginning this Association consisted of a small group of ten people, brought together at El Camino Hospital by Dr. Dan Dugan, Human Support Coordinator, and by Ms. Helen Gienger Kuckens, who has continued to organize and conduct grief workshops for widowed persons over the years.

The nucleus group grew rapidly, found a larger meeting space, and under the leadership of Marilyn Short as the group's first President, became a chartered, non-profit organization in February, 1977 and registered in 1986 as a non-profit Corporation. By 1984 the membership had grown so large that the meeting room then in use was deemed too small and the group moved to the Social Hall of the Los Altos Lutheran Church, which has continued to be the meeting location. Although we meet at a church our Association is non-sectarian and rents the hall from the church.  We are a non-profit  501C3 organization   Present membership. Is around 240.

ELIGIBILITY -MEMBERSHIP REOUIREMENTS:

Membership is open to persons who have lost their spouse through death. There are no age, religious or ethnic restrictions. It is necessary to clarify that the prospective member must have been legally married to the spouse at the time of death and that if a person has been married more than once, the most recent marriage must have ended with the death of that spouse. Verification by Death Certificate must be presented at the time of membership application.

Meetings are held every Tuesday in the Social Hall at the Los Altos Lutheran Church, 460 S. El Monte, Los Altos. from 7:30-9:30 p.m.  .  Three meetings may be attended without obligation. Further attendance at meetings or participation in social activities requires payment of membership dues, which are $66 annually and are renewable on the first of February.

PURPOSE OF MEETINGS:

             1 .        To give comfort during the grief and adjustment period; the unique qualities of this group provide the understanding of those who have gone through the same experience. Every effort is made to provide caring and support for all those who need it.

             2.         Outside social activities are planned and discussed.   We find that active participation helps the healing process and we encourage early participation in order to achieve a sense of belonging.

             3.         Guest speakers are invited to discuss such topics as Social Security, finances,  home repairs, job reentry, education, self-awareness, mental and physical health, problems of living alone, and other topics of interest to us. We also frequently have musical and travel programs, skits, fashion shows, line dancing and other forms of entertainment.

             4.         Discussion groups provide opportunities to share problems and express feelings.

             5.         New members are invited to participate in the First Year Club which was established to help them become integrated into the Association. An informal Orientation Meeting is presented periodically as part of the First Year Club.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES:

Social activities are an important part of our association. They include group travel excursions, potlucks, bingo, golf, bowling, walks/hikes, dining out, bridge, poker, game nights/drop-ins, book clubs, art clubs, picnics and holiday parties.

CONCLUSION:

We are proud of our organization. We care for each other. We each know the loss and hurt experienced by the death of a spouse. Together we hope to make adjustments easier. A great number of people have been helped by this very special group in the years since its inception. We hope it will be of -help to you.