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‘Faces of Hope Who Give’ luncheon tickets on sale

By Staff | Oct 11, 2019

Tickets are on sale for this year’s “Faces of Hope Who Give,” a mental health luncheon.

Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida, who has partnered with Lee Health and Kids’ Minds Matter, the title sponsors, is presenting “Faces of Hope Who Give” Mental Health Luncheon Monday, Oct. 28, at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 1380 Colonial Blvd., in Fort Myers.

“It’s a great chance to broaden the conversation to the whole community and really raise awareness, advocacy and support for mental illness, and how as a community, we can have a better response. Florida nationally ranks at nearly the very end of states that provides funding for mental health programs. We are working hard to do better, (since we are) one of the more populated areas of Florida. We are working hard to make those dollars stretch,” Hope Clubhouse Executive Director James Wineinger said.

The luncheon, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., has VIP reserve tickets for $100. To purchase tickets, or sponsorships, visit www.hopeclubhouse.org.

“Lee Health’s sponsorship of Hope Clubhouse through Kids’ Minds Matter is absolutely vital, not just because mental illness knows no age limit, but, equally, because we must offer those afflicted the promise of dignity, purpose and a loving community. Simply put, this is our calling as a moral, compassionate and humane society,” Paul G. Simeone, Lee Health vice president and medical director of behavioral and mental health, said in a prepared statement.

Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, is the keynote speaker. Wineinger said she will talk about some of the economic impacts, not just regarding mental illness, but what the positive impacts are of keeping people healthy.

He said a few professionals from Lee Health will also share a few words about the emerging services they are offering for people living with mental illness.

“I’m looking forward to another great luncheon,” Wineinger said. “It would be great to have a sell-out. It would be the first in the history of the luncheon.”

In 2018 “Faces of Hope” raised a record-breaking $133,000. This year they hope to reach the $200,000 mark.

Wineinger said the luncheon really shows the Lee County community providing support.

“There are tremendous leaders in the community that are also working on this issue to bring more awareness and programs for those living with mental illness. We have dozens of supporters in the room that are really backing our efforts both financially and other ways to partner with us and make Fort Myers a better community for everybody,” he sad.

Wineinger said they have provided services in Fort Myers for nearly nine years. The clubhouse supports those living with mental illness by providing access to employment, housing, education and wellness.

“Those are the activities that we focus on here at our facility on Broadway,” he said. “We help people get reconnected to the larger community in all those ways and other ways as well.”

Hope Clubhouse provides a starting point for its members by providing a home base and foundation for those looking to reconnect and get their lives back on track. The clubhouse also encourages members to help other members in a peer support effort.

“We really try to build that into our community where there is opportunities for those kind of friendships and mutual supports to be created and maintained,” Wineinger said.

Hope Clubhouse sees about 140 individuals, 18 years of age and older, who are considered active members, individuals that participate in a program at least once in a 90-day period.

“Over the course of the year we see nearly 300 people. It’s a voluntary schedule and people can come and go. We have a group of members that are here nearly every day. Others come in periodically when they need more support,” he said.

When those members are reconnecting with their friends and family, or are back on a job, or starting a new job, Wineinger said they see them less at the clubhouse.

Hope Clubhouse has begun to reach out and partner with some of the high schools in the area, he said, because they are looking to engage the younger adults, who are closer to the 18-year-old age frame.

Approximately 660,000 adults and 181,000 children live with serious mental illness, according to Florida statistics, which includes bipolar disorder, severe depression or schizophrenia. One in five children, ages 13 to 18, will experience a severe mental health issue, according to statistics.

More than $3 million was raised last year by Kids’ Minds Matter to open doors for children who need psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health resources.

In addition, Kids’ Minds Matter is helping Lee Health launch TelePsyche, a first of its kind program to offer advice and counseling through digital services for such concerns as depression, anxiety and trauma.