YWOW is a community of younger widows and widowers that started in the Hampton Roads area of Southeast Virginia.
Since YWOW formed, we've been asked all sorts of great questions. Here are some of the more common ones. If you have a question, please feel free to ask. You can reach us on our Contact Us page. Just click the button above to reach us.
~ How young is young? YWOW does not have a cut off age. In 2000, when YWOW was founded, there were no organizations available to tend to the needs of the "younger" widowed person. This is not your traditional grandparent's widowhood. We have supported individuals in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's plus. Our average age group is 35-55 years of age. Most of our members are still working full time, raising kids, putting kids through college, and leading a very active life in the community.
~ Is YWOW a Dating Service? No. When an individual becomes widowed their whole world is shattered. Their emotional, physical, spiritual, mental and social entities have changed forever. A widowed individual can be very unstable, vulnerable and intimidated. YWOW's mission is to provide a safe environment and high screening process to keep anyone with an ulterior motive away so that you can process your healing journey safely. When you become ready to get your feet wet again, we have meetings specifically for issues involving dating again.
~ What type of support do you offer? YWOW offers companioning support. We offer structured workshops, structured and unstructured forums of support group chats, educational meetings, and social events.
~ Is there a membership fee? No. YWOW operates on individual and corporate donations, grants and fundraisers. This way we strive to keep all of our programs and services completely free to our members.
~ Where are the meetings held? Our regular meetings that provide education and support held throughout the Hampton Roads, on the Peninsula (Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg) and in Richmond Virginia. Our social events are also in the same areas and as a member you will be informed of the details via our newsletter and/or our website member's section.
~ When can I join? Now! Once you have contacted us we can immediately add you to our mailing and e-mail distribution list so that you start receiving important information right away. We then invite you to any of our monthly support group meetings to help break the ice; however, you can always start attending any of our functions at any time.
~ If I haven't been participating in a while, am I dropped out of the group? No. We understand that emotions and lives are in shock and transition while we figure out our widowhood journeys and the ongoing roller coaster is very unpredictable. At any time, you can choose to attend our functions and if you need to take a break due to emotions or other circumstances, we totally understand and will always have a warm welcome to you when you decide to return.
~ What services do you provide if I have children? Regretfully, YWOW does not offer routine sitting services at any of our functions. YWOW has several members who are raising children of all ages. Some have babies while some have teens. If you need assistance to attend a support group, we will certainly try to be accommodating if we know in advance.
~ I have an alternate lifestyle, can I join? Absolutely. We have had several members join that led alternate life styles. We do not discriminate and understand that you too lost your life partner and have to rebuild your lives, dreams and identities.
~ I wasn't legally married, but we were together for many years, can I join? Absolutely. We have had several members join who were not legally married but were "married" in every other aspect. You too lost your life partner and have to rebuild your lives, dreams and identities.
~ I am separated or divorced can I join? YWOW recognizes that you are experiencing a loss and grieving from it; however, membership to YWOW is only open to those who have lost a spouse or life partner through death.
~ The death of my spouse was very unique; how will I fit in? We have members who have lost their spouses due to a long term illness as well as sudden illnesses and sudden death; including military accident, civilian accident, suicide, homicide, sudden illness (heart attack/stroke).
~ How do I know if I need more than a support group and that I need professional counseling? We are not professional therapists, but have been where you are. Once you start sharing your story and journey with others who have the same component in common, there is a strong possibility you might learn if you need more than a support group and take some suggestions from what some of the other members in the organization have done.
~ Are you a religious group? No. We understand that we have members who join that are from many different walks of life. We also understand that your individual faith to your higher power has been compromised and takes an active role in your healing process and we do refrain from getting into in-depth conversations about religion.
~ What are the qualifications of the facilitators? YWOW is a grassroots organization and all of our facilitators are widows or widowers themselves. We don't have degrees or initials after our names. We are fellow widows(ers) walking the walk who can companion you on your own individual, unique journey.
~ Do you offer therapy and/or counseling? No. We leave all of that to the professionals.
Professional Services Disclaimer: The information provided at YWOW functions are not to be construed as professional advice. YWOW provides support and camaraderie to its membership by fellow members who are also widowed and walking the walk. None of the YWOW support group facilitators, Officers or Board of Directors are professional therapists or counselors. All seminars, workshops and meetings are intended for educational and informational purposes only. Any professionals that may attend and/or speak at our functions do so only to share their experiences. YWOW is not liable for the misrepresentation of any material provided or discussed at any of our functions.