BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Beta Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and VITAS Healthcare are letting men know that it is OK to cry.
On Saturday, June 22, the local Alpha men will be engaged in a discussion in Palm Coast titled “What About Me? Men Cry in the Dark.” The event will be held at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway NE.
“What About Me? Men Cry in the Dark” is designed to help a caregiver or an individual who has lost a loved one deal with the grief.
The free event will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. and includes a complimentary breakfast. Men living in Volusia and Flagler counties are invited to attend.
Important to talk
Dr. T.C. Culver, president of the Alpha chapter, highlighted the importance of men expressing their emotions.
“Men are often head of the household, but we don’t have anyone who we can take our issues to. We are wired so differently from ladies. Sometimes we can talk to other men to get us through situations. We feel it’s important that we get together as a men and talk,” he told the Daytona Times.
Dr. Alma Dixon, a caregiver advocate for Vitas said the program grew out of men attending a caregiver conference.
“They decided they should share their experience of being a caregiver, grief and shock. In our culture, men don’t share their feelings so they decided to have this conference.”
Celebrating fatherhood and manhood
The event won’t be held on Father’s Day weekend, but it is still a way to celebrate fatherhood and manhood.
“Men are still men, but they must take care of their emotions too. We are celebrating Father’s Day and we need to include that we can honor our men manning up with a conference where they can express feelings of grief, loss and vulnerability, which men have a hard time expressing,” stressed Dixon.
Culver added, “We knew a lot would be going on so we couldn’t tie it up with Father’s Day, but it is tied to a degree following Father’s Day. It’s about men trying to be better men at home and in the community.”
Veterans to participate
Local military veterans also will share their stories at the Palm Coast event.
“A lot of the veterans are still dealing so much from the things that they have seen during their time in service. So many times when someone shares a story it releases those sores we don’t realize that someone else is dealing with the same pain,” Culver noted.
Alpha members like John Huger Sr. thinks the discussion is a good idea.
“I think it’s a great event and it’s important to a male in society. It’s a thing that makes you look at all emotions that an individual may have. It’s good that you can express yourself and deal with grief. It is OK whether you cry, pray or whatever,” Huger said.
VITAS provides hospice care services in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Since 1978, it has been a pioneer in hospice and it is the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care.
The event with the Alphas is just one of the many community service events that VITAS sponsors, including a “What About Me?” session for men and women in November and a Missing Mother’s Event for women in May.
“We do plenty of events in the community with many agencies. We know we have to be community partners,” Dixon added.
For more information about the event, contact Yanique Tomlinson at 386-366-6167 or email her at Tomlinson@VITAS.com.