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A Guiding Light

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

Jim Fox will always be remembered from his playing days with the Kings during the purple and gold era.  He will also unquestionably leave his legacy on the hockey world with a highly-successful, award-winning run as the Kings’ television color analyst.

However, on Thursday, September 8, 2011, Fox began what he hopes will be a continuing journey to leave a different kind of mark.

More than 150 people gathered at the Long Beach Yacht Club for the Sunset Wine Reception, an event hosted by Fox for which proceeds benefited the The Guidance Center.  Jim and his wife, Susie, are avid wine enthusiasts and they found the perfect way to pair two things that they have significant interest in.

The Guidance Center, a non-profit organization based in Long Beach, provides mental health services for more than 2,000 troubled and low-income children and their families each year. For more than 60 years, their goal has been to guide children and their families to a brighter future by offering services such as crisis intervention; individual, group and family therapy; intensive mental health treatment; psychiatric medication; and substance abuse treatment among others.

“We’re seeing mental health issues being discussed now in the NHL, so that’s always been an interest of mine – the mental part of the game, whether it’s the positives or the negatives – and the struggles that everyone has,” said Fox, who was eager to get involved with the The Guidance Center’s fundraising initiative.

“There are kids who are not getting help and they need a place like The Guidance Center to get that help,” Fox added. “I think we, as a society, are getting better with mental health issues, and we’re starting to talk about it, it’s an illness, it’s something that can be treated.”

Fox’s connection with The Guidance Center comes via a good friend of his, Patricia Costales, who is the Executive Director for the Center.

“The kids we see are so troubled that maybe they’re failing at school or they don’t have any friends; there are significant areas in their life where they’re really not functioning well, and we see them until they are, until we know we can send them on their way and be better,” said Costales, who has worked in the mental health services community since 1990.

The Kings, along with the Kings Alumni Association, were quick to lend support to Fox and the Sunset Wine Reception, and guests in attendance included Bob Miller, Luc Robitaille, Marty McSorley, Daryl Evans, and Ian Turnbull, as well as current player wives Nicole Brown, Megan Westgarth and Megan Drewiske.

“Jim Fox has done a great job, I think he’s chosen a great group to support, and we as an organization, as hockey players and as the Kings Alumni Association, feel very strongly in supporting Jim with it,” said Evans, Fox’s radio counterpart. “I’ve been around Jim for a lot of years and this is just an extension of the way he prepares to go to work every day, and this event went smoothly because of his doing.”

The event, which featured a wine tasting contest and a silent auction, is the first of its kind, but is something that Fox and the Center hope to build on.

“Most of the people here came, not necessarily because they’re interested in The Guidance Center, they came because they’re interested in the Kings. Our hope is that when they leave they’re also interested in The Guidance Center,” Costales said.

“I felt very embraced by the Kings.”

During the reception, The Guidance Center presented Fox with an original drawing from one of its patients as a token of appreciation. The child chose the following thought to include with the drawing: “At The Guidance Center, day or night, everyone finds hope.”

That’s certainly one guiding principle that, thanks to Fox, more people will start to believe in. 

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