Flying High With WINGS

He did it! Congressman James Clyburn accepted the WINGS challenge to recite the Creed flawlessly, videotaped in his Capitol Hill office by WINGS kids Destiny, Navarro and Raheim who flew there on a private plane just for the occasion.

WINGS Helps “Me See How Far I Can Go”

Accompanied by WINGS CEO Ginny Deerin, and flown to Washington on a plane piloted by WINGS friend Michael Molony, the group met with Congressman Clyburn on April 14 and had a whirlwind visit to the landmarks of the nation’s capital before flying home – all in one day. On a visit to the WINGS program in January, the congressman had accepted the kids’ challenge to learn the Creed and be videotaped reciting it. Each day the kids and staff recite the Creed, which encapsulates the social and emotional learning principles embedded into the WINGS after school programming.

Chosen to make the trip were Destiny Robinson-Marin, a 5th grader, and Navarro Bates-Mathis, a 1st grader, because they exemplify the social and emotional skills that the WINGS program develops. They were thrilled to experience their very first plane ride.

The experience left WINGS alum Raheim Smith awestruck. “Everything in the Capitol was crystal hanging from the chandeliers and gold everywhere, and Congressman Clyburn was so down to earth for such a powerful man. It was such an honor. The best part was just talking face-to-face with a man of that stature.”

Raheim just finished his freshman year at Morris College in Sumter, S.C. The first in his family to attend college, Raheim spent 3 years with WINGS beginning with 3rd grade.

“I was a problem child back then. I liked to have fun at the wrong times,” Raheim says. “WINGS helped me to develop into a respectable person – and taken me all the way to Washington! I don’t put limits on myself. The WINGS program has helped me see how far I can go.”

Raheim was especially moved to hear that Congressman Clyburn’s late father Enos, a minister, attended Morris College. He had to leave before receiving his degree even though he was a standout student because he was discovered to have no high school diploma. The reason? Kershaw County where he grew up did not offer high school for black students – so Enos Clyburn had attended the last grade available, 7th grade, three times to get the most education he could.

In 2003, Morris College awarded a posthumous degree in the name of Enos Clyburn, and it hangs in the congressman’s Washington office. “That’s part of what drives me to this day,” says Congressman Clyburn of his father’s struggle against the odds for academic success.

See more photos of the trip.
Read The Creed.

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