Community Collaborations

How WINGS works effectively with others

The new academic year is well underway with students, teachers, administrators and parents once again working hard to make a difference in the world.

Nearly 600 elementary school students are enjoying a great new year of WINGS for kids and working on their EQs (emotional intelligence) after school, to complement the IQ rigors of their school day.

It's not even Thanksgiving yet and we're feeling thankful for the many community organizations who so generously partner with us in Charleston every year. These partners are delivering enormous enrichment opportunities to our at-risk WINGS kids, who often miss out on experiences that better shape their peers.

Because our innovative program model demands daily attendance, WINGS offers the structure for partnerships to excel. By bringing in partners, two things happen: the WINGS experience is enhanced and a true community learning center is created.

Social scientists have observed that today's achievement gap - the difference in academic, social and political performance between the poor and the affluent - is a chasm the poor can seldom cross. The violin lessons and soccer camps of the middle and upper middle class truly propel them forward. Kids who can't access those opportunities fall behind, fast.

Over the past several years, upper income families have increases their spending on kids' extracurricular activities by $5,3000 while lower income families have increase by $480. Out of school time offers an opportunity for lower income kids to benefit from rich and innovative extracurricular opportunities.

What we're talking about:

  1. There aren't a lot of opportunities for our kids to participate in organized sports, especially sports beyond football and basketball. We've addressed this by collaborating with Jackson Soccer Development, who teaches Futsol (indoor Brazilian soccer), 3C Cheer and Dance, who teaches drill and cheerleading, and First Tee, who teaches golf.

  2. Over 90% of our kids qualify for free or reduced lunch and many of our kids are flat-out hungry. By partnering with the Lowcountry Foodbank we are able to provide a hot dinner Monday through Friday to all of our Charleston kids.

The generosity and far-sightedness of these WINGS partners will surely help WINGS kids close the gap between their own experiences, and those of their more fortunate peers: Communities in Schools, Charleston Volunteers for Literacy, C3 Cheer, Creative Spark, Fly Dog Fitness, Heather's Hoops, The Hero Project, Jackson Soccer Development (Futsol), Lowcountry Foodbank, Michael's Crafts, North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, Play Today! Foundation, Redux Contemporary Art Studio, Slow Food Charleston, Whole Foods, Yo Art and Yoga Benefits Kids.

Our Charleston programs are fortified with these amazing partnerships and we could not be more grateful. As we begin to grow roots in Atlanta our partnerships are taking shape. We can't wait to thank you, too, Atlanta!

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. - Henry Ford




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