WINGS Alumni
Staff Reunion

17 years and hundreds of miles didn’t stop 65+ alumni from gathering on Sullivan's Island, SC

It’s not typical for a workplace to hold reunions. After all, who really wants to see a former boss and coworkers from “that college job?” Chock it up to another characteristic that makes WINGS unique – because we couldn’t wait to gather 17 years of staff in one place! On Friday, March 8th Suzan and Stephen Zoukis hosted more than 65 former and current WINGSLeaders on Sullivan’s Island for a reunion not to have been missed. Teachers, interventionists, therapists, social workers, and non-profit leaders are now living WINGS all over the U.S. and we couldn’t be more proud of these outstanding individual’s accomplishments and impact since leaving the nest!

Old friends shared stories about “their” kids, reenacted dances and struts from training sessions, rehashed the details of their toughest WINGS days, recalled WINGS techniques and terminology during WINGS Trivia and reconnected with coworkers who they now call friends. WINGSLeaders remain connected to their job because of the bonds built and the culture we keep. Every WINGSLeader present had served in our programs for at least one year– meaning they’ve each spent more than 500 hours with our kids, mentoring them and teaching valuable life lessons like how to set goals, persevere, handle their emotions, and build healthy and meaningful friendships. When teaching kids these skills you inevitably learn them yourself. The connections made between staff + kids and staff + staff are deep, genuine, and joyful.

We all know that WINGS impacts the lives of kids, and our staff is no exception. The symbiotic exchange of emotional intelligence is so apparent that we changed our Theory of Change last summer to reflect the impact made on our WINGSLeaders. We realized, and now anticipate, that when college students serve as WINGSLeaders for a year or more, they develop and deepen their own social and emotional skills while building meaningful relationships with kids and healthy relationships with peers. These skills are then utilized to gain success professionally as educators, youth leaders, and business leaders and achieve success personally as partners, parents, and youth mentors.

Boy, we weren’t disappointed (or surprised!) by our staff and all of the good they’re doing out in the world. Check out the photos below – can you tell we had fun?!

Some of our favorite quotes from guests:

  • "There is no doubt in my mind that I am a better parent because of WINGS."
  • "I wish everyone I work with had the training I got from WINGS."
  • "I use the techniques I learned at WINGS in my classroom everyday."
  • "There should be a WINGS for Adults!"

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