How Words to Live By Came to Life

What started as a scribbled poem on a notepad in Wadmalaw Island, SC has grown into a pledge used across the United States, guiding kids and adults to become the best version of themselves. We call this pledge our Words to Live By. And since 2007 we have been shouting them joyfully from the top of our lungs.

Born out of love for WINGS kids and a deep desire to be authentic teachers of social emotional learning, Words to Live By quickly became the foundation of everything we do and a guiding light for how we want to live. Loved and embraced from day one, WINGS staff and kids first learned the words in small groups where they added unique hand motions to give the words energy. Then, these small groups came together and recited the Words to Live By in unison — and over time, each group’s gestures melded into one set of hand signals that are still used today. To hear and see Words to Live By recited live is PURE (loud) ✨MAGIC.✨

Never could we have imagined that a teaching tool would become a way of life or that seven stanzas would define our curriculum, program, and organization. But we’re so grateful for their power.

It’s a real-life dream come true to see Words to Live By in a children’s book. I Soar with Wings shares our common language and the kid-friendly, rhyme-filled ways we teach lessons in self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills. At the heart of WINGS is our belief that ALL kids deserve the opportunity to succeed in school, stay in school, and thrive in life — I Soar with Wings is this belief visualized.

Once upon a time, the greatest takeaway from WINGS was FUN. With Words to Live By, kids take with them this mantra, a road map forever engrained in their heads and heart. How exciting that with I Soar with Wings millions more will have Words to Live By in their hands!