By Bridget Laird
Chief Executive Officer
The past two years have been exceptional – you feel it, our kids feel it. Struggle, chaos, uncertainty: a new reality that requires our 25 years of experience. The need for life skills – what we call social emotional learning – is at an all-time high. No longer just nice to have, Wings for Kids is a necessity. You’ve known this and now the world is catching on. Social emotional learning gives kids the tools to cope and heal, to reconnect and reengage, to learn and grow.
As we look ahead, we are excited by the momentum and need for WINGS:
- Social emotional learning has become the most requested resource by principals and teachers. So much so, that every school district we partner with has requested expanded WINGS services for next year! Your giving has allowed WINGS to provide critical virtual and in-person after school programming throughout the southeast – in rural counties and crowded cities.
- Adults need SEL skills, too. We’re committed to reaching as many kids as possible. But, you and I know adults need the lessons and benefits of emotional intelligence – no matter their age. At WINGS, we will continue to employ young adults as mentors to mirror and model these lessons and the opportunities they provide. Through training and coaching, Wings Leaders learn how to integrate social emotional learning into all aspects of their day. Equipped with these skills – like how to take on challenges, own mistakes, learn from effort – these young adults also gain invaluable workforce skills that corporations and businesses value more than ever!
- 25 years and…growing. You say it, we hear it, and everyone believes it: ALL KIDS NEED WINGS! As we celebrate our 25th year, we cannot help but reflect on how many kids we’ve been able to impact through direct service afterschool programs. And we want to keep reaching more kids and growing — through partnerships! Next year, we will continue and expand our partnerships with nonprofits in the locations where we operate — such as with Charleston Promise Neighborhood in Charleston and the YMCA in Atlanta. And, our nationwide partnership with Discovery Education continues to explode. Over the next three years, we will double our reach by serving 8 MILLION KIDS!