For nearly three decades WINGS has helped thousands of women and children deal with the trauma they experienced through domestic violence. Whether it has been with emergency or transitional shelter, counseling, medical or legal advocacy, safety planning, art or play therapy, budgeting, career planning, goal setting, crisis management or just a shoulder to lean or cry on, WINGS has been committed to ending domestic violence one family at a time.
Homeless and abused women contact us each day through our 24-hour Hotline. Some are in need of emergency shelter while others aren’t sure of their situations. Should they leave? Will things get better? What will happen to their children – will they be able to take care of them? Will they be able take care of themselves? They are in fear of their lives.
All women and children coming to WINGS need safety but every woman comes with her own very unique set of needs. Some women need job counseling. Others have no transportation. Many have no money at all since their abuser has never allowed them to have any. Some require medical treatment and have no insurance. Many are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many have children who are scared and traumatized. All need respite.
WINGS staff work with each woman to develop short and long-range plans to help her get better, to become self-reliant, and to be able to feel good about herself again. Plans and goals are updated when important milestones are met; successes are always celebrated and challenges are addressed together.
WINGS has a strong children’s program because we know how important it is for kids to understand the right way to treat each other and so they won’t imitate the violence they have seen, heard or experienced. WINGS children love our art and play therapy, are truly excited when “Ladel” the therapy dog comes, enjoy the outside excursions, look forward to the day camps we offer, and even the personal goals they set for themselves.
This past year 207 women and 351 children received 63,117 nights of shelter and individualized services at WINGS and an additional 706 men, women and children who didn’t require housing received 3,768 hours of counseling. More than 3,700 calls were answered on our 24-Hour Hotline.
“Even though there had been years of abuse it wasn’t until March 15, 2005 that I made the decision to leave my husband. I was pregnant with my third son when my husband came home in a rage and beat me. When I went into premature labor I drove myself to the hospital and gave birth to my son, Romeo, shortly before he took his last breath. That was the moment I knew I had already given up too much. I would no longer allow this man who swore to love and take care of me to take anything or anyone else from me. I chose homelessness over returning to my husband. I was 22 years old.”
“My two boys, age 1 and 2, and I lived in our car for several weeks. A social worker told me about a new domestic violence shelter that had opened – WINGS –and I called them for help. Living in a car was not how I wanted to take care of my precious babies.”
“That night I put my two young children to sleep in a warm, safe bed and I took a hot shower in a safe bathroom. I wondered if this was what heaven would be like. I didn’t have to walk on eggshells or sleep with one eye open. I didn’t have to decide between sleeping in my car and sleeping with a man in exchange for a roof over my kid’s head at night. I didn’t have to worry about how we would eat our next meal. Here, there were no guns, no drugs, and no angry men. I was safe and no one could hurt me. The feeling was so overwhelming I shed tears that night.”
“WINGS staff helped me and my sons for the next two years and we thrived. They helped me write a resume, taught me job-seeking skills, gave me resource referrals and helped me enroll in college. I found a job, set goals for myself and had dreams for how my children would succeed. My kids and I received counseling, obtained assistance with food and rent, attended support groups with others who had gone through similar situations and learned how to engineer our way through life. The whole time WINGS treated me with dignity and told me my kids and I could make it. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.”