Photo note: WINGS was given over 3,100 Kodiak Cups for our residents of WINGS thanks to Kodiak Cakes & Jewel-Osco’s this past holiday.
Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms Local Nonprofit Spotlight, where we highlight and introduce a local nonprofit’s inception and mission. But first we’d like to extend sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our brand new Local Nonprofit Spotlight Sponsor, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Thank you Lurie Children’s for connecting a voice from our local nonprofits to our local communities!
This month we are featuring WINGS Program, Inc. whose mission is to provide housing, integrated services, education and advocacy to end domestic violence. With robust resale shops located in Schaumburg, Arlington Heights and Niles, 100% of the proceeds from all WINGS resale shops go directly to helping their clients with safe havens, rehabilitation programs, counseling, planning, food, clothing and other basic necessities. CNSMoms had the pleasure to speak with WINGS’ Sylvia Zaldivar (Chief Development Officer) and Nancy Freres (Nancy Freres, Development and Donor Relations Assistant) about the program’s inception, development and impact.
Hi Sylvia and Nancy. Please introduce WINGS Program, Inc. to our readers.
WINGS Program, Inc. is based in Chicago and the Northwest Suburbs and was founded in 1985. WINGS was started as a response to the growing issue of homelessness in the Northwest suburbs; and in particular, to meeting the needs of women and children who were homeless due to domestic violence. WINGS serves men, women, and children that are experiencing domestic violence as well as homelessness.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to provide housing, integrated services, education and advocacy to end domestic violence. Our vision is to create a society in which every domestic violence survivor has a voice and the resources to break the cycle of domestic violence.
We believe that everyone has the potential and strength to overcome difficult life circumstances and to accomplish goals that will lead to an enhanced quality of life. We are committed to treating each adult and child we serve, in a respectful and compassionate manner while valuing the unique qualities and needs of each individual and family without discrimination of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or gender identity.
I personally found out about WINGS when our family recently donated household goods and clothing to your Arlington Heights location. How is the WINGS Resale Store tied to the mission?
100% of the proceeds from all WINGS resale shops go directly to helping their clients. These proceeds provide a significant revenue stream for WINGS operations, and empowers clients who flee with no personal items. Clients are given gift cards to WINGS resale stores and this allows them to shop for their families’ needed items. For more information and the locations visit https://wingsprogram.com/wings-resale-shops/.
Our resale stores offer housewares, clothing, accessories, furniture, electronics and more and they are also open to the public.
How do you help those who have experienced or fled from domestic violence?
WINGS has made it a priority to provide high-quality facilities, intensive client support, and an integrated continuum of housing and services for the clients we serve daily. A key component is to employ safety planning and a model of understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma a client may have experienced prior to coming to WINGS. In addition, services such as counseling, legal advocacy, job skills training, job search support, and children’s services are made available to each client as needed.
⬆ Our Land Of Nod Playroom at our WINGS Metro Safe House
During COVID, to practice social distancing and keep everyone safe, our clients were moved into area hotels. In the photo below our dedicated staff is dropping off milk, cookies and presents to a client during the holiday season!
One of our special House Advocates, Angel, prepared a beautiful spread for a Valentine’s Day party for our clients! The party included arts and crafts, lots of treats, a plush teddy bear for each child and a dozen roses for each mom.
Who would you like to thank for the continued success of WINGS?
WINGS is indebted to its incredible, steadfast donors who give of their time, talent and treasure to support our organization. In particular this difficult year, WINGS was bolstered by the financial support of our donors and added over 1,000 new donors to continue to support our families in not only surviving, but thriving.
How do people who directly need your services find out about WINGS?
Clients usually are referred to WINGS through the 24-hour domestic violence hotline (847-221-5680), community partners, and faith communities.
What’s next for WINGS?
Surviving and Thriving. This has been our theme throughout this year and will lead us forward. Covid did not prevent us from continuing to serve over 200 people. In fact, our numbers have increased as calls to the domestic violence hotline increased by over 70%. As an organization we are starting a new strategic plan to address the challenges that the pandemic presented and how we can be sure to continue providing the high level of quality services we are known for to help survivors break the cycle of violence for generations to come.
How do our readers contribute or volunteer their time or get involved?
Thank you so much for helping us to spread the word about WINGS and thank you to the readers who have taken time out of your busy day to learn more! Ways that people can help get involved are:
- Donating financially.
- Volunteering where needed such as the WINGS Resale Stores, Safe Houses, and at events.
- Donating in-kind items such as cleaning and hygiene products.
- Donating gently used clothing, housewares, accessories and furniture to help stock our three resale stores in the northwest suburbs.
- For more information on any of these ways to help visit https://wingsprogram.com/ways-to-help/.
All donations to WINGS are greatly appreciated and support our program and mission.
⬆ Bruna (left), our Manager of Volunteer Services, and Rebecca, our President/CEO, work with Craig, a longtime WINGS volunteer, in sorting and organizing presents for our Holiday Store.