In A Nutshell:
An education program that teaches kids how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships. They do this by weaving a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum into a fresh and fun after school program. Kids get the life lessons they need to succeed and be happy and they get a safe place to call home after school.
Why They Rock:
- 30 social and emotional learning objectives are taught to strengthen attachment to school, and diminish self-defeating behavior.
- Carefully recruit college students (mentors) as role models who receive rigorous training (more than 65 hours) and constant coaching from WINGS senior staff.
- ETO: Efforts to Outcomes – tracks progress for individuals in each Nest (group of 5 -12 kids) recorded by the WINGSLeaders (mentors) for measurable results.
- Researchers found improvements in measures including absenteeism, tardiness, and teacher evaluations of social development. “It’s as fundamental as math and science in terms of turning a child into a capable adult and productive citizen,” says Peter Salovey, Ph.D., Dean of Yale College.
When is the last time you rode the cheese (yellow school bus), watched a live ‘dance-off’, and stayed in a luxurious hotel…a random mix for one day and the REAL memorable part was seeing kids elevate their LIFE skills via positivity!
WINGS very was kind and provided VIP Volunteer Lodging with a beautiful room at Charleston Place which recharged my battery. Up and early I met my energetic contact Erica the PR guru, and she gave me a ride to meet my bosses for the day Cheryl and Lee at James Simmons Elementary. Lee is the Peace Manager, who does a brilliant job of keeping kids on task or Peace-Out (time-out amigo), and I helped her organize activities for the day. I also met Bridget who oversees all the magic at WINGS and was nice enough to greet me even though she was about to give birth in like 12 hours!
Lunch time arrived quick and ‘philly’ Nicole (CPO) took us to a great deli for lunch where the cheesecake slices equaled the size of footballs (NFL not nerf)! Back to the office and Cheryl who oversees everything at the school ran a great WINGSLeader (staff) meeting with updates, inspiration for the day, and led a leadership activity that had me hoping like a bunny (anything for the kids).
‘Game Time’ (kid time) was approaching and I was matched up with Mr.Raymond (I love this Mr/Misses with first name – Mr.Keith!), and we were in charge of the Bluebirds (older elementary boys). Raymond has a great rapport with his crew and I learned from Mr.Ray how to interact with kids using the WINGS Creed (social responsible guidelines to live a positive life). We greeted the Bluebirds in the gym where they enjoyed a snack while Cheryl pumped up the entire WINGS group with music…and yes, kid/staff dance-offs!
Off to the computer lab for homework and educational fun games…I tested my skills in the soccer shout-out answering exponent questions! Then we gathered for ‘Discussion Topic’ highlighting gratitude…totally in my element since I lived in a meditation/yoga studio and gratitude was 24/8 (yes, somehow we added lots of thanks – And 1). I used Mr.Raymond’s expertise and applied the Creed: kid received a peanut butter snack earlier and complained so I utilized this Creed staple, “Life is full of surprises” – Be thankful for any snack…it’s okay you don’t like it but maybe say I prefer chocolate but will enjoy this. Be thankful for Mr.Raymond…an actual caring person giving his time – imagine zero interaction (now I was going Zen deep in regards to a life without human interaction…just thankful for Mr.Raymond’s presence). After gratitude domination, the boys practiced their dance routine for an upcoming show…and I learned the Dougie (footage coming soon – I’m practicing at rest stops…probably soon to be arrested for scaring tourists with my spastic moves).
The grand finale included a first-class ticket on the ‘cheese’! I was entertained by two 3rd graders smiling big while singing the Creed, another young girl confiscated my camera and snapped artsy action shots (paparazzi career on the horizon), and I was delivered in downtown Charleston…back to my palace.
Before my WINGS lodging downtown, I actually stayed with my friends Laurie, Jon, and their awesome doggies. Laurie provided a great room stocked with every hotel shampoo bottle from fine hotels (she dominates the hospitality world), and my bed was protected by an awesome turtle pillow! Jon is my homeboy cause he loves John Wooden…this book should be mandatory for everybody breathing – it will motivate your soul! She (Charleston) is my new crush…I could have stayed here for about 3 months to life! The city has magic: Folly Beach where I ran, artsy things on a constant basis – Fashion Week with Red Bull Illume (cool adventure sports photo galleary), and unique places to eat…I HIGHLY recommend a getaway to this town and please take me with you…third wheels are so hot right now!
WINGS takes after-school programming and pumps it with positivity by imprinting habits to last a lifetime…brilliant is understatement to describe this method. Many of these kids are ‘at-risk’ and WINGS on a daily basis feeds these kids positivity, encouragement, and education…they are teaching the ‘positivity cycle’ and making the ‘poverty cycle’ extinct.
“The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” -Henry David Thoreau