Survivors’ Stories

Beth’s Story: “Soaring to Greater Heights with WINGS”

Beth came to Wings in 2009 – afraid, at the end of her rope, and, in her own words, “barely even existing anymore.” After 12 years of abuse, Beth decided she had had enough. She escaped with just the clothes on her back and two pennies in her pocket. WINGS welcomed her with open arms. “My help comes from the Lord, but my strength came from WINGS,” she declares. The staff at the emergency shelter loved and cared for Beth through some of her hardest days. “If it wasn’t for them, I would’ve gone back.” Instead, Beth stuck it out, reclaiming her confidence, independence, and self-esteem. After two months in the WINGS program, Beth could see a dramatic change in herself. She was making decisions and getting things done on her own. “It’s been hard, but they let me work at my own pace. I CAN accomplish goals. I’ve proven that.” Now, Beth’s goals include getting her own place and being reunited with her grandchildren. Beth is determined to continue on her path to recovery. “When I think of where I came from to where I am…” She shakes her head. “It’s a long road. But I’m going to do it.” Beth now has a steady job and is transitioning through shared living to having her own place. Her concluding remark shows how big a difference WINGS has made in her life. “It was so dark before – like I was blind. I didn’t even know how to smile. Now I see sunshine, and it’s going to get brighter.” “Thank you to each staff member at WINGS. It’s because of your support that I am where I am today.”

Samantha’s Story

I am a member of the WINGS program. I wanted to take time and let you know how beneficial this program has been for me and my daughter. I came into WINGS in September. I was pregnant and had nowhere to live and had no money. I had decided to keep my daughter from the start of my pregnancy. I truly believe that if it weren’t for WINGS I wouldn’t be able to write you this letter, let alone have a beautiful, healthy baby. WINGS helps you gain confidence and strength to deal and function in today’s society successfully. I just wanted you to know that my background is upper-middle class. I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs. I’m a high school graduate and have some college. I want you to know that homelessness doesn’t just pertain to low income, uneducated substance abusers or just plain lazy people. Bad things happen to good people too. Since I grew up in the suburbs I was ignorant to homeless shelters. I assumed the shelters had drug users and vagrants. I was truly frightened when I called. It was comforting to know that the WINGS program wasn’t anything like that. I lived in a big house – not a big hall with cots lined up. I had chores such as cleaning bathrooms, or the living room. I also cooked one night a week. I was truly like living with a family in a home! In knowing this little bit of information I hope you continue in your support of WINGS. It is something to be proud of.

Stephanie’s Story

Before I arrived at WINGS, I was in an abusive home with my young son. I made many phone calls and inquiries after a violent incident. I was in touch with several organizations but all of them told me to go to a shelter. The thought of exposing my son to a small dirty place with many, many mothers and their children was not what I felt would be best for my son. Just when I was ready to remain in my situation as I’d done many times before, for the same reason, the Township put me in contact with WINGS. The staff assured me that we would be in a safe, clean environment. We arrived at the shelter that weekend. I was very scared and my son was unsure of everything. We were greeted with open arms and hearts from all the staff members and volunteers. During my stay at WINGS many setbacks occurred in my life including getting laid off from my job, my car breaking down numerous times and dealing with my son’s father in court. The staff was there available anytime and every time I needed them. I would like to thank all of you for giving me hope for our future and the caring I needed when I didn’t think I was worth caring for. God bless all of you!