Volunteers Empower WINGS Mission to End Domestic Violence
- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On April 14, 2022
- chicago metropolitan area, Chicago suburbs, Domestic Violence, DV agency, National Volunteer Month, National Volunteer Week, non-profit, Volunteer, volunteer chicago, volunteer domestic violence agency, volunteer domestic violence shelter, volunteer opportunities, volunteering near me, volunteering with WINGS, WINGS
April is National Volunteer Month. Over FY2021, WINGS had 1,789 volunteers donate 45,180 hours. This is the equivalent of 22 full-time employees, and this service was completed during a pandemic. Volunteers empower WINGS mission to end domestic violence and donate their time in many ways. Learn what motivates some of WINGS volunteers and read how they are assisting survivors in transforming their lives.
Sandi – Lobby Volunteer at WINGS Suburban Safe House
As an employee of Northwest Community Hospital, Sandi observed WINGS domestic violence counselor on-site and at meetings.
Six years ago, Sandi became a lobby volunteer at WINGS Suburban Safe House.
When asked why she continues to volunteer, she shares a number of reasons:
- “First: I support WINGS mission statement: to provide housing, integrated services, education and advocacy to end domestic violence.
- Second: For the opportunity to contribute to this mission, if only in a small way helping however I can.
- Third: Over the years, and especially during the pandemic, I have been an eye witness to the unwavering dedication and commitment of the WINGS Safe House staff. Their resilience is nothing less than remarkable. That inspires me.”
Sandi continues, “Watching Safe House guests regain self-esteem and confidence and succeeding at changing their lives for the better means so much to me. The staff treats me with such kindness and appreciation for my small contributions and that’s why I keep showing up!”
Sandi’s other interests include running, spending time with family and friends, and during the pandemic – jigsaw puzzles.
Nancy – Mentoring and Special Event Volunteer
Nancy has been involved with WINGS since 2004 after reading an advertisement in the local paper regarding volunteer opportunities.
Nancy met her first mentee Bettie in November of 2004 and their relationship/friendship grew over the next six years. Since that time, she has mentored four other WINGS graduates, one of which was bestowed the Kimball award for outstanding graduate.
Nancy has also volunteered in several of WINGS special events, but the one event that is her passion is the Purple Tie Ball, which is held in October.
“One of the reasons that I volunteer at WINGS is to fulfill a purpose in my life. I feel that I should always try and stay busy and help give back and instead of thinking about any personal problems or conflicts, focus on those that need support, especially women,” Nancy continues, “I truly feel that women need to support other women and what better opportunity to do this than through the wonderful programs available through WINGS. It has been a very fulfilling experience for me.”
She shares that she has also involved her two children. “When they (my children) were teenagers they would work at the resale shops and visit with mentees. They still talk about how much impact it had on them.”
“Without volunteers or mentors,” Nancy says, “I’m not sure where we would be today. Each of us at some point in our lives have had a person that we confided in, someone who has mentored us to become a better individual and taught us to help others along the way. This can come from either inside or outside of our own families. My experience shows that there are so many that lack this type of support, and this is why I feel it is such an important need.”
Nancy’s other interests include gardening, cooking/baking, home projects and creating a large Halloween display in her yard each October.
Bren – Resale and Special Event Volunteer
Bren was first introduced to WINGS through the Resale Store that was in Palatine. “I was donating items and shopping at WINGS, per the recommendation from a friend. After the fire at the Palatine store, I saw the ad in the paper asking for volunteers to help sort items. I thought it would be a good opportunity to contribute to a meaningful cause, while I was looking for a job. When the new store opened, I was asked to continue working in the back room.”
A WINGS volunteer since 2010, Bren has always worked in the backroom: accepting donations, sorting and pricing items to be sold. She has also volunteered at various WINGS special event fundraisers, including the Fashion Show and Purple Tie Ball.
Bren says, “I believe everyone should contribute in some way to their community and to help those that need assistance, whether it is to volunteer or provide in-kind or monetary donations. WINGS is a very worthwhile and needed organization, for which I am happy to donate my time to help make a difference in someone’s life.”
“Having experienced domestic violence firsthand at home when I was growing up, there was no place for my mother to turn to, so I know the pain and struggles these victims are going through. Volunteering at WINGS means I am playing a small part in helping victims of domestic violence find a safe place of refuge, and get the support needed to start a new life,” Bren shares.
Matt – Kitchen Volunteer at WINGS Safe House
Matt’s journey to WINGS started at a dinner with one of his family members, Megan, who works at WINGS.
“I was looking for a new venue to give back to the community…since Megan knew my passion for cooking, she said ‘Have I got an idea for you!’ And, so it began,” Matt recalls.
Matt began volunteering in the kitchen at WINGS Suburban Safe House two years ago. While his service has been put on hold periodically due to COVID concerns, he shares, “I am proud to partner with WINGS and play a small part in the journey of the guests at the Safe House.”
“My passion for volunteering is simple. I have been fortunate in many ways during my life, so I feel a responsibility to give back to others in need. I also think it is a good example to set for your children and grandchildren. Actions do speak louder than words,” Matt explains.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys golf, travel and woodworking. He loves spending time with his three grandsons, “they provide us with so much joy and laughter,” he says.
Rivian – Meditation Groups and Office Assistance
Rivian began volunteering in the WINGS office in 2016, and then asked if she could do some meditation groups at the Suburban Safe House.
“Professionally, I am an LCPC with additional certifications in various methods of empowerment. I am also a Reiki Master Teacher and Tuning Fork Therapy Master Teacher with extensive training/certifications in numerous alternative modalities…One of the modalities I love working with is meditation,” Rivian shares.
“Through various forms of meditation, I am able to not only offer people a few minutes of peaceful relaxation, but also provide a variety of tools for self-care. I write my own meditations and have recorded some of them. I started providing meditations in the Safe Houses in 2017 until the pandemic shut everything down, both in the office and the Safe House,” Rivian says.
“While the pandemic curtailed my in-person teaching, it has not kept me from providing ZOOM meditation groups,” Rivian recalls, “I would love to keep offering them and hopefully get back to working with the Safe Houses again.”
Rivian’s other interests include volunteering at the Stillman Nature Center as a Raptor Handler, where she takes non-releasable birds to schools and libraries to educate the public.
Are You Interested in Volunteering with WINGS?
WINGS is currently recruiting Mentors, Lobby Volunteers at both Safe Houses, Resale Volunteers and more.
Learn about all of the ways to volunteer here:
Learn other ways you can make a difference here: