- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On August 25, 2023
- celebration of courage, chicago metropolitan area, Domestic Violence, domestic violence agency, domestic violence organization, domestic violence survivors, DV agency, dv survivors, End Domestic Violence, family services, Housing Programs, non-profit agencies, northwest chicago, Shelters, WINGS, WINGS Program
This summer, WINGS Annual Celebration of Courage honored 15 survivor graduates and their children through a virtual celebration. Graduates shared inspirational messages and WINGS impact on their journey to freedom.
Additionally, each adult and child currently in the program was recognized for the goals they have achieved. Children’s Advocate shared each child’s individual successes and pictured are some of their many achievements. Some children would unmute and say hello to their Children’s Advocate, creating touching moments.
Rebecca Darr, WINGS President & CEO presented clients with their wings, a necklace or symbolic gift, to honor their achievements in the program. “You all were courageous enough to make that phone call and trust the other person on the end of that line would be able to take you in and provide the support…Thank you for all the hard work. Congratulations to all of you.”
Below is a testimonial from a WINGS Graduate who offered to share these words of inspiration during the Celebration of Courage event.
“I am a victim of domestic violence. I got in contact with WINGS through the Hospital Program. WINGS simply is a lifesaver. They provided shelter to myself and my kids when we were about to be homeless. They provided a counselor for my kids when we felt like the world was about to finish us.
WINGS gave me the opportunity of finishing all the careers that I’ve always wanted to get into.” Gabriela has completed several certifications in software. Additionally, she obtained her green card to increase her employment opportunities and earning potential. Her current goal is to finish nursing school.
“I’m financially stable right now through the program WINGS Money Management Program.” While at WINGS, Gabriela successfully saved 30% of her income and increased her FICO credit score. Since graduating from WINGS Transitional Housing program, she is now renting her own apartment.
“Thank you WINGS – God bless you. Thank you for everything you have done for myself and my kids. I appreciate you.”
Graduates were offered the opportunity to keep in touch with WINGS through the Alumni Association, mentoring opportunities through the agency’s award-winning Survivor Lifeline program, or joining a Client Advisory Board.
La Tonya Walker, WINGS Chief Program Officer shared closing remarks:
“I hope you are all really enjoying yourself this evening. I’ve become really overwhelmed with emotions.
Graduates, tonight you are our inspiration. Thank you for that. We honor you for that. You have:
- decreased your debt.
- used pro-bono attorneys.
- represented yourself.
- worked two jobs.
- saved a lot of money.
- advocated for yourself to get what you need.
- and so many more things.
You used your power for good, and this is why you are our inspiration.
This is the first leg of your journey; it does not end here. You will have challenges and good times. Our hope is that while you were here you gained support and tools to use for when those challenges come…You should be very proud of yourselves. Congratulations once again.”
*WINGS uses representative names and photos to protect the dignity and security of those we serve.