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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wings For LIFE International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Counseling, Crime & Law, Inmate Support, Mental Health

Mission: Transforming lives to break the generational cycle of incarceration.

Results: Wings For L.I.F.E. - Life-skills Imparted to Families through Education (WFL), a National and State Best Practice Model and has received the following recognition and awards: • National Award of Excellence in Crime Prevention - American Probation & Parole Association • 2017 NM Children’s Law Institute’s Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Award • 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Keep the Dream Alive Award • 2017 NM Innovative Behavioral Health Program Star, one of the top 10 Behavioral Health programs in New Mexico

Target demographics: Families of prisoners and returning citizens

Direct beneficiaries per year: Almost 9,000 individuals

Geographic areas served: 20 states, Kenya, Liberia and India

Programs: Weekly educational program called Wings For L.I.F.E. - Life-skills Imparted to Families through Education and prison and community Family Days.

Community Stories

156 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I’m a private donor for Wings, and am so glad and proud to be. Ann is an inspiration and the amount of care and dedication she puts into this organization is nothing shy of amazing. I wish I could do more.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through the years of searching for organizations that make a measurable impact in society, Wings for Life International is one of the most noted that I have found. The dedication to building the structure of the family and providing the tools to navigate the obstacles that people will face is remarkable. The relentless proactive approach to improve the lives of those facing and uphill challenge is met with involvement in governmental affairs to personal interaction and support. It is a pleasure to work with such a remarkable and dedicated team that seeks to find every avenue to help improve the lives of those it can reach. I am blessed with the opportunity, as the Tutoring Coordinator, to work with the children and parents to build a supportive family where we can rely on each other for support in all aspects of life. I look forward to engaging in future endeavors with Wings for Life International to bring hope and joy to all who seek it.

Michael J. Sylskar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An organization with a lot of energy and a heart to truly assist re-turning citizens re-integrate into their families and communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Wings for L.I.F.E. I am privileged to teach a karate program designed to help children gain confidence in order to make better decisions regarding behavior and choosing friends who act positively in society. The purpose of this self defense program is to drastically reduce the number of children of current and former inmates from being incarcerated themselves from 72% to 0%.

The Wings general program assists former inmates integrate into society in a loving and accepting environment through education teaching life skills that were disregarded in high school. Often this is the only positive in a returning citizen's day!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Executive Director and Founder of Wings and I'd like to THANK the thousands of volunteers who have given of their time, talent, energy, and finances to support and help Wings these past 25 years. Wings absolutely has the BEST, MOST DEDICATED and CARING volunteers and they are all over the world.

THANKS to EACH of YOU for making Wings such a great place!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings For Life is an amazing, dedicated nonprofit that reaches out to at risk families in our communities to support those who have incarcerated family members. WFL also provides support to children and families of returning citizens. The Monday evening meetings are a great time to have a free family style dinner, get to know new people around the table, and hear an interesting and informative lesson from experts who share their wisdom to help anyone in different areas of their lives. No matter who you are or what you have been through you will be greeted with a smiling face and respect at WFL, and come away with having learned something new.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Wings and have been associated for 8 years with this program. Wings is a very well respected program with the NM Corrections Department and has been able to visit all 11 prisons bringing a Family Day party to the prison. Children are able to visit their loved ones. Children of prisoners are up to 72% more likely to become incarcerated themselves.
Wings is an empowerment program that provides life skills, education, training and support for the family members and children. Mary Briggs.

Yolanda M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings For LIFE is a program has been developed to reach out to families that may be at risk.
Our family style dinners, table discussions, programs, manners, stories, special events, tutoring and crafts are all put together to support individuals and families. We also have special events and community parties where all the children are welcome! Please contact Wings if you would like to become a volunteer. We accept all ages! Yolanda Mattison,
Volunteer Coordinator for Wings.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WFLI is one of the most incredible nonprofits I have ever had the pleasure of volunteering for! The work they do is so vital and important, and truly makes a difference in people's lives. I am forever changed by my experience working side by side with this organization. Thank you for the opportunity!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great functions within the communities in NM, always reaching out to the less fortunate, and the stories are inspiration to my soul. Your words of wisdom is a motivation .

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WFLI is an exceptional community partner! The work they do in helping women find strength through pro-social learning environments is second to none. Ann is an energetic executive director who draws her fuel from her own life experience as well as from changing lives for the better! We are fortunate to have the women in our rehabilitative reeentry center be serviced by Wings every week both in group sessions and in peer mentoring. This organization deserves the title of "great non-profits" since it sets such a tremendous example of service and sacrifice for those entrusted to their care.

Thank you and congratulations! None more deserving!

Emanuel Barr
National Director, Community Outreach
GEO Reentry Services

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at numerous non-profits around Albuquerque and each have had an impact on my life in one form or another, none however has had the influence on my life experiance as Wings for Life International. The dedication of the staff and Board are obvious, always steppng up to a challenge. The impact on the families Wings serve is remarkable, the way they respond through continous attendance and particiapation is inspiring. Then there is prison 'Family Days' when the incarcerated have the opportunity to interact with their familes; these events are a demonstartion in the goodness of the human heart. But I think the biggest inspiration I receive from my volunteering with Wings is their CEO. Ann Edenfield-Sweet, the energenic, always moving this organization forward with a dedication that is inclusive, guiding, and energizing all those around her to excell. Wings is exhilarating.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Alice Montoya and I am a student at the Central New Mexico Community College and I chose to do my internship with WINGS because the service they provide is near and dear to my heart. I have had family that have been incarcerated and I know the impact that this brings upon everyone involved. I am grateful for this organization and what they provide to the community. I volunteered at the Monday meetings where I learned so much. They provide a valuable service to those in need. I was privileged to get to know some very amazing people. Ann is one of the most sincere people I have ever met. She truly cares about each and everyone that comes through the doors. The professionalism of the staff and volunteers was a breath of fresh air. You know they are all committed to WINGS by how they treat everyone. Yolanda, the volunteer coordinator was my point of contact and she made my experience with WINGS a pleasant one. She provided helpful direction in completing my volunteer hours. Soraya who works with their social media was one individual that went above and beyond to make me feel welcomed as she did for so many. She is a great asset to the WINGS family. They truly make you feel like family and I won't forget how awesome they are. I look forward to doing my Bachelor's internship with them. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the WINGS family!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a student at The University of New Mexico. I chose WINGS for my internship because I read their description and I was very interested. I mainly work with the children who attend the Monday meetings but I also get to meet great new people each time. My first time at WINGS was amazing and I knew that from there onward that I was really going to like it. I don't know what I was expecting but it was better than what I expected. Every Monday I look forwards to it. I have definitely learned a lot life skills from here and have opened up my mind more. Overall, I am glad I choose WINGS for my internship.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for Life International is an amazing organization I've ever volunteered at. Instantly on my first day there I was welcomed by everyone and felt so loved. My kids love going with me every week. Anne is one of the most generous people to walk on this earth. What she and her organization have done for society is beyond amazing. No matter your situation or back round when your at WFLI you are never judged or treated differently.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

“Conducting joyous celebrations of unconditional love that breaks down barriers” Wings For Life International gave me an experience that was exactly that! My name is Christina, and I am a student at CNM where I was taking a Interpersonal Communications class that had each student choose a non profit organization to practice our communication skills. I chose Wings for Life and went every Monday evening right after class. There were nights where I arrived there tired and quiet, and then I left energized and over the moon happy! Singing and laughing on my way home! The community there welcomed me with kindness and acceptance. My time there was truly a great experience and I am grateful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working as a volunteer for Wings For Life has been an incredible experience. I was able to do my volunteering through a Service Learning class at Central New Mexico Community College and I am so glad I did! Wings For Life is a program that changes lives and impacts the Albuquerque community in such a beautiful way. During my time at Wings I was able to see the wonderful and welcoming atmosphere of understanding and compassion for those in the program as well as their families. Wings For Life is able to provide these families with resources and life skills to build themselves that they otherwise would not be as easily exposed to. The work done by Wings For Life is incredible and I will absolutely be back to volunteer again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I like that Wings for L.I.F.E International is very family oriented and it also promotes effective communication skills. It exposes many people to new experiences and I like that I met a few people who want to improve poor resources on the Navajo Nation. Wings has taught me that you have to have the same experiences as others who attend the Monday night events. It has inspired me to get involved with the community so that I can make an effort to make a change in the community. I was introduced to many people who have the same goals as I do and I think that this is a good place to start a network of mentors or other who are willing to collaborate their careers to help different communities.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I volunteered with W.F.L. for my sociology class for C.N.M. I was very excited to participate in this organization after reading about it on their website. I did 3 hours Mondays for 15 hours I did 5 days altogether. You really get the sense of support and belonging when you are here and I like how they really have passion for helping people. I recommend anyone to Volunteer or recommend to someone if they are needed that extra support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started at Wings for Life International Organization as a volunteer due to one of my classes at CNM. Wings for Life International has a great community that includes everyone. I really like attending the Monday meetings, there are always topics to discus. I really like how including everyone is and how friendly everyone was.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began attending Wings for L.I.F.E. Monday events for service learning requirements at CNM as part of my Public Speaking class. The environment is great at these events. Meeting new people, hearing stories of hardship and success, and sharing a meal with new friends is a great way to spend an evening. A good meal and a great time awaits at the Monday night meetings.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am studying sociology, criminology, and victimology. Wings for L.I.F.E. is an amazing group and the connections I have made along with the information learned has repeatedly surprised me. One could not ask for a more informative social outreach venue that has a real impact on people's lives. Thank you all so much!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings For L.I.F.E International is a awesome nonprofit that is helping in reducing recidivism in Liberia. Lots of returning citizens are overwhelmed. We share Christ love by telling bible stories, games and much more. Special thanks to the Executive Director Ann for the opportunity given to Liberia.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to intern with WFL from August 2018 -May 2019 and have had a wonderful experience. There are so many opportunities to participate in making a difference & advocating for returning citizens and their families. The mission of WFL to break the generational cycle of incarceration is near and dear to my heart.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings For L.I.F.E is a great organization. Love the staff and members. I enjoy the mixers, meeting new people, and going to the prison and bringing families together!

dledoux

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such wonderful people. A place where people care about you.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with Wings for almost three years and I am constantly amazed about how lives are changed through each and every meeting. A simple hello or just someone stopping and listening with genuine care and love has meant more then most realize.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience at WINGS For Life International was like nothing I've ever done before. This is my first time volunteering for the community and I have truly enjoyed every moment of it. It's a great opportunity to talk to the people involved and they were so generous and open about their stories.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an incredible time volunteering at WINGS for LIFE. I learned a lot of skills that will help me as I continue my academic endeavor. I felt welcomed and never felt like a stranger.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Wings For Life International does an excellent job of creating a community of support for returning citizens, their families, and other community members. Their dedication to ending the generational cycle of incarceration and fostering resilience in at-risk youth is inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for Life was a great non-profit to work with. Their work towards access to families for incarcerated individuals is such a great initiative that isn't being addressed or focused on by many other organizations. Ann is also a great leader with an extensive network and love for others that allows WFL to florish the way it has, and it shows with the amount of giving back from the communities she serves.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Ann is a great human being with great intentions. Wings For Life has a strong network. There is also power in words.

UNTASB Student

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a student at the University of North Texas with the organization Alternative Service Break. I have volunteered here for a week and the experiences and opportunities afforded to me have been wonderful. The volunteer work was interesting and challenging, would recommend for people looking to make an impact to those people in great need.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was a volunteer with the University of North Texas and I was very pleased with time spent with Wings for Life International. Throughout my week at the organization, I attended a Monday night Wings for L.I.F.E. night and was astonished by the community built there. I met a number of returning citizens who spoke about how much Wings for Life has given them a second opportunity, but more importantly, a second hope in life. It was clear to me that even when there were lapses in judgement from Ann, it was no less than obvious that she cares deeply for the people she is serving and puts every effort of hers into making the lives for those incarcerated and their families better.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to interact with families and other volunteers at Wings For Life and I can't say enough about this wonderful organization and the resources they offer the community. During my first time in attendance, I was welcomed with open arms! A few speakers that I have been present for offer resources to new job opportunities, parenting skills, financial management, and information on the judicial system. I've had the great honor of witnessing how these types of resources assist individuals and families create a path that they can be be proud! Thank you, Wings! A special thank you to Michelle...

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with WFLI as an intern for 6 months. Amazing months. They all became a family for me, very welcoming and supportive. I really enjoyed participating in their Monday night program and meeting new people who were going through some transition in their life and found enough courage to share their stories with us. Getting to know all the clients at Wings' events helped me broaden my perspective, which is absolutely crucial for me as a future social worker. I truly encourage everyone who is interested in macro level social work and community service field to come do your practicum and volunteer at Wings. Ann Edenfield Sweet is a wonderful mentor/instructor and a very caring and dedicated individual who wants to make a change with all her heart. Thank you, Wings!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for Life is an amazing organization that really does care about people. For my first Monday dinner I was nervous, but everyone there is very nice and welcoming. Wings is a great place to go to if you want to change your life or see other people change. Everyone who attends the Monday dinners is working towards a goal, for some its regaining custody of their child or looking for help after being released from prison. Wings for Life isn't going to judge anyone based off of their past. The Wings staff and volunteers are honestly trying to help people improve themselves.
- Emily Marchetti

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot begin to explain how wonderful this organization is... Everyone is so inviting and helpful. All they want is to help better peoples lives in any way they can. i love our Monday night community meetings at the church and all the services they provide. They teach classes like parenting or job development, they will help you build resume and how to look for a good job that is appropriate for your needs. They NEVER judge you or turn you away they always see the positive and the good in people. Wings For Life has helped me in so many different ways. I will always be grateful for the time, energy, dedication and efforts that they give to everyone. Thank you.

Anna Sandoval

Volunteer

Rating: 4

For the past semester I had the opportunity to volunteer at Wings meetings on Monday nights. I feel so blessed to have done so and I am sad that my time there has come to an end. Wings is an amazing community that mentors child and adults alike. The dinner portion of the meeting was my favorite because I had the chance to get to know everyone at the table and sit by new people every week. This also gave me the chance just to listen to people and make connections with them. Wings is an amazing organization that is impacting the lives of so many and I hope that they can continue to do so. If you are looking in to the chance to volunteer, Wings is the perfect place!
-Savannah P

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of working with this amazing organization because of an assignment I received for school. I was drawn to Wings because their emphasis on education was important to me. Just like many of the participants, my family has endured the loss of a loved one to incarceration so it was a very personal decision to choose this organization for my assignment. I admired that they focused on educating both returning citizens and their families. I met some wonderful people who showed me that there is another option after incarceration and that success is possible despite what society expects from you.

Zoe
CNM Student

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an international student from China, I chose wings because it is an international nonprofit organization. I went to wings every monday since two months ago, and it is a very good experience that can be remember whole life. Thanks wings let me know things about returning citizens and their family. God bless you all!
Muen Zhang

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Serving with Wings these last 3 months has been such a positive experience. Having the opportunity to meet so many incredible individuals has been the highlight of my overall service. Ann is incredibly motivated and completely dedicated to everyone that walks into these meetings. I have learned a lot and hope to continue serving with them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer with WFL was an amazing experience, it really opens your eyes. The people that attend are full of life and I have enjoyed meeting them all as well as the great staff and interns. Thank you, WFL for all that you do!

Porsha L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoyed my time volunteering for Wings! I learned a lot, and met a lot of really amazing and unique individuals!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the honor of interning here for credits towards my degree in social work and I had a wonderful time! It was great meeting amazing people and getting to hear their stories and seeing them work on bettering themselves. Everyone is so nice and welcoming and you learn important life skills.
-KC Burruss

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a returning citizen and intern, I have had the privilege to experience the love and benefits of Wings. I have witnessed so many people of different age, ethnicity, and gender benefit from this organization. It is a blessing to come to an environment that is consistent of help and unity. I recommend that any person come. I personally have learned how to deal with social and family barriers in a healthy manner. Wings has so much to offer; never experiencing becomes a loss.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for life was very welcoming, and it was an honor to get to meet such amazing people from all backgrounds. The staff all work hard to make Wings the positive atmosphere that it is. Thank you for the opportunity to intern here.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for life is such an amazing organization, especially for returning citizens and their families.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Wings to complete hours for a class. At first, I was not sure what to expect. However after I went to that first dinner, I knew I was hooked. They create and promote such a family environment there. No matter who you are you will feel welcome. They have an incredible staff who are so knowledgeable about the real world. If you get an opportunity to attend any of their Monday night dinners or other events, I would highly recommend it. You will leave feeling great and counting down the days until you can see your new family again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi, I recently volunteered at this non-profit organization and it was an inspirational experience to see people want to turn their lives around. I loved volunteering at this organization; due to the fact, everybody is friendly and the chance to do some good in the community. I would recommend this organization to anybody who wants to help out the community or are coming back into society from being incarcerated.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi, my name is DeeDee
I was an volunteer at wings for life. I had an awesome experience got to meet wonderful nice people all who greeted you with open hands. Wings for life programs is very nice i got to work with families and kids of all different ages we did many different crafts even learned proper table manners. Great place to volunteer
thanks you Wings for life

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CNM Student Volunteer,

I attend CNM college and in one of my class, one of my assignments was to do volunteer work. I had chosen Wings for Life, I was very impressed and inlighten of this charity program. How they help individuals that have to start over in there lives after they are released from incarceration. How to cope with society again. Wings for Life gives them the hope and the resources to start a new life. I was touched by the stories of many who have succeeded with this program. The kindness, caring, and humbleness of the people that run the charity program. I was once in a hardship and had to raise two daughters, but with the help of my church and other resources, I was able to get back on my feet after a very hard divorce. I am blessed to have met so many caring, and helpful people. So I always said I would give back to my community when someone needs help. It takes a want and choices to make it in this world and it is possible to succeed. It always up to the individual. Believe, be strong and courageous it is possible. I know I was once there.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I currently volunteer with Wings For LIFE International and I can honestly
say that I am proud to be a part of this organization. The people from the
population Wings works with are from all walks of life but all are treated
equally. I have learned a great deal from this organization and gladly promote
them with a great many people. Many were never even aware that their were even
programs out there like that that work with returning citizens.
The Monday night programs, the speakers, the special Christmas parties, the Family Days at the prisons, etc, are all very welcoming and informative.
I enjoy meeting all the different people, the interns we host and learning new
information. Thank you Wings for all the hard work put into your program.




2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Wings For Life was an awesome experience. They are dedicated to the community and providing opportunities to those who may not have them anywhere else. Overall, they are a great organization.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The reason I found out about Wings For Life was because it was required to do an internship for a class I'm taking. Although, I was required to intern my time at Wings For Life was not wasted. The organization is amazing and filled with so many passionate and dedicated people. Albuquerque has a very high crime so a program like Wings is a very noble cause to try and help those who are returning to society. Wings is like one big happy family! I have enjoyed my time at Wings and hope that I will be able to keep in touch. Thank you for the wonderful and memorable experience.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I truly loved being a volunteer here at wings for life. It's inspiring how much passion and dedication Ann and her staff have for helping the community. With our crime rate being so high in Albuquerque, its great to see a group like this making efforts towards helping the problem rather than just acknowledging it. It was also great to see how the people who attended the weekly meetings were impacted by wings and how the program has influenced them to make changes in their lives. Great organization!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was a great first experiance work with charity and nonprofit organization. I enjoyed the time and skills that wings had to offer. I liked that they helped family and children as well, this shows there is hope.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been attending Wings for life as a volunteer since September. Being a part of wings has been a great experience. I look forward to it every Monday especially being a member at the dinner table and contributing to group discussion about everyday topics such as "what makes good family relationships" or "what makes up a good resume." Helping out with the children is also a big part of what makes wings memorable . I had a chance to plan an activity for the children which was a great experience in helping me in my career path. I hope that after my internship is over I can still be a part of this awesome organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In a political climate where everything is geared by "us" and "them," it's so nice to go to Wings For Life where we all belong. This is a wonderful program that is managed purely by love and faith in humankind. Ann, Yolanda, and the Wings staff are loving and welcoming to everyone no matter what your unique circumstances may be. I started going here to "help" others but the truth is, they've helped me so much more. I'm blessed for the friendships I've made through Wings.
Beth M.

1 Danyella G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer for Wings, and what there doing is just life changing. They really care about all of these families, they welcome them with open arms and mind. There is no judgement, everyone is so nice and friendly and willing to help in any way possible. This made me want to help more in any way that i could be of service. The resources they provide from family dinners, parenting classes, and the activities for the children. It is something amazing that they are doing and changing lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Wings for life and it was just great. You learn proper etiquette at a dinner table, how to set a table. It's a really great feeling helping others and you get a great experience here and everyone is so welcoming. I needed 30 hours for a class a UNM, but I am proud to say I will continue to come after I have completed my hours.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Wings for LIFE for my CNM service learning. I enjoy the time I spent there, meeting and getting to know new people. It helps you learn about the community and is a way you can help with community involvement. Wings is a good and enjoyable learning experience.
Angel

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had to complete service learning hours for school and was thankful to have been placed at Wings for LIFE. This organization teaches life skills and coping mechanisms to people returning to society as well as their families including children. They also help people with basic needs like food and clothing. In my opinion this organization and organizations like it are exactly what's needed to help end unhealthy life cycles for future generations.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wings for Life is a great non-profit charity. As a volunteer I was able to get to know many returning citizens, and the dreams and goals they set for themselves. The staff is great and very helpful. Hozer Nunez.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was placed at Wings For Life to complete my social work practicum in the Spring of 2017. Upon attending meetings, and being a part of the work done in the office, I learned how to better communicate with others, as well as become more in tuned with people and their real life situations. Wings For Life gave me the opportunity to get to know people on a level deeper than the surface mask, and that is something that is greatly appreciated.

-Selena Vineyard