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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wings of Hope Living Forward Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The Wings of Hopes mission is to provide grief support services to those who have had someone significant die in their lives or those who are experiencing anticipatory grief from a serious illness of a loved one. The Wings of Hope will be fully present to anothers grief; being willing to go into the darkest places of one’s pain with them, while supporting, listening and assisting them on their grief journey, providing both individual counseling sessions and group support as well as helpful resources and information.

Target demographics: Supporting parents and grandparents after child loss.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Grieving parents with with their grief through healing retreats.

Geographic areas served: many locations mainly east coast

Programs: Our goal for 2020 is to continue to assist parents who have lost a child to attend our retreats. We can’t do this alone and need sponsors to help us reach our goals. Will you help us meet our goal? Here is how your gift will impact our retreats: All donations go toward the retreat rental home, Candle lighting ceremony (each parent receives a candle with their child’s photo), a tribute video in memory of our children Gone to Soon, balloon releases, area excursions, workshop materials, handouts, food and much more.

Community Stories

73 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Eileen M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my preciousPatrick 23rd December 1966,my precious Catherine November 1st2012.Somehow I came across Wings of hope.Went on my first retreat to Virgina beach.Didnt know what to expect (I'm from the Uk)Found some amazing people ,so friendly and welcoming (even though though they couldn't understand my way of talking..)Made a special friend there who I have met several times since.Forever grateful that I found Wings of hope.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so thankful for this amazing group. I don’t know where I’d be without them. I have been to every retreat since May, 2016 and just knowing these people feel the same way I do is a relief knowing I’m not in this alone. So many of us remain friends after the retreats which mean extra support and that is something you can’t put a value on. I lost my only child May6, 2011 and it took me six years to attend a retreat, why did I wait so long? Now I don’t feel so hopeless.

Advisor

Rating: 5

This group has been my biggest blessing, Shirley Tripp-Johnson reached out to me as I was in another grieving group that was full of drama. No grieving mothers needs more drama or disagreements. I was removed from that group by the owner because we disagree on all the drama . It just added to the stress and no support for understanding of the out cry of grief. My heart would just hurt for the ones who were bullied in that group . Shirley Tripp-Johnson seen that I was lost again and invited me into her world of how to handle grieving mother's . What stage their UNBEARABLE pain was . Shirley Tripp-Johnson group was well aware of what is happening in her group with so many grieving parents and grandparents. No drama is tolerated. You can voice your hurt and true feelings ,but no bashing another who feels differently. Be kind with words of support. Shirley Tripp-Johnson is a blessing to many and a true supporter. I went to a grieving mother's retreat and met some mothers . These grieving mother's will always have a strong bond . These retreats are amazing ! I can truly say I love these ladies I met at the retreat as forever sister . The cost is outstanding for all the support and bonding you leave with . And the star of these retreats are our children . " If you ever get a chance to go to one ,please do ! Shirley Tripp-Johnson thank you for all you do for the brokenhearted. Always my sister because of our Heavenly Children . Hugs

1 Pamela4k

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my 18 year old son Joshua to suicide in 2006. I went along time trying to deal with the loss of that day for years by myself. I then found wings of hope Inc on facebook.

I have been involved with Wings of Hope living Forward Inc for 5 maybe 6 years now. From their FaceBook page to their retreats it is the best help for parents who have lost a child and for Grandparents who have lost grandchildren to get in contact with others on this same unwanted journey that we find ourselves on.

I have attended 3 retreats and will attend more. There is no better help than someone else who is walking the same path that you are. These retreats are amazing. Of course they are full of many emotions. Yes we cry together as we share our precious angels with each other. But we also laugh. I have made friends, really new family at these retreats. They are friends for a lifetime.

I would highly recommend Wings of Hope to anyone who has lost a child or grandchild. Love you all

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to my first retreat in Jan/feb 2017. It was their Pensacola all mom's retreat. I was nervous at first but right away they all became family. I lost my son to suicide over 10 yrs ago. I have been handling my grief alone. It was amazing how much love and support you find at the retreats. It was great to share in discussions and learn from other mom's that know the pain of losing a child. I would suggest going to one of the retreats to any one that is grieving the loss of a child.

1 Janet Morgan J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wings of Hope Living Forward is a wonderful organization that allows parents who have suffered the loss of a child/children connect with parents from all over the world who are also grieving the loss of a child/children. Wings of Hope living forward has retreats in different states so that parents are able to spend time with other grieving parents, sharing their children, their grief journey, receive comfort, comfort others, and to learn how others are coping with losing a child. The retreats are amazing, healing, and have allowed me to many wonderful people that I could never have met without Wing of Hope Living Forward. There is no one that could ever understand or help a parent who has lost a child except for another parent who has also lost a child and this organization has made it possible for these families to find each other.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to my first retreat in February 2018 and had the best time. I lost my son in December 2007, and never realized how much I needed the strength and encouragement of other parents going through the same headache, living the same nightmare. I have remained close with several others and am so thankful for the love and support that we provide for one another.

Amber S.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wings Of Hope has been a sisterhood since I lost my daughter October 11, 2015. Everyone totally understands how you feel each day and are so supportive.

1 Melanie54

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wings of Hope has been a God-send for me! I have been a member of this organization almost since it's inception. After losing my youngest son, Jess, in 2009 I found Wings of Hope quite by accident. I attended the first retreat held in 2013 & found a group of caring moms & dads who were on this same journey of navigating life without their precious children. I formed immediate bonds with the founder of the group & other members. Life-long friendships have been made at retreats & through the facebook groups. These people literally held me up when I could not stand on my own. The retreats are wonderful & each one brought healing & hope for this broken hearted mom. I truly can't say enough about how generous founder, Shirley Tripp Johnson is, both with her time & the efforts she puts into this organization. I tell every new grieving mom I meet about Wings of Hope. 10 years since the death of my precious Jess, I now share the group with excitement instead of sadness. I owe much of my healing to Wings of Hope (after God, of course)!!

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We lost our oldest son in 2001. His baby brother was killed in an accident in 2009. I attended the first Wings of Hope retreat in 2012 & continue to attend retreats, including the most recent one in VA Beach. This group has meant so much to me over the years. I was welcomed with open arms, lots of hugs & understanding from other parents on this same grief journey. The retreats are well planned & bring hope & healing to all who attend. We come from all over the US (& some outside the US). We come from all walks of life. Our stories are unique but, their outcomes are the same. We're just trying to get through this life without our precious children. Wings of Hope is an amazing organization - I don't know where I would be without this group.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been to several retreats since my son moved to heaven January 10, 2012. They have helped me cope with my grief, make lifelong friends who truly understand what it feels like lo lose a child, and we actually have fun while sharing our precious children. I have met so many wonderful Moms and Dad on this journey and look forward to seeing you all again. Thank you Shirley for all you do to help us on this path we are all on. It truly support our forward movement.

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 4

My son passed away in January of 2012. He was my heart and I have been lost ever since. I have gone to counseling and attended TCF meetings but what has helped me the most is attending The Wings of Hope retreats. Just meeting the other parents and knowing that what we are feeling is normal - we are not crazy really helps. While the retreats were not as spiritual as I would have liked, the relationships that were developed from attending these retreats was and is so healing. The organizers of the retreats are grieving parents also so they know what we are going through and they ask for feedback so they can try to improve with each retreat. The retreats are not a one size fits all but I can truly say that I have met some amazing people that I know will be lifelong friends, actually more like family and am so very grateful that I was able to attend these retreats.

1 Anacelia Deluna H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wow where do I start, Pensacola 2018 was my very first time attending a grieving moms retreat since losing my daughter Jenese in January of 2014. And I'm so looking forward my next one in October it was the absolute best time for me alone to reflect on my daughter. If you are dealing with stages of grief this retreat is honestly the best thing to help yourself. So worth it.

1 donnajohn

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a part of Wings of Hope Living Forward Inc. for several years. They have helped me tremendously with the grief of losing my son Adam. Shirley Tripp-Johnson, who has also lost a son, has been by my side teaching coping skills and has often been my shoulder to cry on. I have been on many retreats and they are life changing. This is an amazing charity and one that I highly recommend to any grieving parent or grandparent.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lost my son on October 9, 2011. I spent my time in a fog not knowing where to turn, who I could talk to. I needed to speak with moms and dads that had also lost a child because only we know the pain and devastation of child loss. I found Wings of Hope. I have been on many retreats and have been in constant contact with group members. We help each other and it all started and continues with Wings of Hope. I highly recommend this nonprofit to any parent or grandparent that has lost a child. They are always there and ready to listen/help. Thank you to Wings of Hope for all that you do for all of us.

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Iva Jean T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi, I am Iva Jean Tennant and six years ago my most precious granddaughter was killed due to the actions of a negligent day care provider and my life was ripped apart, never to be the same again. I discovered this amazing organization and they have loved me and helped me grow through this horrific tragedy. We share our stories and build up one another. We have a safe place to vent our emotions, hopes and fears. Without Wings of Hope supporting me throughout the years, I am not sure I would have survived. They are just that: Wings of HOPE and help each person to be able to take each day one day at a time and to move forward, even in little baby steps.

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my granddaughter, Kenzee, was killed, my whole world changed forever: watching and being with my precious daughter as she struggled through the nightmare of this tragedy and the huge hole that was torn in my heart made life almost impossible. Then I read about a retreat to Virginia Beach. I knew no one and just packed up my car and drove 10 hours to join a group of ladies and some husbands that I had never met. I remember how scared I was and thinking I must be crazy; I was: I was crazy with grief and a broken heart.

When I got there, I was so afraid to walk in the door, but I soon realized that I had nothing to fear. I was welcomed and brought in with friendly smiles and hugs and helps of carrying my luggage up a flight of stairs. I met the most amazing supportive people who understood what I was going through.

Throughout the week as we opened up and felt safe doing so it was amazing the bonds we were forming. We all were there with a common bond and we knew that it was a safe place to express our feelings. We were together with others who were at various walks along this path that had been forced upon us.

Here we could talk about our favorite memories and share things that helped us or hindered us. We could pose questions and chat. We remembered our children and did various things to celebrate their lives. We could cry or just hold onto someone tight and knew that someone truly cared and understood.

We cooked together, walked the beach together, had barbecues together, swam together and even were lucky enough to go for a ride on a tall ship and enjoy the sun and water.

More importantly, we found people who understood us and validated us and we all had a chance to speak as we needed. There was no pressure, no judgment--just love, compassion and concern.

I met some of the most amazing people whom I continue to keep in contact and will continue.

Since that retreat, I went to a few other retreats: Arkansas and Fort Lauderdale and back to 'Virginia Beach and each time I gained more strength and met more beautiful grieving parents and grandparents.

I am not even sure how the organizers are able to give us so much at these retreats: from the food, little special mementos, the memorial candles, videos, special outings (such as tall ships, or motor boat sightseeing or shopping or beach time), balloon release or butterfly release, or special guest speakers or message in the bottle releasing in the ocean or dj and sing along and ALL at a fabulous retreat house!!!

The outpouring of compassion is amazing and for once you will be with people who "get it" ---who understand.

For those who can't go to a retreat, there are state chapters whose leaders are trying desperately to get little get togethers in your state to make everyone feel like they have a place to belong.

I give everyone involved in putting this together a lot of credit and thanks and love. They, too, have lost a child and they are opening up their hearts to everyone to make a difference with the grieving parent and grandparents. What an awesome organization.

1 Karissa D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wings of Hope has helped me with the loss of my 4 year old daughter. This group has been there to help my whole family and to help me understand that people are there to help get through these horrible tragedies.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I joined this group several months ago & went on my first retreat to Virginia Beach with Shirley Tripp-Johnson. Shirley & fellow group members are amazing. I am sincerely grateful for their loving friendship & support.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined wings of hope a year ago and so happy I did . I went on my first retreat last week Va Beach , I made friends for a lifetime . Thankful for this group Jennifer Carfrey

1 Dana Borzillo E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my daughter Kelsea Dionna Borzillo September 2, 2013 to a Heroin overdose. I didn’t have anyone to turn to when someone told me about WOH. I went on my first retreat a week ago in Virginia Beach. I met so many wonderful people who I now call my family. I feel like a new beginning has been given to me, they all made me feel normal again. The worst part of the retreat was having to leave knowing I couldn’t bring them all home with me. Thank you all for helping me move forward, love you all!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

None of us want to be a part of this group, but thank goodness this organization exists . Wings of Hope is a group of parents from all walks of life and backgrounds and have one thing in common, the horrific loss of your child. Even though you will not come back healed or less wounded, you will take away new perspectives. Each of us suffer and grieve differently , but what we can learn from each other and the support is tremendous , makes the shared time together an invaluable experience. I have attended two retreats and both were very different and I have learned from others that have helped me survive some of my daily challenges. Many of the attendees and board members stay in touch while not evasive and are truly a supportive and non judgmental family. An organization that is worthy of your support because they truly support others.

1 Jacquie G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have gone on just one retreat with this group, but would like to go on more. The grief retreats bring together parents who have lost a child, and the activities planned throughout the week help all participants share stories about their child and also offer love and feedback to the other parents. I highly recommend these retreats to any parents of 'angels' who are stuck in their grief and need an outlet to help them in their grief journey.

Previous Stories
3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Every interaction with the people in this group is positive. The parent newly grieving the loss of a child, or for those of us for whom it's further in the past all find comfort and are able to share their grief in constructive and healing ways.

Abigail Adams N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Ashlee, age 21 with 2 children (ages 5 & 18 mo @ the time) was murdered on December 20/22, 2012 by her husband.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was murdered in a home invasion 18 years ago, she and her husband were both shot, she twice in the head, and him 3 x. The father survived, four young men just 19 years old broke in and held the children hostage, 3 little boys, ages six, four and two. I have had many counseling sessions with professionals to cope with the loss and devastation, but not anything compares to having another grieving parent to talk about the loss, you just don't get it, until it happens to you.