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Nonprofit Overview

Target demographics: parents and grandparents after child loss.

Direct beneficiaries per year: so many grieving parents with our grief and healing retreats.

Geographic areas served: many locations mainly east coast

Programs: Our goal for 2014-2015 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

52 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Amanda203

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi. I'm Amanda. I have 2 girls but my baby girl lives in Heaven. Amber was diagnosed with Acute Myloed Leukemia 2 weeks before 2nd birthday. My Lil Cancer Warrior fought for 9 months. Amber is forever 2 years 8 months. I joined this group last year. I have attended several retreats. I have met and and became close friends with other Angel Parents and Grandparents. I feel like they are my extended family who understands my grief. The retreats has helped me so much. I have found some peace there. If you havent buried a child, then you really don't understand and can't grasp the long term hurt and grief that we are experiencing on a daily basis. Children is suppose to bury their parents not the other way around. I wake up daily feeling robbed of so much life with my baby girl. There is no "getting over it" or "moving on". Really. We live without our child daily. All we have left is pictures and memories to comfort us. Grieving is a life long process. Grief doesn't go away or take days off. Grieving has become a part of me that will last a lifetime. I wouldn't want this to happen to my worst enemy. Wings of Hope is an amazing group where I can grieve without criticism and talk with others about everything. This non profit group has so many wonderful things to help others with the death of a child /grandchildren. I am so blessed to have found Wings of Hope. I'm including a couple photos of my baby girl, Amber.

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am also a grieving mother. My youngest daughter is forever 2 years 8 months. She had Acute Myloed Leukemia. She fought it for 9 months. I felt so helpless and alone. My husband also my girls father wasn't there for me at all. My family and so called friends wasn't there for me.. They all used the same excuse. They couldn't handle it. The last couple of weeks, I watched my baby deteriate. She was dying. I rocked her as she left me to go to Heaven. I have been a member of this awesome group for 11 months now. Wings of Hope Living Forward has helped me so much with my grief. A part of me past away when she did. I will never be that person again. I have changed that much. Through this group, I met strangers. Those strangers quickly became friends. After the retreat began to end, I had some great friends. My new friends understands me. We are here for each other. My life has changed forever!
I speak about what I know of. I speak for myself and not what other's say. I speak my opinions, personal feelings, and experiences. I do not get involved with hearsay/rumors. It causes alot of drama. Some people thrives on it. I have been through enough. No drama, hearsay or rumors. This way I don't get fooled, and drawn into it.
I know and asked an accountant and business finance. Same person. Yes Wings of Hope is a nonprofit organization. An nonprofit organization must account for every dollar that comes in and goes out. Susan G. Kolmen foundation is also nonprofit for breast cancer awareness. Both sell merchandise. I don't have a problem with Wings of Hope Living Forward store. No one is required to purchase anything. The cost of retreat includes cost of the huge rented homes, covers all food, unless you want something else. There is always plenty of food. Materials needed for the retreat, candles,t-shirt , gifts, prizes, and all activities. I have been to 3 retreats so far. And I will be going again. All of us volunteer to help with daily running of household. We all do whatever needs done. There are no outside volunteers. I haven't experienced any problems. And I haven't been disrespected either. If volunteers left, that is their right. We all must do what is best for us.
It isn't anyone's business who makes what. Just like you. But nonprofit, the state and federal does keep up with the different rules and regulations. Personally, I have wrote up an employee for discussing his. Just saying. In my opinion that should get paid. They dedicate all their time for this group and organizing retreats. Who are you,need to know, judging people about what kind of people they are and their morales. I do not judge people, I'm not suppose to.No one knows their personal situation. The memorial page if you read it in its entirety it says small donation. A certain amount is not asked for. And no I haven't done it yet. But I plan on it. The parents do most of the memorial. It is the parents who gather their favorite pictures, favorite poems, and then send it in. The parent obviously wants a copy if it. If someone is disgusted with a group, I don't understand why you are still in it? Especially since you are going on hearsay, which of course does not hold up in court. That is exactly why I don't believe hearsay/rumors. Causes more drama.
I did notice you did not mention any of your personal feelings or experiences. Also personally attending retreats was not mentioned. Surely a person would not talk about other people drama especially without having her own personal experiences to back anything up. This is why I talk about things I know about or have facts to back it based on my personal feelings and experiences. I am glad I found this group. Wings of Hope Living Forward has helped me so much.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to an all mom retreat in Feb. 2015 to Fort Lauderdale Fl. & this past October my husband & I attended a couples retreat in Va.. The above mentioned are so far my only two. I liked them both. They had similarities & differences. My husband enjoyed it also. There is joy, there are tears & new friendships to be made. So many people from so many different places, so many different back grounds; but yet, one thing in common. Grief is what unites us & our children are the ones keeping us together. Shirley & Renee (& Frank) work so hard to put these together & we applaud them for their efforts. Great retreats, we highly recommend them & can't wait to do it again. Miss our friends, till next time......To all of our children: Rest in peace, sleep in love, greatly missed

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.

3 Teresa83

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wings of Hope Living Forward is an awesome organization. I have been to 2 retreats. The first one I went to, I didn't know anyone. I felt very welcome and comforted the minute I walked in the door. I made new friends who had something in common with me. I am so grateful I was able to go to those retreats. I learned something at each one, that has helped with my grief. It is well worth the money. My family and friends comment on how helpful these retreats have been for me. Renee and Shirley work very hard on the retreats and do a great job. Thank Renee and Shirley for all you do!

4

Client Served

Rating: 4

Don't let 1 bad review discredit the Wings of Hope Forward Inc.. It is an attempt to cast false allegations this wonderful organization. Of course, if you are a trouble-maker & can't follow the rules, read no further, because these will not be tolerated. This is for grieving, hurting people that have suffered the loss or losses of a loved one. I lost my son to suicide in 2008. What an unimaginable & overwhelming hurt & pain & emptiness, that it left me with!!! If I had not found this grief groups & these retreats I just don't know what I would done. I have gone to 5 retreats. I am so thankful for the comfort & understanding that I received. I have flown & traveled by car in a group. The retreats are planned in advance, giving plenty of time to decide your mode of transportation. We stay in safe, beautiful fully furnished house with a spectacular or scenic view, which provides for your comfort & relaxation for healing. We have meetings, talks, & sharing. We make new friends that we can cry or laugh, knowing they will understand our emotions. Our 3 meals are tasty & good. We have lots of snacks anytime you desire. We have balloon & bottle release to our angels. My favorite event is the beautiful candle-lighting honoring our angels. Sponsor a Mom! Donate! Donations are tax deductible. Hats off to Renee & Shirley for planning these retreats at reasonable cost! They are heartbroken Moms, that gives comfort & strength to those that are grieving. I come away looking forward to the next retreat.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I lost my son José Adrian Campos, to the awful horrible disease CANCER. José was diagnosed at age 17, ando 4 days to his 20th birthday my sweet boy gained his angel wings. Leaving this painful hole in my heart. Wings of Hope has help me move forward, even though the pain will remain with me forever, I know I can always have the loving, caring and understanding of other angel mom's from this site.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been to several retreats and gotten so much from each one. The people that run the organization are wonderful and very real- they genuinely care for each and every person.
(It saddens me to see the bad review on here, but you can't please everyone all the time!)
The retreats are life-savers for many, including myself, and I would highly recommend that anyone donate to this cause or attend a retreat if you are yourself a grieving parent.

3 Sandra Q.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to my first retreat this last spring in Virginia Beach. It was so nice to be able to talk out loud about my son Keith. Friends and family get too uncomfortable to talk to me about him. At the retreat i was even able to cry in front of people. And they understood. I met some very awesome people on this retreat. I can still talk to them on the web page. I was really alone before i met these wonderful people. I asked people to please talk to me about my son. Only his friends would. Here, i don't have to ask, i can just talk and it's okay. It makes a huge difference to talk to people who really understand and get it.

3 Iva Jean T.

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.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been with this wonderful organization from the beginning. I lost my daughter Feb.15th 2013. My world was turned upside down..I was online one night and received a message from a women I never had spoken to..She reached out to help me. She is part of this wonderful group. My husband and I went to the first retreat they had,I have to say that I found hope,love and understanding..We made forever friends attending this retreat..I have been to several retreats now, and they have helped me in my healing..I will continue to support this wonderful group..They have helped so many that had no where to turn to..Thank you for all you do...I am forever grateful! Barbara

Previous Stories
6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a mother to an angel..My daughter passed away February 15th 2013. Losing a child is the most horrible thing a parent can go through. I want to tell you about the wonderful retreats my husband and I have been too. The first time I went I did not know what to expect. We did not know anyone. When we came through that door, everyone greeted us with so much love. I felt so welcomed. The meetings they have everyday helped me so much. I knew I was not alone in this journey,that they were going through the same thing I was. We made life long friends and so much healing going to these retreats. We laugh,we cry,we comfort each other,but most importantly we can talk about our children without being judged. My husband and I will be going again. Please support this wonderful organization. It has helped so many grieving parents including my husband and I. Thank you!