I have had the opportunity to work with the staff at WINGS for kids for the last 3 years as a partner supporting service learning as a part of the WINGS curriculum. WINGS shines a light on what makes kids GREAT and Earth Force considers them an outstanding partner. Their program is a critical staple of support for schools and communities that are often overwhelmed with with challenges. One of the things that makes WINGS so effective is their focus; all aspects of their program are explicitly tied to Social and Emotional Learning Objectives. Through SEL participants and their families learn how to explore and manage their own responses to the world around them. Through our partnership with WINGS for kids we, at Earth Force, feel that we are better able to achieve our mission to "engage young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities."
Working with children is exhausting! Working with children who are unfamiliar with 'the rules for success' in a school setting, can raise the stress levels and literal noise levels in an educational environment very quickly; I know this from the past ten years. I have seen many teachers in action in our local schools, many of which serve "at-risk" children. I have unfortunately seen few teachers who seem to truly enjoy the process and appreciate their students, until now. The shouting, fighting and sulking behaviour, so typical of many children/students, is being addressed in a kind, caring and affirming manner.The children are learning both how to receive and give respect to others. They are learning about referred gratification and the perseverance and patience required to achieve their goals, something that I believe is too readily absent in our society. The young leaders are the best I've seen in an after school program and hopefully , they too will be even better leaders in our society, given a close understanding of the many issues our schools and students are facing. WINGS for kids gets the highest grade in my book. I'm very thankful they are here and I pray they will quickly expand the schools/sites they are able to work in