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Program Description

WINGS is an education program that teaches kids how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships. We do this by weaving a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum into a fresh and fun after school program. Kids get the life lessons they need to succeed and be happy and they get a safe place to call home after school.

WINGS is the only U.S. organization focused solely on providing social and emotional education within after school programs.

We use a codified, research-based curriculum that requires the entry of data on a daily basis to track our kids’ progress and ensure that we are delivering our desired outcomes of improving social and emotional skills, behavior, attendance, and academic performance.

Our SEL curriculum revolves around 5 competencies of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills.

  • WINGS runs every day, M-F, 3 hours, for a total of 450 hours each school year.


WINGS for kids, Inc.

Strategies for sustainability

A strong track record for helping kids succeed distinguishes WINGS in the youth development field. We have been singled out for the quality and effectiveness of our work:

There is also a large customer or funder market for WINGS. WINGS is able to access local, state, and federal government funds; private foundation funding; individual donors; corporate giving initiatives; earned income streams; and substantial in-kind donation programs. The variety of sources allows for long-term, sustainable revenue and the continuation of the WINGS program.

Impact of program
  • WINGS for kids is the only educational nonprofit nationwide of its kind focused on teaching social and emotional skills (SEL) to kids k-6th in an after school setting.

  • WINGS serves more than 1,200 kids every dayat a record ten schools (4 in Charleston, SC, 1 in rural Lake City, SC, 4 in Atlanta, GA and 1 in Charlotte, NC).

  •  By 2016, WINGS plans to be in up to 16 schools across the southeast.

SINCE 1996, we have served more than 5,300 kids; trained 422 WINGSLeaders to participate and mentor; conducted more than 250,000 hours of SEL programming; and represented 24 colleges and universities through our WINGSLeaders.

Evaluation tools
  • Four-star rating for WINGS! Charity Navigator delivered their highest rating, four-stars, to WINGS and we're one of only five organizations in the Low Country to score this high mark. A 4-star rating is defined as “Exceptional: Exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its Cause.”

  • Studies from Yale University and the University of Virginia provide evidence that students enrolled in two or more years of WINGS demonstrate significantly higher math and reading scores, grades, and school attendance when compared to non-WINGS students. Additional metrics report WINGS students have higher self-esteem, less anxiety, and greater satisfaction with school than non-WINGS kids, and teachers report WINGS kids have greater school adjustment when compared to non-WINGS students. Based on internal preliminary data, WINGS kids graduate at a rate 40% higher than their peers who did not receive WINGS. To further document our outcomes, the University of Virginia recently received approval for a $2.8 million Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant to study the impact of WINGS. This will be a multi-year, randomized control trial study, the gold standard in program evaluation.
Key elements towards success
  • All WINGS kids receive 130 hours of homework help at WINGS each year.

  • WINGS is designed to teach 30 SEL skills, which fall under five core competencies of Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

Challenges to meet them

WINGS serves a vulnerable population at great risk of failure. We recruit the most challenging students attending the most at-risk public elementary schools from low-income, predominantly African-American families whose kids drop out at an alarming rate -- 1 out of 2 males, 1 out of 4 females, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Report.

The impact of poverty on academic development is devastating. When evaluating cognitive scores of preschool-age children, there is a 60% difference in achievement between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups. Further studies show that 10-year-old students living in the poorest families are already 18 months behind their higher-income counterparts. Additionally, third-grade students from low-income families are shown to have vocabularies that are only a third of middle-income students. Attendance records of fourth-grade students from low-income schools show a 38% increase in the number of kids who miss three or more days per month than from higher income schools, and the gap widens to 47% in eighth-grade.

Length & stage of project

 We began in 1996.