In Wake of Tragedy, New Program Will Connect Charleston Students To One Another

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WINGS Afterschool Program to Pair Charleston Students, Teach Social and Emotional Learning

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“As an organization rooted in social / emotional learning and based in Charleston, WINGS cannot go back to business as usual,” said WINGS CEO Bridget Laird.

In response to the recent tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, WINGS for Kids today announced a new initiative to help Charleston students build new friendships and deepen one-on-one relationship skills with other kids across the community through social awareness programming.

“As an organization rooted in social / emotional learning and based in Charleston, WINGS cannot go back to business as usual,” said WINGS CEO Bridget Laird. “We cannot not do more, try harder, dive deeper, and grow bigger. Standing together against racism, we will promote friendship and understanding starting with the open hearts and minds of the future - kids.”

WINGS is the only afterschool program in the country that focuses solely on improving social and emotional learning (SEL) for students.

As part of the new Kindred Kids initiative, the four WINGS programs in Charleston will partner with other afterschool programs serving middle-income fourth and fifth graders in the area to bring together kids in the community who may have never crossed paths with before.

This fall, WINGS participants will be matched with a “Kindred Kid” at a different school. WINGS will host three in-person gatherings over the year, where partners will play games, have guided conversations, and share meals while learning WINGS’ award-winning social and emotional learning curriculum. Partners will also stay in touch and further their relationships through exchanging letters.

Research shows that low-income and minority students are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to lack the social and emotional (SEL) skills that are foundational to academic success. WINGS runs programming between the hours of 3 and 5 PM, when students are most likely to engage in risky behaviors.

“Though Kindred Kids may be small in reach,” said Laird, “we know a wave of change comes when all people, organizations, and businesses take strides together.”

About WINGS for Kids
WINGS is a nonprofit education program that teaches kids how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships. The program weaves a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum into a fresh and fun afterschool program—specifically targeted toward supporting low-income, minority students. Kids get the life lessons they need to succeed and be happy, and a safe place to call home after the school day ends.

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Julie Newport
WINGS for Kids
+1 (202) 266-4718
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