Two steps forward and seven steps back…

Two steps forward and seven steps back…

Dear Friends, “I wish life wasn’t so messy. I wish we could see immediate progress in every family that we worked alongside. I wish there was a formula to guarantee healthy, happy families. I wish the services Sheltering Wings offers weren’t even necessary.” This is what I was thinking as I listened to a resident reflecting on her time here at the Shelter. She was having a difficult time finding good things occurring in her life. I tried to prompt her by asking leading questions, “What are you currently working on that you look forward to achieving? When you look back over the last year, what can you point to that you have overcome?” Her answer broke my heart, “Actually, I think I’ve regressed from where I was a year ago…” As we kept talking about it, it was a reminder to me of the reality of the world we live in. We want so badly to believe that if a person does A plus B, it will equal success. If only we can empower victims of abuse to seek safe housing and provide appropriate life skill classes and groups, then we’ll break the cycle of abuse. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that way. Rather, the complications of life’s circumstances, emotions, and strongholds make progress more difficult. Yet, that is why we continue our work at Sheltering Wings. We know that families sometimes take two steps forward and seven steps back, but we keep going. Together, we overcome obstacles. We encourage one another. We pray for each other. We provide resources and services needed to build safety and stability....
A Big Realization…

A Big Realization…

Dear Friends, Melissa Echerd, our Education and Outreach Coordinator, goes into nine of our Hendricks County schools each year to talk about teen dating violence. She talks about what one should expect out of a healthy relationship, as well as red flags to look for in unhealthy relationships. These teens are in relationships that are setting the foundation of accepted behaviors for their current and future relationships. This is why it is so important to have discussions about relationships with teens. Melissa is in each school three to five days. Typically at the beginning of the sessions, the students are fairly quiet and reserved. However, by the end of the program, they are much more engaged and freely ask questions about their relationships. One of the most memorable moments in the last year was when the class ended and a young man approached Melissa asking if he could talk to her. Of course she said yes and what unfolded next was a teenage boy identifying that the red flags Melissa had talked about were things occurring in his relationship with his girlfriend. The biggest realization? He was the perpetrator. He had been repeating what was modeled to him and didn’t realize that what he was doing was unhealthy, let alone signs of abuse. He asked Melissa how he could get help so he could end these behaviors. What an opportunity for us to share love, truth and help for those in need! In His Service, Cassie Martin Executive Director P.S. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Our youth council, Teens that Talk, is doing fundraisers in their respective...
Sheltering Wings wants you to Pay It Forward!

Sheltering Wings wants you to Pay It Forward!

Dear friends, Next week, January 12 marks the 14th anniversary for Sheltering Wings. Rather than mark the anniversary with a party or a fundraising event, we have decided that we want to find ways to give back to the community that has provided its support for 14 years. And, we need your help! We have been the beneficiary of amazing generosity and kindness since we opened our doors. So we thought the best way to thank the community was to encourage people to do nice things for others. Sheltering Wings is asking everyone to “Pay it Forward” next week, on January 12, by performing random acts of kindness for others. Even small acts like complimenting a stranger or holding the door open for someone can have a big impact. Other ideas for acts of kindness include paying for the person behind you at the drive-through, giving an unusually generous tip to a restaurant server, handing a coat or a meal to someone who’s homeless, greeting the mail carrier with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa — there are so many ways to share our blessings with others. When you perform an act of kindness on January 12 include a copy of the Pay It Forward flyer (attached here). And talk about or put a picture of your act on social media and use the hashtag #SWPaysItForward. We think this is a great way to remind others that our world is full of kindness and generosity. We know, because we’ve been on the receiving end, and including the flyer with your act of kindness may encourage the recipient to...
A Christmas to Remember!

A Christmas to Remember!

Dear friends, My family has many happy Christmas memories, but I’m especially fond of our silliest. Aunt Cyndi was flying into town to visit. Since it was Christmas Day, all twelve of us (Mom, Dad, sister, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins) decided to greet her at the gate dressed in Santa costumes. She was surprised and delighted — as were several other travelers who posed for photos with our family! I’m sure you’re smiling as you remember your own favorite stories. But what if your Christmas memories focused on hearing your mother pleading for your father to stop yelling before he slams the front door? Instead of treasured gifts and favorite cookies, what if Christmas meant discovering Mom sitting on the floor by the tree, her eyes swollen with tears? This Christmas, dozens of children will experience their first holiday season without fear. That’s because they’ll celebrate at Sheltering Wings. Ensuring their safety is only the first step in helping them become strong, independent adults who will be able to establish and sustain healthy relationships.  It’s the first step in helping them create the right kind of Christmas memories for their own children … and we couldn’t make it happen without your prayerful and generous support. May this Christmas be merry and memorable for you, and may your New Year be particularly joyous!   In His Service, Cassie Martin Executive Director...
Remembering to Be Thankful…

Remembering to Be Thankful…

Dear friends, Every day, we face so many challenges that it’s easy to forget to be thankful. But then I walk past our conference room and see one of our residents talking with a case manager, a tutor, a mentor, or someone from one of our social-service agency partners. This delightful lady arrived with no resources, little hope, and a minimal understanding of English. She was determined to stop being a victim of domestic violence, so she decided to take full advantage of the classes and resources in our Life Skills program. Her English has improved greatly, as have her parenting skills. She is acquiring computer skills that will help her land a job, and learning how to budget so she can make the most of what she earns and control her own finances. With every meeting, every class, and every conversation, she is building the tools she needs to live safely and independently, and to provide stability to her beautiful daughter. And each time I see her, she is closer to that goal. Her progress reminds me of the value of the support and services we provide so that women and children can escape unsafe situations. It reminds me of the stable and independent lives our past residents are pursing. And it reminds me of the importance of your generous and prayerful support that makes everything possible. I’m thankful for everything you do for our women, our children, and our staff. May your Thanksgiving be warm, wonderful, and filled with God’s love.   In His Service, Cassie Martin Executive Director...
Let’s Start The Conversation

Let’s Start The Conversation

Dear friends, Recently, someone asked me what Sheltering Wings hopes to accomplish during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a question I love, because it focuses on outcomes, instead of just the activities (which appear below).  We hope each attendee walks away with information that prompts a conversation at the dinner table, around the water cooler, or at school. You see, the more we talk about domestic violence, the less isolated victims feel, and the more empowered they become to seek the support and resources they need. Our activities are designed to start that process. If you can’t join us in person this year, please participate by making a donation to support these important, informative events, so we may break the cycle of violence. In His Service, Cassie Martin Executive Director   October Activities Thursday, October 1 “Shine the Light”- Sheltering Wings Annual Vigil Join us as we remember lives lost and celebrate those who have been saved. Location: Sheltering Wings, Danville Time: 6:30pm Friday, October 2 “Ignite and Spread the Love”- 5th Quarter Bonfire for Teens Learn more about preventing the dangers of dating violence.  Games, food, door prizes, etc. Location: Nehemiah Ranch Time: 9:30pm (after football games) Monday, October 12 “Domestic Violence Hits Home”- Community Forum A deeper understanding of how Domestic Violence affects our community from different perspectives (family, law enforcement, business, church, etc.) Location: Avon Town Hall Time: 6:30pm Monday, October 19 “What to Know, What to Do”- Workplace Domestic Violence Awareness Breakfast Learn what HR professionals can do to help victims of domestic violence in your place of work. Location: HRH YMCA in Avon...