From the Director

Positive Changes For Her Family

Positive Changes For Her Family

Dear Friends, The little girl is a spitting image of her mom. They have the same walk and talk. Their hair is similar. They have the same fun, engaging personality. It is so cute to see. As I watched them interact, I prayed that this little girl also imitates other qualities she sees in her mom: her bravery and courage, hard work ethic, and desire to make positive changes for her family. You see, this mom made one of the toughest, most brave decisions a woman can make…to leave the only home their family had ever known in order to start again. Their home had become unsafe with the threat of verbal and physical abuse around every turn. This mom saw what was happening to her family and desired better for them. She may not have fully realized it at the time, but seeking safety at Sheltering Wings was her first step in breaking the cycle of abuse. When she came with her children they were initially very timid and scared, but as they began to meet the staff and other residents, as well as attend our groups and classes, we began to see a sparkle return to their eyes. Mom is leading the way to make healthy changes: she attends parenting classes and a support group. She found a job and has started saving money for their own place. She also works with our Children’s Case Manager to gather appropriate resources to support her children’s educational, physical and mental well-being needs. The family is beginning to thrive. It hasn’t been an overnight transformation, but they are gathering the... read more
Domestic Violence Follows Victims To Work

Domestic Violence Follows Victims To Work

Dear Friends, “I thought if it was a domestic problem, it was none of our business.” She was a caring, compassionate human resources manager for a local company. She knew a lot about looking out for the company’s employees, but she didn’t realize she might have to protect an employee from an abusive spouse. Our in-service presentation opened her eyes. “I didn’t realize it was our problem too. I learned domestic violence follows the victim to work.” Just because a victim leaves home to flee an abuser doesn’t guarantee safety. The abuser knows exactly where to find that victim every day, because the victim needs that income more than ever. Nearly three out of every four domestic violence victims report that their abuser has harassed them at work. If you’re a manager, you can take some simple steps to ensure the safety of an employee who is being abused or threatened: Ask the victim what changes you can make so he or she will feel safer. The victim knows the perpetrator better than anyone else. Document any abusive behaviors or evidence of abuse you may see or notice. Be sure the victim saves threatening email or voicemail messages. They may help with legal actions or prove that the abuser has violated a restraining order. Ask the employee for an emergency contact in case he or she is missing or unreachable. Have someone walk with the employee to the car or public transit stop, or arrange for a car pool to provide safe transportation. Make sure employees don’t give out any personal information to callers or visitors, because abusers often... read more
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.... read more
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... read more

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Dillon Welch Racing

Dillon Welch is a race car driver. The Carmel High School senior tries to drive the oval tracks as fast as possible, but he is equally diligent in his efforts off the track to stop a different kind of cycle: The cycle of abuse. “Abuse comes in a variety of forms, including bullying, dating violence, and domestic abuse,” Welch said. “Bullying through social media is also becoming a significant issue with kids.”   Statistics indicate children who experience violence at home often turn the violence outward into society. For young people many times that violence comes in the form of bullying. Bullying can turn into dating violence. Dating violence is a forerunner for domestic abuse. Domestic abuse affects everyone. Children then tend to act out against other children. It is a cycle. Stopping the cycle of abuse will not happen overnight, and it will not happen with the efforts of just one person. Still, Welch believes he can use his racing program as a vehicle to deliver the message. “Because of the sport’s uniqueness, kids tend to find race car drivers interesting,” Welch said. “That gives me a platform to reach them.” In a partnership with Sheltering Wings, the 18-year old racer is developing an awareness program to educate young people on the signs and dangers of abuse. “Our Racing for Wings program will give kids a chance to identify the signs of abuse,” Welch said. “Are they a victim or maybe even the abuser, the bully; regardless, they need help and we want them to know there is help available for them.” Welch, who competes in the USAC National Midget Series, is passionate about his desire to win races. He is equally driven to be a difference-maker in the community. “We will take this message to the students and families locally. It...

Still Standing

Ramona knows a thing or two about adversity. After enduring almost 20 years of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, she had to completely start her life over. Like many other women across the state, Ramona (whose last name is being withheld for her privacy) turned to Sheltering Wings for help. But the decision wasn’t entirely hers. it took a little nudge from her pastor to get the ball rolling. “I never said anything because I figured it was just between us.” Ramona said of her years of silence about the abuse. She said her ex-husband would not only subject her to physical abuse, but would also do other horrific things like sleep with a gun, shut off the electricity when she was spending time with their children, and threaten her. He was even abusive to the children. Eventually she and the children got out. Leaving was no easy task. Her opportunity to escape the situation came mixed with personal sadness. A friend and fellow church member passed away and Ramona, who did not have a driver’s license, needed a ride to the funeral. Her husband offered, but on the day of the service he was under the influence of pills. “I don’t know how many he took, he must have taken a lot because he started acting funny,” Ramona said. When they arrived at her church the police were called and Ramona’s husband was transported to the hospital under detention because he had weapons in his car. He threatened whoever was involved in turning him in. Ramona’s pastor urged her to take the children and leave while he was in the hospital. “At first I was debating because I loved him,” she said. “I didn’t want him to die. I wanted to be there if anything happened.” She knew she had...

Colts VP makes Shelter’s mission his own.

“God planted the seed right in front of us,” is how Indianapolis Colts VP Greg Hylton describes his family’s first encounter with Sheltering Wings seven years ago. Greg explains that he and his wife initially contacted the shelter about providing Christmas gifts to families staying there. The shelter’s faith-based mission resonated with them, prompting Greg to sign on first as a volunteer and then as a board member. He is now beginning his second year as Board Chairman. As head of the Colts’ premium seating and ticket sales, Greg has been able to bring the mission of Sheltering Wings to the attention of many new supporters. He is quick to give credit for his ability to be as involved as he is to Colts owner, Jim Irsay, saying “Mr. Irsay leads by example and does a great job himself. He challenges us all to get involved in the community. I feel that when I’m representing the shelter, I’m also representing the Colts.” About the many other companies and individuals Greg has introduced to the shelter, he says, “These are good people who are looking for ways to reach out to the community. It’s really just a matter of making them aware of the shelter and its mission.” Like Greg, many donors are attracted to the faith-based component of Sheltering Wings. As Greg says, “They may have heard of the shelter before, but didn’t realize that we have things like a pastor on staff and voluntary bible study for shelter residents. It’s something that is here for the women who want to work toward healing spiritually as well as physically.” Greg’s experiences in working with the shelter have made a strong impression on him personally. He says, “You can see God working here. When we have a need for something, it shows up…within hours....

Miss Indiana develops a platform for change.

In her recent volunteer work with a Bloomington area shelter, Gabrielle participated in presentations to many Indiana high schools and junior highs in which surveys helped measure student attitudes about what was acceptable and healthy behavior in a relationship… and what was not. “I couldn’t believe the results,” says Gabrielle. “Examples of verbal, and even physical abuse like slapping and hitting, seemed okay to a lot of these kids.” As Miss Indiana, Gabrielle is making it her mission to change that. In her recent volunteer work with a Bloomington area shelter, Gabrielle participated in presentations to many Indiana high schools and junior highs in which surveys helped measure student attitudes about what was acceptable and healthy behavior in a relationship… and what was not. “I couldn’t believe the results,” says Gabrielle. “Examples of verbal, and even physical abuse like slapping and hitting, seemed okay to a lot of these kids.” As Miss Indiana, Gabrielle is making it her mission to change that. Gabrielle’s platform is called “Empowerment from the Start,” and it fills a real need in the fight against domestic violence. As Gabrielle says, “Prevention is what’s going to interrupt the cycle of violence, and that has to begin when kids are just starting to date. That’s what’s going to empower the students to make their own decisions about healthy relationships before they find themselves in an abusive one.” Gabrielle is working within the existing network of domestic violence shelters to spread her message. She explains, “In no way do I consider myself a domestic violence expert. My goal is to help define it. I let people know...

Upcoming Events

Mar
1
Thu
6:30 pm Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings
Mar 1 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings | Sycamore | Illinois | United States
Embracing Empowerment meets every Thursday, 6:30-8:00 pm March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Embracing Empowerment is a support group which is open to residents and community members.  This support group will help victims and survivors gain knowledge[...]
Mar
8
Thu
6:30 pm Sheltering Wings Speaker’s Training @ Sheltering Wings Community Room
Sheltering Wings Speaker’s Training @ Sheltering Wings Community Room
Mar 8 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Sheltering Wings Speaker's Training @ Sheltering Wings Community Room | Danville | Indiana | United States
Sheltering Wings is often called upon to go into the community to talk, inform, and educate various groups.  Each group that requests a speaker usually falls into a specific category, i.e. churches, survivors, businesses, teens,[...]
Apr
5
Thu
6:30 pm Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings
Apr 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings | Danville | Indiana | United States
Embracing Empowerment meets every Thursday, 6:30-8:00 pm April 5, 12, 19, 26 Embracing Empowerment is a support group which is open to residents and community members.  This support group will help victims and survivors gain knowledge of[...]