MISSION & IMPACT
We use experiential education pedagogies to foster empathy and empower people with the belief that they matter.
We believe a world headed up by empathetic leaders will act for the good of all humanity.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Empathy must be nurtured
We believe that empathy is an emotion that should be fostered from an early age by engaging with others, learning to share stories and then empathy can be guided to grow within someone. Learning empathy starts with kindness, respect and gratitude.
Change is hard
The majority of people are resistant to change, most prefer their static comfort zones. Through careful sequencing we build experiences that allow people to move through changes at their own pace.
Failure is part of growth
Failing Forward is our favorite term to describe continuous improvement. Whether we meet our goals or not, learning from our mistakes is a critical element of growth. We apply this principle to our own programs and never stop striving to be better.
Integrity is essential
We live in a world where the truth is under constant attack. We take an active stance to instill honesty as a core quality of our leaders.
Anyone can be a leader
We all have superpowers that can make us a great leader, we just need the chance to showcase them. Great leaders have the moral choice to use their powers for good or evil, we help ours focus on the good.
Experiential learning is best
Humans learn best when our whole selves are engaged, physical, mental and emotional. We create safe space for people to be their authentic selves and have real conversations reflecting on their shared experiences.
The Butterfly Effect is real
We believe small changes will accumulate with massive effect. If enough people in a community commit to change, it will happen.
2021 proved no less challenging than 2020. The year started with the shocking attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of extremists and conspiracy theorists and the COVID'19 pandemic continued to claim lives. Voting rights came under renewed attack, a worrying shift coupled with the sizable majority of the electorate who did not believe the election result.
The eventual uptake of vaccines helped schools and businesses to open up to a different normal. Wingman was able to recommence in-person programming. We saw first hand the impact that the enforced isolation had on the development of children everywhere, and how much they loved being part of the Movement. We held three Train the Trainer workshops in Connecticut and New Jersey, with 50 new Trainers certified for their districts. After the number of schools enrolled in Wingman dwindled to single digits in the depths of lock down, we bounced back to 42 with many new districts adopting the program and a strong roster of inquiries for new program starts. Just over 1,000 Wingman Student Leaders were trained from August to December.
Wings of Friendship, our partnership with The Friendship Journey in Florida that began in January 2020, continued to strengthen, serving a population for which the pandemic is still a real and dangerous risk. Camp Wings of Friendship returned and grew, with campers and counselors from a dozen states Zooming in for eight full weeks of activities over the summer.
Proving that the Wingman pedagogy is universal, we held our first Workshops for adults. The same activities and games used in schools were deployed, albeit with different outcomes as we provided team bonding and trust building, building psychological safety - one of the core elements of high performing teams.
2021 in Review
While 2020 forced us into a deficit and the loss of staff positions, the generosity of our donors and newly enrolled schools in Wingman in 2021 returned the foundation to a financial surplus in 2021.
Through the amazing endeavors of our Running for Dylan community we won the inaugural "Miles for Meaning charity event with its first prize of $25,000.
We saw our Ragnar Relay teams return to the road with a first-of-a-kind entry by a team from Newtown High School. Watch their video HERE.
The foundation continues to use a fiscal sponsor charity to provide strong governance and oversight while keeping costs to a minimum.