From the Director

A Big Step in Eliminating Domestic Violence

A Big Step in Eliminating Domestic Violence

Dear Friends, When February arrives, your thoughts may turn to love. After all, the month’s major holiday is Valentine’s Day. At Sheltering Wings, our thoughts turn to teenagers. That’s because February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. If teens can begin their dating years knowing the difference between healthy and abusive relationships, they’re less likely to encounter problems in their adult years. Our staff frequently goes into schools and church youth groups to talk with teens about healthy dating relationships, and one of the most important conversations we have is about boundaries. It’s a great subject for parents to discuss, too. We emphasize the importance of communication in establishing healthy boundaries, urging teens to speak up when something bothers them instead of holding it in, to respect their partner’s wishes and feelings, and if disagreements arise, how to compromise in fair, constructive ways. We urge them to offer reassurance and encouragement, because healthy relationships are about building each other up. And we stress the importance of respecting each other’s privacy and personal space. Dating shouldn’t be a 24-hour activity. Boundaries aren’t signs of secrecy or distrust. In fact, they’re the very opposite. They express what makes us comfortable, provide guidelines for the relationship, and protect our individuality. Dating is new territory for teens, and it creates a lot of uncertainty. By taking the time to talk with the teens in your life about healthy relationships, you’re increasing the chances that they’ll have positive experiences and be able to protect themselves when something isn’t right. It may seem small, but it’s a big step in eliminating domestic violence from... read more
Christmas is About Hope

Christmas is About Hope

Dear Friends, Christmas is about many things. It’s about family and giving. It’s about fellowship and cherished traditions. It’s about sharing. And, it’s even about those amazing once-a-year cookies. But most of all, Christmas is about hope. It’s about God’s greatest gift to the world He created and the hope that baby in the manger offers us all. Hope is central to our work at Sheltering Wings. Every time we watch the news or read the paper, it seems we see stories about the cruelty of domestic violence. Those stories may test our faith and leave us feeling distraught, dismayed and hopeless. That’s perfectly understandable. Yet, when you work with the ladies who are staying at Sheltering Wings, hope isn’t just a concept. It’s something you watch take shape every day. I thought about that while talking with Samantha the other day. Here’s a woman who was abused physically and sexually by her parents when she was a little girl, and who wound up in a marriage with another abuser. Her childhood included being raped and strangled by the two people who were supposed to protect and nurture her. Is it any wonder she stumbled through life with no sense of self-worth? And today? “I am confident, worthy, beautiful, strong, single-minded, self-maintained and I can make healthy decisions now.” Samantha’s confidence and joy are contagious. For the first time in her life, she understands love, feels hope, and has created a relationship with God. Samantha and her daughter have a beautiful future ahead of them. No, it won’t be easy to overcome the legacy of her abuse, but with... read more
Could you be genuinely thankful?

Could you be genuinely thankful?

Dear Friends, Could you be thankful after you’ve lost everything? Imagine you lost your home and all your possessions. Your marriage evaporated, too, so you lost your identity as a wife. The only things you have are yourself and cab fare that was a gift from a generous police officer. Could you be genuinely thankful? Tiana is. She spent 40 years building a marriage and keeping a home. She raised five children who brought 19 wonderful grandchildren to her. Sounds like a dream? More like a nightmare. You see, Tiana’s husband was abusive. It started with insults and verbal abuse as he plunged into addiction. Then it became physical threats, which were soon followed by actual physical violence. One day, Tiana woke up on the floor in a daze. She had regained consciousness after having been strangled. That was the day she decided she had enough. She moved into her sister’s home, but her husband arrived with a gun and sent threatening texts. He sold her clothes and possessions, and what he couldn’t sell, he burned. Thanks to the police officer, she took a cab to Sheltering Wings. All she had when she arrived was deodorant, soap, a comb, and a hairbrush. Now she’s in counseling and attending classes on empowerment and other topics to help her establish a safe, independent life. She says Sheltering Wings is restoring a gift her parents gave her, but her husband took away: her self-esteem. And she’s so thankful that she says she longs for the day when she can donate money to the shelter in appreciation for the work we do. I’m... read more
I’m Worth More

I’m Worth More

“I realize that I am worth more than what my past allowed me to be.” Dear Friends, “I was eight years old. I felt that the way somebody loves you is to molest you.” Her name is Donika, and her story of abuse begins with that criminal act. If you’re already horrified, know that it gets worse. “We didn’t know it wasn’t right because it was our father,” she explains. “We believed that it was right.” Six years later, she found what she thought was love with a 28-year-old man. “I got pregnant at age 14. I had no clue. He gave me everything I wanted and needed, so I felt like he was different than my dad. It didn’t register that I was being sexually abused by him until I was pregnant and the police came to my house.” You’d hope her story stopped there, but like so many women, her view of love and relationships was shaped by her experiences. Through no fault of her own, she slipped into a cycle of self-loathing and self-destruction. Without any support system or real help, she stumbled from abusive relationship to abusive relationship. Her only solace was her children, but the darkness eventually led her to believe there was no hope. A failed suicide attempt led to a desperate call to a place called Sheltering Wings. Here, Donika received the support and resources she never had. We know that empowering women and promoting independence and stability for their families decreases the likelihood they’ll return to abuse. And just as important, we helped Donika love herself again. “I’m stronger. I realize that... read more

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A Bold Proposal

Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it. — PROVERBS 22:6  I HAVE A BOLD PROPOSAL: we should celebrate Christmas in November and Thanksgiving in December. It seems backwards that we spend a Thursday in November expressing gratitude for life’s blessings, and just hours later, we’re celebrating consumerism at Black Friday sales to kickoff the Christmas season. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Of course, it’s tough to change traditions. And when those traditions don’t make sense, we just shrug our shoulders and accept them. Most of the time, that’s harmless. But for some families, what has become traditional is unhealthy and downright dangerous. I think about that each time a child comes to live with us. What have they seen at home and how are they processing it? What unhealthy attitudes about relationships have become normal? What patterns do they repeat because they’ve been modeled at home? I vividly remember one little boy looking at his mother and saying, “I’m going to hit you in the head and you will die.” He wasn’t being angry or malicious. He was simply repeating what he had heard the adults in his home say. That’s why our work with children is so critical. If we can break that cycle of abuse and prevent little boys and girls from growing up in homes where domestic violence is a way of life, we’ll achieve a true victory. This holiday season, I hope you’ll create wonderful memories (and maybe some new traditions) with your family. And I’ll spend my family’s traditional...

Making a Difference

At a recent meeting, I was asked to create a pie chart showing how we divide our time between providing services directly to domestic violence victims and delivering prevention and education services. Then I was asked to create a pie chart showing what we wanted the proportion to be in 15 years. My dream is that our prevention and education efforts become so successful, allowing that piece of the pie to grow as demand for services to victims shrinks. What would that take? What new programs and services are needed? Which existing programs should we expand? What resources do we need to gather?

Groundwork For Transformation

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.— ROMANS 12:2 The words “conform” and “transform” may end the same way, but they produce very different results. When you conform, you comply with rules and behave the way society expects. Transformation, on the other hand, involves a dramatic or complete change in your form, appearance, or character. Our first priority is providing emergency housing for women and children who are escaping domestic abuse. Once their safety is assured, we lay the groundwork for transformation through Life Skills programs and services that build self-sufficiency. We want them to deeply understand that they are worthy of honor and respect. We want them to eagerly reach out and take advantage of the educational and occupational opportunities available to them. We want them to learn how to cope with stress, manage anger, and parent more effectively. We want them to develop all the skills they need to live safely and independently, from budgeting to self-advocacy. When a woman arrives at Sheltering Wings, our goal isn’t for her to simply conform to society’s standards. We hope she’ll experience a transformation that will dramatically change her today and every day for the rest of her life. Her transformation is our ultimate goal. Sheltering Wings...

Escaping Domestic Abuse

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.— TIMOTHY 1:7  I’ve occasionally wondered if using the terms “emergency housing” and “emergency services” ever deters someone from seeking assistance when escaping domestic abuse. After all, deciding whether one’s situation is an emergency is a matter of perspective. A person who has experienced abuse throughout life, who watched parents verbally and/or physically assault one another, and who sees friends and relatives in unhealthy relationships may view his or her own circumstances as normal. “I’m not in an emergency situation,” they may think. “I don’t need to call the crisis line. This relationship is just what it is.” It’s a way of thinking that troubles me. You see, someone who becomes accustomed to this negative pattern of behavior may accept it as normal. That makes them difficult for us to reach, even though they’re often the people who need help the most! Abuse escalates over time, so abusive relationships can be both chronic and critical. Our staff members who take help line calls have specialized training. When a victim (or someone who knows a victim) calls, they use standardized assessments to gauge the degree of danger, so they can recommend the best course of action. Some callers need safe housing. Others need referrals, safety planning, and support. No matter what their situation, Sheltering Wings is ready to help anyone who calls our help line, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you or someone you know needs assistance, or just has questions about abuse, please call us. Sheltering Wings Spring...

Upcoming Events

Feb
23
Thu
4:30 pm Hop For Hope Jump-A-Thon @ Skyzone Plainfield
Hop For Hope Jump-A-Thon @ Skyzone Plainfield
Feb 23 @ 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Hop For Hope Jump-A-Thon @ Skyzone Plainfield | Plainfield | Indiana | United States
You are invited to the first ever Jump-A-Thon for Sheltering Wings! Sheltering Wings Youth Council, Teens That Talk has partnered with Skyzone to sponsor a fundraiser benefiting Sheltering Wings to raise awareness about and the prevention of[...]
Mar
2
Thu
6:30 pm Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings Community Room
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings Community Room
Mar 2 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Embracing Empowerment @ Sheltering Wings Community Room | Danville | Indiana | United States
Embracing Empowerment meets every Thursday, 6:30-8:00pm, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30. 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
11
Sat
10:00 am 6th Annual Girl’s Prom Essential... @ Avon High School, Door # 13
6th Annual Girl’s Prom Essential... @ Avon High School, Door # 13
Mar 11 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
6th Annual Girl's Prom Essentials Sale @ Avon High School, Door # 13 | Avon | Indiana | United States
The Avon High School Interact Club will be holding its sixth annual Girls’ Prom Essentials Sale to help high school girls live out their dreams of a memorable prom.  Making high school prom more affordable[...]