WINGS for kids

WINGS for kids helps low-income children in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia develop healthy social and emotional learning skills through its innovative afterschool program. Recent research suggests such skills may be a critical component in helping disadvantaged youth improve academic performance.

WINGS’ well-codified curriculum of more than 30 different social and emotional learning (SEL) activities helps children, grades K-6, develop self-awareness, relationship skills, social awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making.

Students enrolled in WINGS receive services three hours a day, five days a week throughout the school year. Although it is voluntary, students and their parents must commit to the program for the entire year since each week builds on the previous one.

WINGS monitors outcomes such as attendance and classroom behavior in elementary school on the hypothesis that improvements will lead to deeper engagement in middle school, better academic outcomes, graduation from high school, and avoidance of risky behaviors. 

Increasingly, researchers suspect that insufficient attention to SEL may explain why many school reform efforts have had only limited success so far in raising children’s academic achievement. WINGS is undertaking a randomized controlled trial to assess its impact, which will also contribute to a growing body of knowledge about SEL.

2014 Highlights

  • WINGS continued to grow and opened a new site in North Carolina.
  • It enjoyed considerable success in fundraising, winning a $420,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation, which will contribute toward its Social Innovation Fund match requirement, and two five-year U.S. Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center grants.

  • WINGS continued to raise its profile and is beginning to emerge as a leader within the field of social and emotional learning. It was one of two organizations chosen to present on SEL in afterschool programs at the National AfterSchool Association Convention. CEO Bridget Laird was honored by the Liberty Fellowship Program, part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, as a South Carolina leader with a history of significant community engagement.

Youth Served

Revenue (in millions)


Youth who show increase of 4 or more points or maintain high level of social and emotional skills within the classroom based on Devereux Student Strengths Assessment scale
  • Legend:
  • Actual
  • Projected