January 2015 Newsletter

Happy New Year family! We are so excited to be entering this exciting time with all of you and can’t wait to share what we have been up to and what’s to come for this exciting year! The holiday season has come to an end and there are so many people we would like to acknowledge and there are so many projects to look forward to as 2015 opens its doors to us. Read on for more news from WIN!

 

Balt TFC Holiday ExtravaganzaHappy Holidays at WIN!

WIN Family Services is proud to announce that our 2014 Holiday Extravaganza was a huge success! After months and months of planning and preparation, we could not believe the holiday season was already here... and if there is something WIN Family Services knows how to do, it’s how to have a great time! Over 250 guests attended our events held at the Delta Center in Baltimore and the American Legion in Greenbelt. With rooms adorned with bright Christmas decorations and filled with lively music, parents and youth were greeted by staff in reindeer antlers and Santa hats. While sharing a delicious meal, guests were able to enjoy entertainment provided by the youth themselves – everything from musical numbers to fashion shows. The end of the night came the biggest surprise. Youth were given heartfelt Christmas gifts! Each child, no matter his or her age, was able to choose from games, toys, teddy bears, cosmetics, and sports equipment. Guests as well as staff left the events with hearts just as full as their stomachs! We are looking forward to next year!

Toy Drive 7 resizedWe Couldn't Have Done it Without You!

 It has been a whirlwind of a holiday season and we’re finally getting a chance to catch our breaths! We have so many people and organizations to thank for making our holiday extravaganzas immense successes! What’s a great holiday event without amazing food? Hip Hop Fish and Chicken donated delicious meals for both our Lanham and Baltimore organizations! Our youth and families thoroughly enjoyed the best fried chicken Maryland has to offer! A special thank you also goes to the very generous organizations who made this a very special Christmas for our youth. Thank you to The Steve Smith Foundation, MECU, Evergreen Technologies, Hall of Fame City Sports, Kingdom Church International, Refreshing Life Ministry,  and Perfect Order of Church; the looks on all the children’s faces as they opened their presents were absolutely priceless. You all have made this a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday for our community!

 

Toy DriveWIN in Toyland

 WIN Family Services teamed up with spiritual radio station, Heaven 600AM, to create a memorable holiday experience for youth. December 1st marked the first of three toy drives benefitting WIN foster youth and youth in need. The Baltimore Pain Relief Center hosted the first toy drive of the season and we are proud to announce the event had a great turnout! On December 18th, we held two more drives at both the Big Lots in Reisterstown Plaza and the Walgreens at Quarry Lake Shopping Center. Everything from toys, to sports equipment, to winter-wear, to make-up sets were donated from members of the community. Heaven 600AM listeners were able to hear first-hand accounts from members of WIN staff who shared information about the organization and real-life stories of how a simple gift could change lives. We are so thankful and blessed to have been a part of such a great event! Thank you again goes to all those who participated, especially Heaven 600, George McCreedy, Doresa Harvey, The Baltimore Pain Relief Center, Big Lots, Walgreens and all those who took time to stop by the drive and donate!

 

A Blessing imageA Blessing

"Ms. Boston was part of our organization many years ago. We always love to hear from our former clients. Read more about Ms. Boston’s story:

To begin this wonderful story about Win Family Services the first thing I can say is blessing; that is exactly what WIN Family Services was to me. I was a bit of a rebellious teenager as you could say. I entered foster care around the age of 12, so by the age of 18 all I knew and wanted (at that time) was freedom. My desire for the wrong things led me to be kicked out of foster care, which in turn left me homeless. I had nowhere to turn, no friends, no family and had almost lost hope.

I reached out to the Department of Social Services Baltimore County who told me there was nothing they could do to help me. After hours of sitting in their office crying and not knowing what I could even possibly do, one of the workers, Ms. Tonjua Boston presented an idea of the “Aftercare Program” which allowed youth whose cases had been closed to come back into care, on a contractual basis. Without hesitation, I signed the contract. Unfortunately, even with the contract being signed they still would have to find me a placement, which I was told could take weeks, or even a month. The Department recommended me staying at a women’s shelter until something available came up.

At that moment I began to pray, I had no idea what was going to happen, how it was going to happen or even when. All I knew was God was going to fix it. Not long after praying did Ms. Tonjua Boston come up to me around 4:30 in the afternoon and said “we have an interview for you, get ready we’re going tonight.” The interview turned out to be with WIN Family Services. I remember meeting Mr. Gregg Harris (who did the intake with me) and he was so sweet, and compassionate, and truly genuine. I cried and told them I didn’t know where I was going and what I was doing. After a long emotional meeting, Mr. Harris presented me with the best news I felt I had heard in years at that point… They had found me a foster home, all within the same day.

I arrived at social services, got an interview with WIN Family Services and was placed into a foster home that night at 9pm. I remember this like it was yesterday! I knew God would come through, and He came through with AMAZING people. Eventually during my stay in WIN Family Services I was placed with a wonderful foster mother named Ava Powell. She was another blessing in disguise. She worked with me to get back into college, how to gain independent skills, introduced me to church…but most importantly she actually treated me like her own child. To this day, years later I still call her “Ma”, I still talk to her, and still see her. She is my family, and I have God and WIN Family Services to thank for that.

This program is truly a blessing; programs like WIN set the standard of quality. WIN is more than a program, it is a family. Thank you WIN from the bottom of my heart, you truly have helped change and impact my life for the better."

  - W. Boston

 

DREAM-ing of a Re-Launch

WIN Family Services is re-launching its newest program in 2015. We are now offering our DREAM group to adults! Now all the fun opportunities given to our youth will be extended to our adult clients. DREAM (Destiny Realized Equal Achievement Maximized) is our talents and arts development group in which our clients are encouraged to practice and hone the skills of their choice and use them as part of their healing process. In 2015, adults can now take part in the activities and use their God-given talents therapeutically. We are truly looking forward to this program and discovering creative ways to help with healing!

 

AnnieSee Annie "Tomorrow"!

If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the newly released “Annie”, I highly recommend you do so! Not only does this film capture our hearts the way that the original Broadway show and 1980s film did, but the modernization and relatability takes this movie to all new heights. The prominent message of the movie, as it has always been is “Family is the greatest gift of all”, but there are a few changes to the story that are simply hard to miss.

According to an article from the The Adoption Institute, while the film alludes to the foster care system of this nation, there are a few occurrences that are solely meant to make a touching Hollywood script. It is the Institute’s hope that as a nation, we find a way to bridge these gaps so that the real-world children arrive at their happy endings.

First, Annie (played by Quvenzhané Wallis) is not an orphan, but a foster child. This simple change sheds some light on the reality of thousands of youth in America, and for that we are thankful. However, while being adopted by a famous, wealthy, single individual shares a hopeful message, it is far from the norm. It is the goal of foster care agencies across the U.S. to bring these children to their forever homes, how ever only a fraction of foster children are adopted within the country. We are constantly in search of individuals who are willing to provide kids with a happy and healthy home.

Next, true to the original story line, Annie embarks on a journey to find her birth parents. WIN Family Services stresses the importance of birth family contact. There may be issues within the family, bad decisions could have been made, but there is still love. Interacting with the birth family is essential to the healing of youth enrolled in our therapeutic program. And much like Annie, for someone who has never known their birth parents, there is still that curiosity and fantasy of where he or she really came from. Unlike the movie, in present day foster care or adoptive situations, birth families play a more prominent role in the life of the child.

Also, while we hope to create similar happy endings, just like Annie and Mr. Sparks (played by Jamie Foxx), there are some that take a slightly different path. WIN Family Services, has been blessed to have witnessed happy endings of our own, but what about the thousands of other youth in the nation? In the world? The new “Annie” film calls us  to think about various ways we can take the necessary steps to ensure more heart-warming story lines. Let this film inspire you to give a foster child the happy ending they deserve. Be the parent  every child dreams about!

Lastly, there is one parallel between the movie and the real-world that we cannot deny – the resiliency of these children. Annie, just as most children in similar situations, displays a strength and nature that comes unique to those who have been dealt a more difficult hand. We aspire to have the same unrelenting spirit and hope as these children. Just like Annie, let us maintain optimism and cheerfulness even when we experience disappointments. Children that have been placed in care are courageous and smart, let us be the ones to uphold their spirits!  Find out how you can be a blessing in a child’s life today.

 

Perfect order ChurchA Perfect Love

For the past two years, we have been partnering with Perfect Order Church of Baltimore City with the past two years. With the motto, “Where imperfect people worship a perfect God,” Perfect Order’s mission is to promote acts of love throughout the city, no matter of the situation or background, and we have been honored to join with them to make a difference in our community. Throughout the years, Perfect Order Church has helped WIN in creating memorable experiences for our foster youth and providing them with the best we have to offer. We are truly grateful for their support and the support of Pastor Alex Butler. Lov3Works is a great non-profit Pastor Butler created, committed to providing those in need with the necessities of daily life – whether it is a hot meal, clothing, or just coaching for the means to live a full life. Please consider donating to this wonderful cause and help make Baltimore a better place for all! Visit http://www.perfectordermovement.org/ today!

 

 

nocturnalagonyA Night on the Red CarpetWIN Family Services will be present for the Baltimore Red Carpet Premiere of “Nocturnal Agony”, a faith-based movie that addresses issues that plague today’s community such as mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, and substance addictions. Join on us on February 15th for this red carpet event, complete with appearances from gospel artist Hezekiah Walker and actor Lawrence Hilton Jacobs. Contact us today for more information on how to purchase tickets for the premiere at (410)578-8003. To learn more about the movie, visit http://www.nocturnalagonythemovie.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Listen

Advice4LifePodcstCover

 

We're on the Radio!

Our CEO, Al Laws Jr., is on a mission to help Baltimore, one relationship at a time. With his radio show, Advice4Life, Mr. Laws and co-host, Gregg Harris, are taking real people who have real problems and giving them the necessary tools to mend broken or hurting relationships. Advice4Life can be heard Sunday mornings at 9am on Heaven600 AM.

Not near a radio? Not a problem! We have a podcast where you can access the show at any time! Go online to Advice4Life to catch our show. You can also reach us online at the time of the show on iHeartRadio!

 

We have been blessed with the opportunity to share our  mission with radio audiences across the nation. Here are just a few snippets of messages from our CEO, Alford Laws, Jr. Take a listen!

 

mp3 logo The Need

mp3 logo Our Opportunity

mp3 logo Family Strengthening

 

 

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Holiday Celebration Fund

Greetings WIN Family and Friends,

NOBACKThe weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. That can only mean one thing… the holidays are quickly approaching! This time of the year is all about family, friends, giving, and feeling like a kid again. Our mission is to holistically support our youth and families with their individual needs. What more do you need than to feel loved at this time of the year? WIN Family Services is working to put together a memorable holiday event for the 150 youth and families we serve – complete with a delicious meal, lively entertainment, and thoughtful presents. But we can’t do it by ourselves! We are calling on the help of the community to create an amazing holiday event for the underprivileged youth of Baltimore.

If you or someone you know is part of a coporate company, please consider reading the letter below.

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Corporate Sponsorship Letter

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  Holiday Wishlist 

 

We are also taking part in #GivingTuesday this year. Please consider making a donation to our #GivingTuesday page! 

 

We truly appreciated your generosity and consideration. Please know that you are making the holiday a very happy one for a child in need. For questions, please contact Kristina Ramos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (410)578-8003.

 

 

September 2014 Newsletter

Happy Autumn family! The leaves are falling, the pumpkin spice is spreading, and WIN is walking into a new and exciting season with all of you. We can't wait to share with you what we have been up to and all that will be acompished in the months to come! Below you'll find news of partnerships, additions, and heartfelt thanks to those who have taken this journey with us. Take a look!

 

WIN Takes on Cecil County!

Great news! WIN is now in Cecil County! We have been blessed with the opportunity to open yet another location in Maryland. This time, we’re taking on Northern Maryland. With a new Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program office, the organization is hoping to open the doors to a wider audience who are looking to receive mental health assistance. With recent events, the conversation of mental health is being brought more and more to the forefront. WIN is hoping to encourage those who are suffering from mental illness or a mental health trauma to pursue the help they may need. The Cecil County office will be an accessible resource to those who are in need.You can find us at  33 S. Main Street, Port Deposit, MD 21904. Please keep WIN in your prayers as we take on this great endeavor!

greater-grace-world-outreachWIN is GREAT!

WIN Family Services is pleased to announce its budding partnership with Greater Grace World Outreach in Moravia Park. Not only are we excited for the youth and families to take part in activities that build stronger relationships in Christ, but in turn we will also be sharing the knowledge of Family Strengthening. WIN CEO, Al Laws Jr., was recently featured on the Greater Grace network on a radio interview airing Thursday, September 11th. Be sure to tune in and hear from Mr. Laws! He will also be presenting to the church leaders and the Greater Grace community on Family Strengthening basics. Stay tuned for more news on this new and exciting relationship!

For more information about Greater Grace World Outreach, visit http://www.ggwo.org/

 

school supplies 2014Looking Forward to a Blessed School Year!

Blessings come in abundance! WIN Family Services’ youth were thrilled to receive a very generous donation of school supplies that will prep them for the year. Reading, writing, learning and counting will be a breeze with the notebooks, folders, binders, pens, pencils, and countless materials that were given to WIN. We owe our thanks to the youth, families, and members of Elderslie – St. Andrews Church located on Pimlico Road. Our organization feels truly humbled and blessed to have received such support from the community. It takes just one person to show interest in a child’s future to turn a life around. In this case, an entire church has shown such interest and we can not wait to see what the future holds for our kids. THANK YOU Ms. Thomas, Ms. Stockton and the entire Elderslie – St. Andrews community!

 

BaltimoreNationalAquariumWIN Goes to the Aquarium!

A special thank you goes to the National Aquarium for their generous donation of passes to the aquarium. As one of the most prominent attractions of Baltimore, WIN is ecstatic to have the opportunity to share this fun, informative, and exciting family experience with our parents and youth. A HUGE thank you goes to Ms. Rosalyn and the entire National Aquarium team for helping to provide our youth with enriching experiences.

 

AngelaWIN Staff is RecognizedFive years ago, a young woman walked into the offices of WIN Family Services to meet with the Director of Operations. New to the area, she was looking for a position that would not only support her new family, but also hold her interest and utilize her God-given talents. Once she stepped out of the office, the Director immediately called WIN’s CEO, Al Laws, saying “Your Director of Family Services for Prince George’s County just walked through that door.” That young woman is Angela Gardner. Since 2009, Angela has worked tirelessly to ensure our youth, families, and staff are well taken cared of. WIN staff came together during August’s CEO Address to honor this special lady and all that she has done for the company. Here is what a member of our staff and one of our parents had to say…

“Dear Angela, I wanted to write you to say "Thank You". The past few months have been very overwhelming and I would not have been able to get through them without your enormous support, strong leadership, and unlimited guidance. We spoke the other day about how everything happens for a reason, people come into your life for a reason, and we do not always understand the Why in the moment. I now understand why you were meant to be my supervisor. You have pushed me more than anyone has before, helping me to grow tremendously as a person and a professional. For this, I cannot thank you enough...I believe I am a better social worker and above all, a better person and I have you to thank for this.”

-T. Meltzer, LGSW

“I would like to let the executive persons of WIN know that they could not have chosen a better person for the position of Director of the PG office. I feel that Angela is a woman of God and shows it in her emails as well as speaking to her either on the phone or in person... Angela has shown me that she loves her job and does love the Lord. I have been with WIN for 4 years and not one time have I called or ask her for a time to see her that she said no...She has a lot of fires to put out each week but each situation gets her undivided attention. I have had struggles with my child, but she worked with me as well as my dynamite team to help me through it all... Angela and my team can see how determined I am to make this child productive in the world and have a great future. I believe it is because of Angela and the team that I can feel this way…I can definitely see the spirit of God in her when talks about what is needed to help these children. Angela is always willing listen to new ideas or what is working or not working. Please don't take lightly the kind of person you have running the PG office because she is always on the clock. She makes sure her staff is on task. She will go the extra mile but you have to come to her with the correct information.  I have a great team and knowing that they and Angela have my back in support keeps me at WIN. Thank you”
 -D. Guthrie

Our Parents are the Best!WIN is excited for the opportunity to acknowledge those who have worked so hard for this organization. WIN truly has wonderful individuals working with the agency and we want to take a moment to give our thanks and a round of applause to these amazing people…

“I would like to send this email to acknowledge the outstanding job that Ms. J. Colbert has been doing with [the youth] in her home. [Her foster daughter] has been with Ms. Colbert for the past 3 years, and during that period, Ms. Colbert has gone above and beyond her treatment parent duties. She has created a healthy and nurturing family environment for [the youth] and has demonstrated tremendous resilience through all the various challenges presented in the home over the past 3 years. Not only has Ms. Colbert been taking care of all of [the child’s] needs, but she has also been of tremendous help with [the youth’s] 13 month old daughter as evidenced by getting the baby to and from day care every day and babysitting some weekends. Ms. Colbert does not hesitate to take off from work to assist the client with her Court-related obligations or team meetings. Over the past 3 weeks for example, she took off several times in order to make herself and her vehicle available for [our client’s] driving exam (twice). Last week, she was available for [her daughter’s] transitional facilitation meeting at DSS  and just this yesterday, she took off again to assist client getting to her GED testing site for the exam.  I always monument her efforts and dedication, but I also wanted to share with you about her active involvement in this youth’s development.”
-Rachid Bagana, LCSW-C

We would like to extend a very special thank you to one of our parents, Ms. E. Williams for the delicious meals she continues to prepare for our staff. Not only does the staff look forward to her fabulous Jamaican cuisine, but her kind heart has been a source of strength for not only staff but every child that has stayed in her home. She is such an important and strong part of our agency and we are so glad to have her on our team. Thank you for your tireless support!
-Baltimore Staff

older foster youth summit

WIN Stops by the Older Foster Youth Summit

It was a beautiful day in Druid Hill Park - perfect for a picnic, music…and the first ever Older Foster Youth Summit! The Department of Human Resources of Maryland hosted a great event targeted for foster youth looking to make their way in the world. WIN Family Services was so proud to be a part of such a great event, preparing youth for the life ahead – whether it was a need for housing, counseling services, or just an encouraging word. At the age of 21, youth in care age out of their programs, sometimes without the knowledge or proper resources of what it takes to live on their own.The entire day was dedicated to ensuring these youth are equipped with the information they need to live independent lives. Alongside organizations such as Catholic Charities, Hope Forward, and Mentor Maryland , WIN distributed information and answered questions of the visitors wanting to learn more about building their futures.   The very interactive event featured classic picnic fare, outdoor games, lively music, and excited guests. We wish these youth the best of luck with their future endeavors!

 

Christmas treeChristmas is Coming...The Holidays are approaching and WIN Family Services is making preparations for our annual holiday celebrations! Every year, we work to provide our youth and families with a very merry Christmas, complete with a humongous party, delicious meal, and thoughtful presents. We are calling on the help of the community to make this year’s event the best it has ever been. Please consider sending in-kind or monetary donations to Kristina Ramos at 2502 W. Northern Parkway Baltimore, MD 21215. The holidays are a time for family and giving, please help us make this one memorable for those in need. 

 

 

WIN and CFC – The only acronyms you’ll ever need to know!

Do you or someone you know work for a federal organization? WIN is now a CFC certified organization. Help support our organization by choosing us as the recipients of your donations. Our designation code is 17225. Give the gift that keeps on giving – invest in our youth!

 

Connect with Us Online!

Get those laptops and smartphones out- WIN is online!

wordpressTake some time to visit our blog: www.winfamilyservicesinc.wordpress.com Here, you’ll see what contributing writers have to say off book about foster care, mental health, and Family Strengthening. Interested in being a contributing writer? Would you like to see us cover a particular subject? Message us today with your ideas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See WIN from the inside out, visit the WIN Family Services blog today!

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Can’t get enough of us? Follow us on twitter @WINFamilyServ. Stay up to date on all things WIN and don’t miss out on interesting reads or breaking news. Whether it’s on your computer or phone, keep WIN in your back pocket all day, every day!