Happy Holidays from WIN Family Services, Inc.! This season has been gearing up to be a busy but fun-filled couple of months. In this issue of the WIN Family Newsletter, you will find exciting news about new additions to the website, upcoming projects, past collaborations, and special awards/announcements! Read below for more on the latest from WIN Family Services!

 

WIN Family Services Recognizes Feats of a Wonderful Parent

Shontee McMillan 3WIN Family Services is proud to have Ms. McMillan as a part of our team. She has been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for our youth. Recently, she opened up to WIN about the difficulties she faces in life and how she never let those struggles get in the way of her calling in her personal testimony:

In 2009, I became a foster parent for WIN Family Services.  My fervor for working with challenging youths made me one of WIN’s most dedicated parents.  Originally from Saginaw, MI I got a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University.  My major was English, Language, and Literature with Mathematics minor.  I moved to Baltimore in 2000 to become a middle school Language Arts teacher with Baltimore City Public School System.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude with my Masters in Secondary Education in 2009 from Towson University.  After teaching 6-10th grade English and Language Arts for 10 years, I became an English Adjunct Professor at Baltimore City Community College, BCCC.

 I am now a Student Success Specialist/Case Manager for the Academic Acceleration for African American Males (4A) Program.  In August of 2012 I faced my greatest challenge ever…I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectum Cancer.  After doing two rounds of chemotherapy treatment, radiation, and having surgery I am blessed to be cancer free!  The past 1 ½ years has proven to be extremely difficult for me. Because of my permanent colostomy, I became extremely self-conscious, depressed, and ultimately suicidal.  However, after 9 months of “living hell”, I woke up one day and the fog was clear, my cognitive functions were beginning to improve, and I decided to accept my NEW NORMAL.

 I realize that my work here on earth is not yet done.  So, I decided to continue my passion of working with students, education, loving on family and friends while writing a book and shooting a documentary to share my story.  I am also starting a foundation called SO Shontee’.  The foundation will be for minority children who have an ostomy.  I will be able to show those children someone who looks like them while also providing books written by minority authors as well as pouch covers.  I find reverence in two very personal scriptures from Jeremiah; 17:14 ‘Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise’ and 29: 11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Mr. Laws Recongized by the StateGovernoncitation resized

WIN Family Services, Inc. is proud to be led by an all-inspiring individual – Alford Laws, Jr.  This past October, Mr. Laws was honored by both Governor Martin O’Malley  and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake for his 20 years of exemplary service and dedication to the youth and families of Maryland. Governor O’Malley and Mayor Rawlings Blake expressed their admiration and appreciation of Mr. Laws’ efforts in improving lives and communities by issuing certificates of recognition, presented to him by a member of the WIN Team, Dawn James. Please join us in celebrating our leader; congratulations Mr. Laws!

 

 

 Congratulations Mr. Laws!

Congratulations to WIN Family Services CEO, Alford Laws, Jr. who was honored at the 6th Annual Dream 4 It, Inc.’s Sensational Summer Night event for his efforts to improve the lives of youth and families across Maryland. Held at the Gordon Performing Arts Center in Owings Mills, MD, over 400 people attended the concert event which featured artists such as Doreen Vail and Micah Smith. Founded in 2008, The Dream4It Foundation raises funds to support numerous educational endeavors designed to provide youth with scholarships for higher education positioning them to realize their Dreams. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly $40,000.00 in educational scholarships. We are so proud to be led by Mr. Laws, whose unwavering compassion support has helped thousands!

Learn  more about Dream4It,Inc.

 

A Season of Fun and Frolick!

tfcholiday2 resizedOn December 17th, the Delta Sigma Theta sisters and alumni of Baltimore graciously invited WIN to the Delta Center for a day of celebration and entertainment for the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program. They also offered many activities and presents for youth and families to take part in. DREAM wowed the audience with a presentation of the talents and skills they had taken time to practice and hone. Everyone had a great time!

Just a few days later, 92Q Jams and Konan joined WIN Family Services, Inc. and its therapeutic foster care program for holiday festivities. Each child enjoyed a present donated from 92Q’s toy drive and Perfect Order Church.  Konan, 92Q’s popular on-air personality, deejayed and hosted the entire event, providing entertainment and activities for youth and parents. As a special surprise, Lil’ Key and Beans and Frank made guest appearances and performed for the audience.

WIN would like to extend its immense gratitude to the Delta sisters, Perfect Order Church,  92Q Jams, and Konan for generously giving their time, efforts  and donations to making these special events  possible!

 

WIN Teams up with 92Q Jams

WIN Family Services geared up for the holiday season, partnering with 92Q Jams and on-air personality, Konan for the annual Toydrive1 resized92Q Toy Drive. Despite the bitter cold, hearts were warmed as dozens of individuals from the Baltimore community took time to visit the toy drive table posted outside of Walmart located in Randallstown. Radio station representatives also took posts at other Walmart locations in Catonsville and Owings Mills. Donations ranged from dolls to racecars, from board games to puzzles. From 2pm to 6 pm, WIN staff, parents and youth were present for the event and even got a chance to be featured in interviews. During the toy drive, Konan also interviewed those who took time to donate to the youth in need. When asked why they were donating answers ranged from, “You can’t forget about the kids,” and “You should always help those in need.”  “We are truly blessed and humbled to witness the support we’ve received today. These people have truly embraced the spirit of Christmas and are ensuring that our children have a very happy holiday,” shared WIN Family Services CEO – Alford Laws, Jr. With over 100 toys, games, and crafts in tow, all donations were used as presents for WIN’s youth and families at the organization’s annual holiday event. WIN would like to extend a special thank you to 92Q Jams and Konan for facilitating the event making it all possible.

 

 

WIN Meets with New Antioch Congregation

WIN Family Services, Inc.  was very excited for the opportunity to host an information and training session at New Antioch Baptist Church on December 7th. Members from the community were able to gather at New Antioch to learn more about WIN Family Services and receive a special and dynamic presentation from the CEO himself – Al Laws, Jr. During the holiday season, Reverend Kenneth Barney invited WIN to speak to the church congregation and post a resource booth to answer any questions and receive more information after services. WIN Family Services, Inc. is very interested in creating long lasting partnerships with churches all across Maryland. To meet with a representative for volunteer opportunities and how to get involved in your own community or to schedule a presentation for your own congregation, please contact Laura Mueller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call at (410)578-8003.

 

Ray Lewis Foundation Holiday Dinner Giveaway

raylewis4 resized WIN Family Services, Inc. was very excited to once again be a part of the annual Ray Lewis Foundation Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway on November 26, 2013. Numerous organizations - including WIN Family Services, MCS Services, and Maryland Physicians Care -  gathered at Liberty Elementary School and partnered with the Ray Lewis Foundation to create a memorable event for all, ensuring that families across Maryland have a delightful Thanksgiving.  Even a cold, rainy morning could not keep volunteers and attendees away. From the morning until the afternoon, volunteers worked to put together 500 meals for the less fortunate.

Families all over Maryland were nominated by partnering organizations and invited to take part in the event. With over 10 staff volunteers on board, WIN Family Services assisted in creating an enjoyable experience for all of the event’s attendees. Some volunteers assisted in putting together Thanksgiving meals with items donated from Frito Lay, Safeway, and Schmidt Baking. Other volunteers assisted in directing families to where they could go to pick up their items.  “The turnout was wonderful! So many people came out to help out during with the giveaway. The event went off without a hitch,” shared Kristina Ramos, WIN Family Services’ Communication Coordinator, “I can’t wait for next year’s event!”

 

 

WIN takes part in Harvest for the Hungryharvest1 resized

WIN Family Services recently partnered with Heaven 600 to promote “Harvest for the Hungry”,a food drive for the  Bea Gaddy Foundation (http://www.bea-gaddy.org/index.html ). “Harvest for the Hungry” was held all day, November 14th,  at the Stop Shop and Save, located on Harford Avenue. WIN Family Services staff joined representatives from Heaven 600 and Inspirations in collecting donations from the community that would ensure the less fortunate a happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving. Sponsors of the event included MECU, the Model Lyric Opera House, Turkey Hill, and Manifest Wonders Christian Center. “While we are a human services organization ourselves, we recognize the need to give back to the community. We’re very excited to take part in this event,” said Alford Laws, Jr., CEO of WIN Family Services, Inc. WIN Family Services staff, Family Strengthening team members, parents and youth were interviewed on-air by radio personality, Doresa Harvey, sharing information regarding therapeutic foster care and mental health services, as well as information about Family Strengthening and how to get involved within the community.

 Those coming in to do their weekly grocery shopping at the store walked into a pleasant surprise. The fun-filled event included activities such as raffles for movie tickets, free giveaways, and even a performance by female gospel group, Immeasurable. Throughout the day, members of the Baltimore community stopped into the grocery store and filled at least four cartloads of non-perishable food items, utensils, paperware, and monetary donations. Mark Davis, WIN’s Director of Family Strengthening shared, “This was a great opportunity for WIN Family to come together with different organizations and ensure that people across Maryland have a wonderful Thanksgiving!”

To view more photos of the event, visit www.heaven600.com.

 

Rodney Burris - The Voice of the Community

rodneyburrisDelegate Rodney Burris is a political consultant and family advocate that has been a helping hand for the Baltimore community for years. Mr. Burris offers a wide range of experience within the Baltimore community as an educator, national speaker, youth and family advocate and entrepreneur. With the betterment of the youth as his main priority, Mr. Burris has been tutoring students and encouraging them to be the leaders they wish to see in this world. He is especially skilled in speaking to his audiences about life after graduation, future careers, positive decision making, constructive communication, goal-setting, credit awareness, financial budgeting, and community involvement. In addition to his life as an educator and speaker, Mr. Burris has also developed workshops that are designed to leave individuals equipped with tools to effectively access and utilize resources, and with an encouraged sense of direction. Currently, WIN Family Services has teamed up with Mr. Burris and his fervor for neighborhood empowerment to promote the Family Strengthening legislation in Baltimore City.  He is truly an advocate for the Family Strengthening Model and its impact on the community.

To read more about this endeavor, click here.

 

WIN Family Services takes part in the Classic Casserole Program

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The days are growing shorter and colder. During these cold months, everyone looks forward to having a nice, hot meal to warm the bones. This holiday season, WIN Family Services is taking part in Our Daily Bread’s Classic Casserole Program (http://www.catholiccharities-md.org/our-daily-bread/odb-food-service/food-donations.html ). We are inviting all staff, parents, and youth to take part by making delicious Chicken and Broccoli casseroles to be distributed at the Our Daily Bread Employment Center hot meal program. We would like to ensure individuals and families throughout Baltimore have a delicious, nutritious and hot meal to enjoy. We will be collecting frozen casseroles and dropping them off to the center in Baltimore. Pans used for the casseroles must come in the uniform size of ½ size pan with dimensions of 2 9/16 inch deep and 12x10 inches. We will be collecting all casseroles to be dropped off by December 16th 2013 at 12pm. See below for casserole directions and the recipe:

Casseroles must be:

-  Made

-  Covered tightly in foil

-  Labeled with the date and name of recipe and group

-  Frozen in the home

-  The group has a drop-off point (usually a church or business parking lot) on a designated date

-  Have drivers bring them to Our Daily Bread Employment Center 

 

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients needed:

• 8 oz. wide egg noodles, cooked and drained

• 2 packages frozen broccoli, cooked and drained

• 6 slices yellow cheese

• 2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted

• 4 chicken breasts, cooked

 

The cost for ingredients to make this casserole is about $20. If you are interested in participating, please give us a call at (410)578-8003 or email Kristina Ramos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learn more about the Classic Casserole Program!

 

New Additions!

WIN Family Services is pleased to announce the addition of our Events page on the website! Visitors of the website are now able to stay in the loop of all WIN events from trainings, to DREAM meetings, to holiday parties. Just visit WIN Family Services and click on the “Events” tab for our full calendar and check to see what we have in store for you this month.

Take a look at our upcoming events and see how you can get involved today! : http://winfamilyservices.org/eventcalendar/cat.listevents/2013/11/21/-

 

Reminders

‘Tis the season! WIN Family Services is gearing up for a fun-filled and hectic holiday season. Take a look at just some of the exciting events we have lined up this year!

December 7, 2013 10am to 1pm – WIN Family Services Collaboration event at Perkins Square Baptist Church

December 15, 2013 – WIN Family Services Information and Training Session at New Antioch

December 21, 2013 11am to 2pm – WIN Team DREAM Ryte Tyme Café Holiday Event