Welcome to the WIN Family Services Newsletter! As Spring draws nearer, we've been busy as bee!  In this issue of the WIN Family Newsletter, you will find a special story from one of our former foster youth, information on special events and updates about our latest community outreach project! Read below for more on the latest from WIN Family Services!

WIN Team Shares Special Writing

Kelly L. of WIN Team wrote a thought-provoking piece on conformity. Kelly was generous enougkelly resizedh to share his writing with all of WIN Family Services (image to right is not of Kelly L.):

Conforming means the act of matching attitudes, beliefs to group’s norms. It also tells about having the attitude to following a policy; for example, when your mom tells you to do something positive and you conform to it. It’s best to conform when you know something bad is going to happen.

Do we conform or obey other people all the time? Of course not, but there are times that we do. So when is it good to conform? It is good to conform when someone is telling you something that will benefit you to do better. Another advantage of conformity is when it has something to do with your life; for example, when a doctor tells you to take your medication religiously so that your health issues can be resolved. Now, when can we say that to conform is not advisable? If negative advice is given; for example, if someone tells you to do something negative like kill someone, or beat someone up, then it is not good to conform. Another disadvantage of not conforming is when it’s against your will; for example, when someone forces you to do something that you don’t want to do. After knowing the advantages and disadvantages of conformity, as a teenager, I can say that nowadays many of my fellow teenagers are breaking the law, killing people, stealing, dropping out of school, etc.

What about you? Do you easily conform?

 WIN Reunites with a SpeciaAl and Donald resizedl Young Man

Almost 10 years ago, Donald Smoot walked through the doors of WIN Family Services, feeling scared and alone. He first entered foster care at five years-old and was placed in 50 homes before joining WIN’s program as a teenager. “I felt like nobody wanted me...Until I met this guy”, remembers Smoot as he took the time to speak with WIN staff at the monthly CEO Address on February 17, 2014. That guy was none other than WIN CEO, Alford Laws, Jr.  Smoot  went on to recall his experience with WIN, expressing his gratitude to all of those that made an impact and stayed with him throughout his time with the agency. He also shared that he has remained close with the family that WIN had placed with him so many years before, spending holidays with them and keeping in touch as much as possible. A true testament to how just giving youth love and support can move mountains; Smoot went on from WIN’s program to attain his college degree and is now a paramedic firefighter and Regional Field Safety Coordinator.

WIN Family Services, Inc. is truly grateful to Mr. Smoot for taking the time to speak with the entire staff. His story renewed the spirits of many, particularly Donte Griffin, a Family Training Specialist,  “All those days, nights, all those seeds [we planted]… you will find them."  We look forward to seeing Mr. Smoot and all of our former foster youth in the days to come!

 

WIN is Going to the Circus! Ringling Brothers resized

Every now and then special events come into town that provide enjoyable and memorable experiences for our kids. On February 27, 2014 WIN  was blessed to receive a donation of vouchers to opening night of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. We would like to extend a special thank you to Tiffanee Daley, Ashley Johnson and the entire Feld Entertainment team for their assistance and extreme generosity in facilitating this exciting and fun-filled event for our youth. The tickets will be distributed to our youth in Baltimore and Prince George’s County so that they may take part in the memorable show. We truly appreciate Feld Entertainment for making this event possible for our youth.

WIN Holds Canned Food Drive larspantry resized

WIN Family Services, Inc. has partnered with LARS (Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services) in their mission to uplift communities throughout Maryland. LARS’s mission is to assist the homeless and low-income individuals experiencing crisis by offering services that promote self-sufficiency. We are excited to partner with them as a source of support for the Howard, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties of Maryland. To learn more about LARS, visit their website at www.laureladvocacy.org.

Too many times, individuals and families lack the means and necessities to lead happy and healthy lives. Families do no always have an opportunity to have a full and nutritious meal. WIN Family Services will be holding a company-wide food drive in which all locations will be participating. All non-perishable food items will be donated to LARS’s food pantry that directly assists those in need. Items needed include: canned meats, tuna and tuna helper, canned fruits/vegetables, Spaghettios, canned soup/stew, crackers, peanut butter and jelly, juice boxes, macaroni and cheese, pasta, rice, spaghetti sauce, cereal, oatmeal, “just add water” pancake mix, and shelf stable milk. Due to limited storage space, LARS will not be collecting clothing or furniture items at this time. We will be collecting food donations all throughout March.

We would love to have everyone – staff, parents, and clients -  involved and really give back to the community! For more information on how you can help, please contact Kristina Ramos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Parent Reminders

March 25, 2014, 6pm – Parent Support Meeting at  Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church

April 1, 2014 5:30pm - Baltimore New Parent Orientation

April 3, 2014 5:30pm - Prince George's County New Parent Orientation

Stay Tuned! WIN Family Services will be launching its first blog April 1st! Need parenting advice? Any pressing questions you might need answers to? Want to further explore family strengthening? The blog will be your one stop shop for all things WIN!