INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I serve as Executive Director of an incredible organization, WINGS, whose mission is to break the cycle and heal the wounds of childhood sexual abuse by providing education, advocacy, and support to adult survivors, their loved ones, providers and communities. WINGS’ vision is that everyone will have access to the resources they need to speak about, heal from and thrive beyond childhood sexual abuse trauma. We’re working to usher in that day.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Why? Simply, because adults who were sexually abused in childhood deserve a process to heal. Every survivor’s needs matter. We see them. We hear them. We honor their experiences and believe they are incredibly important.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We empower adult survivors to begin or enhance their healing journeys by providing confidential phone consultations, qualified therapist referrals and therapist-facilitated support groups across the Front Range of Colorado. Our “Survivors & Loved Ones’ Guide to Healing” handbook is a comprehensive roadmap to guide survivors’ healing processes. Through our specialized services, survivors learn how CSA trauma is impacting them today and how they can move forward. They also report feeling less alone; being more able to build healthy relationship skills and increasing their sense of personal empowerment.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
1 in 5 adults were sexually abused as children. Most of them have never told anyone and have not gotten the support they need to heal and thrive. As a survivor myself, I have walked the incredibly challenging path of healing. I know how hard this road is. I’ve seen how hard it is for others. I’ve also witnessed the very significant ways that survivors’ lives are positively impacted by WINGS’ programming. I believe ALL survivors should have access to these resources. Survivors’ courage to face the darkest of issues and to persevere and heal inspires me. The need to support their healing process as a human rights and victims’ rights issue drives me forward. We can do better, as a culture. Once you know, you can’t “unknow.” Once you care, you can’t “uncare.”
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
WINGS Worldwide. Every person who has experienced sexual abuse in childhood will have access to comprehensive, culturally responsive and free or affordable services in their community to be able to transcend this widespread trauma. As a culture, we will recognize CSA trauma as a HEALTH issue and invest in these solutions for the tremendous value they bring to individual, family, community and public health.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
We need People Power! People to understand why this issue is important and to invest in the solutions we know make a difference. And people to join in the work at all levels of the organization – talented board, staff, volunteers and ambassadors. This issue has been silenced, ignored and denied for an eternity. There is such power in bringing bold people together who dare to see the significance of this issue and to act on it.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Traditionally, WINGS has struggled with the general stigma of this issue. It’s been a hard one for most people to look at, hear about, “hold” and carry into the world. As a result, securing funding for our work has been a huge challenge, which has made getting to a point of sustainability and growth very challenging. However, with huge obstacles, come tremendous opportunities. Supporting adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse is literally one of the most important “health advancements” we could make as a culture. We’re starting to connect with visionary leaders who understand this truth. It’s such an important time.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Words I live by: #1: “Your soul knows when it’s on to something.” #2:”When you think about quitting, remember why you started.” #3 “Never, never, never… give up.” #4 Repeat. 🙂
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Check out these ways to “Become an Ally.” Donations are always welcome. People Power is, too! Email me at Jenny.firstname.lastname@example.org to talk further. This issue needs you.
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