A butterfly experiences a metamorphosis from caterpillar to beautiful winged insect. WINGS Program Inc. gives those affected by domestic violence the chance to experience their own metamorphosis—from victims to independent and free individuals creating new and beautiful lives for themselves.
For 35 years, WINGS has been providing a pathway to independence for people whose lives have been disrupted by domestic violence. That’s why organization’s upcoming annual fundraising gala is important. This year’s 19th annual “Purple Tie Ball” will take place starting at 6 p.m. on October 5 at the Westin Hotel in Itasca.
The evening’s special keynote speaker will be Jennifer Langton, Senior Vice President of Player Health and Safety for the National Football League. Langton leads the NFL’s engineering and innovation efforts and manages the board of Football Research Inc., the nonprofit entity established to oversee the NFL’s engineering efforts. Langton also acts as a coach and mentor to many women who play sports.
“Jennifer worked her way up the ladder during her 10-year tenure at the NFL,” says Debby Jackson, who joined the WINGS board in early 2018 and serves as this year’s “Purple Tie Ball” co-chair with Melissa Canning. “She’s a very dynamic speaker and very supportive of inspiring women to overcome challenges in their lives.”
“Domestic violence is a severe pervasive worldwide issue, and the league has taken a stance to end domestic violence with internal advocacy and education of our employees and players,” Langton says from her office in New York City. “Our mission is exactly aligned with that of WINGS. It’s remarkable what they are doing on a state level, and I am honored that they asked me to speak.”
Not only do funds raised at this annual event support WINGS’s programs, but the gala kicks off to the organization’s 35th year. Since 1985, WINGS has provided emergency safe shelter and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence in addition to helping help families in crisis meet basic needs for items such as food and clothing. WINGS currently offers safe houses in the northwest suburbs and on the South Side of Chicago, and operates three resale shops (one in nearby Arlington Heights) with a new shop set to open on 63rd Street in Chicago soon.
“My mother in law, Rita Canning, helped found WINGS out here in Northwest Suburbs,” says co-chair Melissa Canning, who lives in Inverness and has served on the WINGS leadership board for two years. “I love the fact that WINGS is helping women, children, and even men, giving them skills and independence to become strong and carry on their lives with their children. I wanted to dedicate time to this phenomenal charity.”
The co-chairs and the host committee, many who live in the Barringtons and surrounding area, selected a butterfly theme for this year’s gala for its beauty and symbolism. It will serve as a breathtaking backdrop to the evening’s events.
“It’s quite amazing to see the women get the help they need and become successful on their own,” says Christina Currie, who serves on the host committee helping with design ideas and gathering donations for the Purple Tie Ball. “For 10 years, Christina Currie Events (located in Inverness) has been supporting WINGS. In particular, we like to help with this gala, because it allows the women of WINGS to shine and show us how they are flying on their own.”
In addition to Langton’s motivational speech, the David K. Hill Award will be presented to an outstanding WINGS graduate. Guests will enjoy a cocktail hour, sit down dinner, silent and live auction items, and dancing to Chicago Groove Collective.
Attendees won’t want to miss the opportunity to bid on some fabulous auction items, including a private dinner for two with Algean Garner II, who recently appeared in the 10th season of Master Chef; a Four Seasons Hotel overnight stay with date-night package; private dinner for eight in Glenview House’s private room with flowers from Barrington Florals and wine pairings; a Brookfield Zoo Experience; a house in the East Hamptons; a MAC cosmetics exclusive box valued up to $500; Chicago Bears tickets; and a Ruth Chris Steakhouse dinner (with wine) for 12.
Making the courageous decision to leave an abusive relationship is the first step in a difficult journey, but escaping the cycle of violence requires more than just a safe place to live. To that end, WINGS has continued to expand to address the specific needs of the individuals and families it serves.
Many different kinds of support are needed to help victims move away from violence and towards safety and self-sufficiency. Today, WINGS is able to connect clients with a wide range of services such as counseling, child and family services, support groups, crisis management, goal setting, budget planning, vocational counseling, legal assistance, mentoring, life skills support, and career services.
Consider helping a butterfly in need to spread its wings and fly by attending the “Purple Tie Ball” to support WINGS.
For information and to purchase tickets, visit wingsprogram.com.
By The Numbers:
• WINGS is the largest provider of domestic violence services
• Every 9 seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten.
• 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the U.S. have experienced
some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
• On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approxi-
mately 21,000 calls, and average of nearly 15 calls every minute.
• Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all crime.
• WINGS provided 1,076 program participants with 79,842
nights of emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive
housing during the last fiscal year.
• WINGS provided additional individualized and compre-
hensive services to clients, including more than 2,800 hours of