2012 Women's Journal of Chester County article

WHILE A RESIDENT of the Mary Walker House at the Coatesville VA Medical Center (CVAMC), I encountered Wings for Success in Frazer, PA, for the first time in early 2010. I visited with other residents of the transitional program for women veterans who are experiencing difficult life situations and without a home.

Wings for Success is a local nonprofit organization that provides work-appropriate clothing and life skills workshops for women during difficult times in their lives. It helps prepare women for job interviews and placement in the workplace; it also provides hope and emotional support during a transition to self-sufficiency. Wings for Success is proud to celebrate 15 years of empowering women.

During my visit to Wings for Success, I received a new wardrobe at no cost. In addition, I gained confidence to pursue completion of my educational goals, improve my job interviewing skills, and strive for a meaningful position. With the help of staff members at “Wings” and the collaborative efforts of people at Pulse Beauty Academy in Downingtown, I participated in a Professional Image Makeover Workshop. After visits to both organizations, other participants and I—who experienced many challenges—felt like we had a brand new start with stylish wardrobes and polished, professional hairstyles and makeup.

Because of the fresh start given to me by Wings, other doors have opened. I have since had the opportunity to attend Full Circle Computing in Exton, where I earned a Microsoft Office certification. After graduating from the school, my Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, Ms. Janet Morrison—also a former Wings client—arranged for another visit to Wings for additional clothing for me. Because of the special treatment that Wings volunteers give to all their clients and as a way to express my appreciation, I hope to one day be a Wings volunteer myself.

In addition to Wings, other organizations helped me attain a more successful and happier life. They included Open Hearth in Spring City, an organization that offered budgeting and financial workshops; Women Empowering Women, a peer group that meets at the CVAMC; the Lord’s Pantry, a nearby food cupboard run by volunteers and serving families in need; Chester County Community Gardens; and the Chester County Library System, where I gained access to online help with a resume and job searches, read books, newspapers and magazines, and borrowed resources.

My involvement with Wings for Success was a stepping stone on my road to self-sufficiency. I have learned that there are opportunities out there if you make an effort to find and use them. Each subsequent step has led me to make new friends and acquaintances, join a new organization or volunteer, apply for worthwhile job openings and, most of all, develop a positive attitude about life.

For more information about the great work of Wings for Success, please visit its website: www.wingsforsuccess.org.

By Patricia Miller, Author and Military Veteran