Survivor moved to help domestic abuse victims through her Winged Hope foundation

Winged Hope is run 100 percent by volunteers. Pictured are board President Joyce McLaren and a team member at the My Sisteru2019s Place domestic violence shelter revamp.

Winged Hope is run 100 percent by volunteers. Pictured are board President Joyce McLaren and a team member at the My Sisteru2019s Place domestic violence shelter revamp.

Image description
Winged Hope
Image description
Winged Hope
Image description
Winged Hope

A local nonprofit is making a statewide impact.


Winged Hope Family Advocacy Foundation, based out of Gilbert, provides resources, prevention, training and healing for survivors of abuse and their families. Jessica Nicely, a survivor of child abuse herself, founded the tax-
exempt charitable organization, which is run by volunteers, in 2013.


“A lot of programs that we offer are things I survived in my own life,” Nicely said.


Nicely, a former Miss Arizona USA, has been sharing her story and advocating against abuse for two decades but worked predominantly in prevention before launching Winged Hope.

First-hand help


While prevention is still a large part of what she does, the nonprofit is also involved in helping victims of abuse first-hand.


“Really, Winged Hope started because I wanted to work with family advocacy centers and start more family advocacy centers around the state,” she said. “I learned that Tempe didn’t have one; Chandler didn’t have one; Gilbert didn’t have one. So all these big cities, where I know crime is happening, didn’t have advocacy centers.”


Family advocacy centers, or FACs, are temporary shelters where victims of violent crimes can meet with the police, therapists and other agencies to tell their story and get assistance.


Winged Hope helped launch one in Chandler last summer and is working to get one started in Maricopa in February. Nicely said she is aiming to bring one to Gilbert in the next few years.


Winged Hope also renovates existing centers and ensures they have everything the survivors need, such as underwear, which sometimes is taken into evidence from the victims, leaving them without a properly fitting pair.


Direct services


In addition to assisting other agencies, Winged Hope also provides direct services for survivors. And what is unique about the organization’s approach, Nicely said, is that it provides these resources, such as therapy, for the entire family.


“In the state of Arizona, victims who witness domestic violence aren’t even considered victims of a crime, and so they don’t have any resources available to them,” Nicely said.


Nicely said some days are really hard, but as someone who has been through the darkness, she is thankful to be a beacon of light to those in need.


“At the beginning, really, all I could offer was a hug, and I would cry with them,” Nicely said. “Now, after I do a training, I have resources I can provide them. I have tools I can help people with, and that’s been incredible and probably the greatest gift for me.”


Winged Hope Family Advocacy Foundation
929 N. Val Vista Drive, Stes. 109-167, Gilbert
480-757-7030
www.wingedhope.org



MOST RECENT

Residential real estate data for Gilbert ZIP codes in March 2021
Gilbert home values climb fastest in 85298 for March 2021

Here is what you need to know about Gilbert's residential real estate market from March 2021.

Higley USD District Office
It’s official: Dawn Foley takes over for Mike Thomason as superintendent at Higley USD

Mike Thomason officially retired May 3, and Dawn Foley stepped up from associate superintendent to acting superintendent ahead of officially taking over the superintendent role July 1.

Road construction barrels
Street work on Recker Road in Gilbert has resumed

Work resumed May 3 on the Recker Road street project between Ray Road and Loop 202-Santan Freeway after more than a six-month delay.

Randy Duren co-owns Hair of the Dog with his wife, Marleen. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
A pet-friendly bar opens in Gilbert; a 99 Ranch Market will anchor a Chandler shopping center and more top news from the Phoenix area

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Phoenix area.

Lori Wood
Gilbert Public Schools adopts revised maintenance and operations budget of $263M

Gilbert Public Schools’ final revised maintenance and operations budget for fiscal year 2020-21 is the largest to date for the year.

Almost 3 million COVID-19 doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents as of May 4, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Nearly 3M vaccine doses have been given to Maricopa County residents

Almost 3 million COVID-19 doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents as of May 4, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Laurin Hendrix
Gilbert Town Council gives preliminary approval to $988.25 million budget

For the second consecutive year, Gilbert Town Council is heading toward a budget that is smaller than the previous year.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Holiday Inn Express & Suites opens in east Gilbert

The 55,000-square-foot hotel has 98 guest rooms.

See a breakdown of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and more local data. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: Vaccinations in Gilbert cross 100,000

Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 case counts in Gilbert and the state.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
ADHS: Hospitalization for COVID-19 increases slightly from May 2

Here is what you need to know about hospitalization numbers in Arizona because of COVID-19 cases.

Val Vista Drive
Val Vista widening project at 75% toward completion

The $34.28 million project improves Val Vista Drive to a major arterial roadway with three lanes in each direction with a raised median.

Randy Duren, Hair of the Dog
Pet-friendly Hair of the Dog opens in Gilbert

The wine bar, tap house and coffee shop is designed to be a dog-friendly neighborhood bar.