Foundation Born from Sandy Hook Shooting Announces Expansion

Dylan’s Wings of Change in Newtown, CT is proud to welcome Jessica Michaels as their full-time Global Program Director for Wingman for Dance. Michaels will drive expansion of the program with a brand-new youth leadership certification and expand our reach into the cheer, gymnastics and circus arts industries.

Dylan's Wings Of Change Team 2019

(L-R) Mark Lounsbury - Development Officer, Jessica Michaels, Ian Hockley

“Anti-bullying programs are not enough” said Ian Hockley, Founder and Executive Director of Dylan’s Wings of Change. “It’s imperative that we create strong, supportive communities where everyone feels included. That’s why we believe social and emotional learning should be available everywhere.

Jess started adapting the Wingman program for dance studios three years ago. The response has been amazing, and Jess’ deep understanding of the dance industry, entrepreneurial expertise and willingness to embrace a challenge made her the perfect choice for this role.”

Jessica Michaels graduated from Newtown High School and has been a performing arts professional for 20+ years as a performer, instructor, choreographer, studio owner and founder of a stage makeup line. She moved back home to Newtown in 2011 and was teaching at two dance studios greatly impacted by the Sandy Hook School shooting. After hearing Hockley speak at an event, Michaels was instantly inspired to volunteer her dance and entrepreneurial expertise for the Wingman cause.

“Utilizing all of my professional skills to inspire a healthier, more hopeful and more connected generation of young leaders fulfills me in a way I never knew I needed” said Michaels. “I am so grateful to help Ian honor Dylan’s legacy.”

Wingman is an innovative youth-led social and emotional learning program of team-bonding and trust-building activities. Wingman inspires children to be more compassionate, empathetic, courageous and inclusive young leaders.


Dylan's Wings of Change Logo

Dylan’s Wings of Change is a foundation dedicated to the memory of Dylan Hockley, who was murdered in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. DWC created the Wingman program to foster inclusive and supportive environments in schools, dance studios, and sports. The Wingman program currently operates in over 35 schools and 240 dance studios, reaching over 27,000 children in the US, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.


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Ian Hockley, Executive Director/Founder

Dylan’s Wings of Change

P.O. Box 3489

Newtown, CT 06470