In 2008, founding board member Dr. Lorena Hunt – a Fairhope, AL OB/GYN – became aware of the lack of options for families struggling with girls in crisis. In her 30 years working with women of all ages, she consistently realized the physical and emotional scars from unresolved pain experienced as a child or adolescent.
Yet Dr. Hunt found too many gaps between the well-intentioned net of school counseling, church support groups, mental health agencies and court programs. These gaps were allowing precious lives to slip through and spiral out of control. Under His Wings seeks to partner with the parents or guardians of these young girls to help these girls on a journey of healing.
Under His Wings – a name taken from Psalm 91:4 – opened its doors in June 2013 as a place for girls to find refuge, renewal and a restored relationship with God.
Under His Wings is a Christ-centered residential home for troubled girls under 19. We offer counseling for the child and family, educational support, and the opportunity to feel safe in a loving home-like environment. Our program ensures each girl experiences:
- An on-site school with accredited curriculum, individualized education plans, certified teachers and experienced tutors.
- House parents who provide a structured and loving home life while teaching accountability, gratitude, and respect.
- Christian counseling for both girls and their families.
- Instruction in life skills and creative opportunities to restore confidence.
- Opportunities to help others in need through service projects and volunteering.
Girls continue their education through our accredited Bridgeway Academy ™ home-school curriculum. A number of volunteers coordinate art, music, field trips and volunteer opportunities. Counseling is led by licensed professional counselors. Equine therapy also plays a major role in our approach to healing. We include parents as much as possible in the process – training and equipping families in their roles to better navigate their relationships with their girl. We’re dedicated to not just creating coping methods but committed reunion of the family.
The vision for Under His Wings began in the heart of God. His plan of redemption calls for every one of us to experience His love and grace, and we believe our home is simply fulfilling that desire for these girls who’ve lost their way. He wants them to experience His love and to realize who they were created to be. He desperately wants to show them they can have hope… because He loves them. He wants them to experience the life He planned for them – a life of grace and mercy. He wants them to see how special they are in His eyes, while they seek refuge and renewal at Under His Wings.
The vision is His – it is only our work to fulfill.
Statement of Faith
Under God’s guidance, all of our counseling is Biblically based from a Christian perspective because Jesus Christ is the source of all healing.
We believe in God, the Father, who is the Creator of all things and the Author of love.
We believe in God, the Son, and Jesus Christ, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a human life as we do but without sin and died on the cross for us as the all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. He arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God as our High Priest and Advocate. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for our salvation. All those who believe in Jesus Christ receive salvation and are born of the Holy Spirit.
We believe in God, the Holy Spirit, who is our Counselor and teaches us truth. He indwells, guides, instructs, equips and empowers the believer for Christ-like living and service. His ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, convict people of their sin, and regenerate the believing sinner.
We believe in the Bible as the Inspired Word of God without error in the original writing. All humanity was created in the image of God, but has fallen into sin and is, therefore, separated from God. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can salvation and spiritual life be obtained. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the complete revelation of God’s will for the salvation of men, and it is the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.
We believe in The Church which is the Body of Christ of which Jesus is the Head. It is composed of all people who, through saving faith in Jesus Christ, have been given the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and are united together in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ in the world.
Jacob and Sharon Motes
Jacob and Sharon joined us in February 2021 with over 9 years of house parenting experience, and are originally from Jackson, Alabama. They have raised three children of their own and have one granddaughter. We have been blessed with many house parents through the years and are happy to have the Motes family join us this season. Our house parents are essential to our program because they provide a loving Christian home for our girls age 13-16. This role requires an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ because He is the one who works in and through us for His purposes. The house parents use biblical values in modeling a healthy family as they care for the young ladies entrusted to us. The house parents manage the home to create a therapeutic environment which facilitates the attainment of goals established for their care plans.
Sarah is our Curriculum Coordinator and Lead Tutor supervising the young ladies in their homeschooling. In years past, she saw an increasing need in the classroom to overcome heavy emotional obstacles in her students before education could effectively begin. This need to “reach them before you can teach them” fueled her passion to gain professional education through evidence-based practices. Now equipped with several years of training and classroom application in trauma-informed teaching strategies, she brings a unique skill set to benefit our teens in the classroom. She holds certification in TBRI Caregiver Training and has logged numerous hours in active pursuit of ongoing social-emotional development education, all to benefit the children God places in her care. Sarah has a huge teacher’s heart and is acting in obedience to God’s calling for her in this expression of ministry. Her vision for our young ladies at Under His Wings is for them to acquire a well-rounded education, which includes their academics as well as an intentional Christ-based approach to life skills to prepare them for adulthood.
She and her husband, Dan, share six children including two sets of twins spanning from elementary school to high school. Most of her time is spent generously loving-on and serving her large family. Sarah enjoys reading while cuddling with her two extra-fluffy Maine Coon rescue cats, and exchanging creative hobby interests with others. Sarah especially enjoys spending her time with God surrounded by nature, or in fellowship with her women’s church group. Her family frequents the local hiking/beach areas, enjoys board game or movie nights together, actively attends church locally, and serves our community in many ways.
A commissioned officer in the United States Air Force with a degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Quality Systems Management, Arcelia planned to make the military her career, but God had other plans. After working as a business consultant, leadership/executive coach and facilitator for five executive departments of the President, she surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 2009. Months later she stepped out of the corporate world of Washington D.C. and moved to the Daphne area in 2010, where she stayed home to disciple and educate their children. She has served as the Younger Children’s Director at Faith Family Fellowship, and a Director for a local homeschool Community. She began serving with Under His Wings in February 2019 as a tutor and joined the leadership team in late April 2019.
As a certified Biblical Counselor with a passion for Jesus, she ministers to women and youth through encouragement discipleship and prayer. As an ambassador for Christ she desires to fulfill the call to the ministry of reconciliation for His namesake.
Her goals are to encourage and exhort her best friend and husband (Billy) of 20 years in the callings and gifts God has given him; to continue to disciple and train her children Ben (14) and Annaleigh (12); and to faithfully complete the good works God has prepared for her, and to finish the race set before her, keeping her eyes fixed on her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Julia Gibbs, ALC
Julia is an Associate Licensed Counselor in private practice at Emet Counseling. In 2003 she earned her undergraduate in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of South Alabama. In 2005 she earned her Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Troy University. As a military spouse she and her family has moved 14 times in 18 years around the world, and now they are thrilled to call Spanish Fort their permanent home. Walking with Jesus has taught her that deep-level healing is a process found only between the partnership of the Spirit of God and the one willing to take the journey. Deep-level healing deals with the root issues of the heart of man and in turn the symptoms of the brokenness dissipate under the gift of freedom that the Spirit of God brings with love, wisdom, and transformation.
Kari Whatley, LPC
Kari leads an important part of the healing program at Under His Wings – on a farm near Bay Minette with a team of four-legged therapists.Equine therapy – like other growing methods such as art therapy – is an experience-based approach that meets each girl “where they are.” Horses are masters of reading body language, intent and emotion. Working with the girls help them to learn to better understand themselves and build the trust often lost in their lives. Kari is a Licensed Professional Counselorand an EAGALA Certified Equine Therapist.She achieved her B.S. in Theology and a M.S. in Professional Counseling at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
Beverly Krueger are part of the house parent team that provide a loving home environment at Under His Wings. Structure, discipline and security are essential to the healing process and elements many of our girls have never had in their lives.
A devoted group of volunteers spend time with the girls weekly – offering love, support, and fun activities. Some bring meals, share hobbies, or tutor.
Under His Wings is a 501c3 non-profit created in 2012, managed by a Board of Directors committed to the vision and calling of our mission.
The Board receives legal and financial counsel from an Alabama board-certified attorney and accountant.
Since 2013 Under His Wings has been licensed by the State of Alabama to provide residential care to girls less than 18 years of age. All requirements have been met as required by the Minimum Standards for Residential Group Homes in Alabama. Shanna Wester, the Program Manager for Residential Licensing for the State of Alabama, renewed the two year license September 2019.
Board President (president, board member since inception 2008)- Dr. Lorena E. Hunt, M.D. Eastern Shore OB/GYN
Secretary- Joan Stastka- Stastka Insurance
Board Member- Summer Williams- Youth Reach Gulf Coast House Parent
Board Member- Brandon Clay- Instructional Coach for Mobile County Public School
Rev. Marty Hamilton – United Methodist Church Bay Minette
Dennis Stastka – Stastka Insurance
There is a Battle for the Soul of These Girls.
Our girls aren’t statistics but names and faces we’re committed to restoring to freedom from the issues controlling their lives. The girls who come to Under His Wings struggle with feelings of abandonment, trauma and rebellion. They may refuse to go to school, become withdrawn, or become dependent on peers engaged in dangerous behaviors. The list of challenges to young women today can seem overwhelming.
- One woman in 5 struggles with an eating disorder.
- Each year 1 woman out of 5 will self-harm.
- 1 young woman in 3 is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 woman in 8 ages 15-19 becomes pregnant each year.
- In Baldwin County – nearly 15% of all births are to mothers ages 15-19.
- Teenage pregnancy results in less likelihood of graduating high school, fewer employment opportunities and a greater chance of welfare dependency.
- For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
Sources: National Institute of Mental Health 2010; “Self Injury, Self Harm Statistics and Facts” – Healthy Place 2013; RAINN 2011; Centers for Disease Control 2010