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After school Emotional Skills Program gets $2.5 million grant to expand successful program.

​WINGS for Kids, the innovative after-school program started in South Carolina to help children control their tempers and make good choices has received a $2.5 million grant to help it expand to other communities.

WINGS started in Charleston 17 years ago and organizers say it’s the only program teaching emotional skills to children in an after-school setting. It is now offered in four Charleston-area schools and two in Atlanta.

The organization announced Thursday that the grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation will now help it to expand to 16 schools in four communities during the next three years. The grant includes funding from the federal Social Innovation Fund.

WINGS stresses what is called emotional learning, something that usually is not taught in school and that students may not get at home.

Researchers from Yale University have found that the program develops an attachment to school, and local research showed the first group of WINGS students had a 40 percent higher high school graduation rate than students who did not attend and went to similar schools.