SoaringSuperheroes

Greatness is in everyone. Strength is in everyone. There’s an entire galaxy of stars, kids just like you who want to do something nice to make ill kids feel loved and supported. Everyone has a favorite action-hero or superhero. Which one is yours?  You can invent your own Superhero or choose a famous Superhero to share with ill kids. Your Superhero can be funny and have silly powers that can make an ill child smile and laugh. Your Superhero can be brave and strong, which can make an ill child feel less scared. Your Superhero can be really kind, which can make an ill child feel comforted. Its up to your imagination!

How to Get Started:
1. Choose what kind of Superhero you want to make: 
a)  Invent your own Superhero
b)  Choose a famous Superhero 
c)  Pick a hero or heroine from mythology 
d)  Select someone from real life.  This person can be someone you  know from your family, school, neighborhood, or someone  famous from the past or present.

2. Use Soaringwords Border to draw your Superhero.

3. Write the name of your Superhero on the top of the page and then draw your Superhero using lots of colors.

4. Write one or two sentences describing his or her superpowers. You can also write a message to an ill child from your Superhero.

5. Write your name and age on the bottom of the page.

IRB Senior Banana SoaringSuperhero

To see lots of examples of Superheroes created by kids like you, click here.

Pointers:
Do make your picture really big, bright and colorful. Fill the entire page with your picture and message.
Don’t include illness or death in your Superhero description.
Don’t write or draw anything violent.
Don’t write “Get Well Soon” or “Feel Better” because sometimes these messages can make an ill kid feel sad.

After You Finish Your Superhero:
You can give your Superhero to a child who is ill. Or, you can mail or email it to Soaringwords and we will share your Superhero with a hospitalized child and/or post it on our website.
Soaringwords, 
5 West 86th Street, Suite 1500
New York, N.Y. 10024
 heal@soaringwords.org

Watch SoaringSuperheroes video to see other kids create their hero messages:

The Healing Power of Love

By Lisa Buksbaum for Positive Psychology News Daily

Words from the heart enter the heart.
~ Mishnah, Rabbinic Commentary on the Talmud. Berachot 6b

Today neuroscience can validate the accuracy of this adage by empirically measuring the impact of loving words, adoring gazes, caring thoughts, and the simple touch of a hand or shoulder. Small gestures can have profound, immediate, and positive impacts on our physiology, thoughts, and feelings. Dacher Keltner speaks about four great loves: the love between parent and child, the passion between sexual partners, the enduring devotion between pair-bonders, and the love for non-kin, most typically friends and fellow humans, but also including pets.

How Can You Resist A Baby?

Bonding to a newborn

According to British psychiatrist John Bowlby’s attachment theory, children come into the world biologically programmed to form attachment with others because this will help them survive. He posits that the first great love of life begins when we leave the womb. It includes a rich vocabulary of touch, voice, gaze, and facial displays and is evident in the merging of minds, heartbeats, and nervous systems of caretaker and young child.

These processes establish deep patterns of neural response in the pre-social nervous system: growth in tactile receptors in the skin, strengthening of the oxytocin system, setting the HPA axis to less stressful levels, and lighting up reward centers in the brain. For those of you who don’t happen to be brain surgeons, HPA is an abbreviation for the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It describes a complex set of interactions among the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain and the adrenal glands in the body. Keltner likens the experiences of early love to feeling a warm hand on your back encouraging you as you move through life.

Not everyone forms warm and supportive attachments. Some experienced cycles of isolation or trauma as young children. Fortunately, through twelve-step programs, counseling, and determination, even people without secure attachment can become the empathetic, nurturing parents that they wished they had had.

The Thrill of It All

Anyone who has experienced a grade-school crush, high-school flirtation, or serious love relationship knows that powerful passionate feelings can short-circuit the brain. My first crush was directed towards Bruce Grunt, the new boy in town who sported wavy brown hair, big eyes, and a winning smile. What clinched Bruce as a fifth-grade heart-throb for me was that he reportedly played the drums just like Bobbie Sherman of the Monkees, one of top teen idols at the time.

Just engaged

Just as scientists have documented pervasive baby-parent bonding rituals, simple flirtation rituals echo the same auditory and physical bonding rites. Remember what it felt like to hear the other’s voice or see the other approaching? I remember my heart fluttering when I spotted my husband Jacob walking towards me on Manhattan’s West 86th Street when we were newlyweds. When we’d meet at our lobby, we’d both be grinning from ear to ear. Before proceeding to the elevator we’d share a hug, a universal gesture that places two individual bodies in a heart-to-heart stance. If positive psychologists had been perched in our lobby, they probably could have measured the expansion of our peripheral visions and the rise in our oxytocin levels.

All of these physical reactions demonstrate Barbara Fredrickson’s theory that experiencing positive emotions together actually opens us up to experience more positive sensations. Barb defines love as “micro-moments of connection,” and “positivity resonance.” I invite you to watch this Soaringwords’ video where Dr. Barbara Fredrickson shares findings from her riveting book, Love 2.0.

(Youtube link)

After the Thrill, the Bonding

There’s nothing like the thrill of the powerful choreography of touch.

Puppies tumbling

Just like puppies tumbling around with joy and abandon, everything seems playful and new at the beginning of a relationship. There are many exquisite touch receptors under the surface of the skin that are activated with a provocative brush of the arm, an emphatic pat of the shoulder, a butt bump after a shared joke. These harmless ways of upping the ante in flirtation allow two people to read each other’s reactions to see if they are in fact in synch.

When all goes well, a couple experiences behavioral synchrony with mirror neurons firing and mutual mimicking of expressions, laughter, and body language. The old definitions of self give way to an entirely new identity. The new identity emerging from pair bonding can realign our lives. Amplified devotion prepares us for commitment to monogamous bonding. All of these dance steps of behavioral synchrony reinforce perpetuation of our genes, which brings us right back into experiencing those powerful parent-child bonding emotions with our offspring.

Sharing SoaringSuperheroes®

Pay-it-Forward and Expand Your Love

The best way to experience more love is to be gratuitously kind to others without expecting anything in return. Doing something nice for someone else simply because you expect a positive return reduces love to the level of a business transaction. In contrast, paying-it-forward is expansive and generative. This is why for the past sixteen years Soaringwords has inspired thousands of hospitalized children and teens to engage in expressive arts projects to donate to other ill children because we know that this simple gesture accelerates transformative healing.

Beloved Pets

Atul Gawande describes an experiment by Dr. Bill Thomas at the Chase Memorial Nursing Home concerned with measuring how man’s best friend (and some cats, bunnies and parakeets) retarded illness and aging.

4-pound sidekick, Lulu

As a young audacious doctor Bill Thomas was put in charge of a nursing home facility. He was dismayed to discover that the residents were depressed, heavily medicated, and isolated as they spent most of their time in their bedrooms or sitting shoulder to shoulder parked in their wheelchairs near the nursing station watching a TV with the sound blasting. Dr. Thomas ordered 100 parakeets, four dogs, two cats, a colony of rabbits, and a flock of laying hens.

The first few days were mayhem as fur and feathers literally flew around the facility. Then patients who were non-ambulatory volunteered to walk the dogs and actually walked for the first time in months. Otherwise non-responsive residents started caressing and caring for the bunnies and cats. Drug costs for the facility fell 38% compared to a comparable facility, while deaths decreased by fifteen percent.

These people needed something to love.

Share the love

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re loving a baby, flirting madly with someone new, keeping the flames of love stoked with your mate, or giving to close relatives, cherished friends, strangers, or pets, remember that loving words, gazes, and gentle touch can elevate the giver and receiver to experience laughter, gratitude, and joy together. As Helen Keller aptly said,

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They simply must be felt with the heart.

Love is everywhere if you’re open to seeing it!

 


 
References

Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. Basic Books.

Buksbaum, L. (2013). Soaringwords empirical research to measure the well-being of hospitalized children. MAPP Capstone. University of Pennsylvania.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection. New York: Penguin Group.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive. New York: Crown.

Gawande, A. (2017). Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Picador.

Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J., & Rapson, R. (1994). Emotional Contagion (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction). (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Keltner, D. (2009). Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

 

Soaringwords + Zumba® Hospital Visit

photo (2)As part of the Soaringwords + Zumba® experience, the instructors will offer a simple and fun Soaringwords “pay it forward” activity which fosters altruism, reciprocity, well-being and resilience.

The following activities can be printed (in black and white or color) and brought to the hospital. (Please check with your hospital contact if they can provide crayons or markers.)

Below are six activities you can use for your hospital visits. They can be rotated and used repeatedly. Click on the activity link to save it to your files.
Please print Soaringwords Certificate to give to each patient.

SONG AND CHOREOGRAPHY RECOMMENDATIONS 

Choreography for both songs was generously created by ZJ™ Holly Rose.

Smiles for Life – by Alex Boye; available on iTunes. We have rights to use the song for Soaringwords classes, but volunteers must purchase the song in order to use it (cannot be shared or emailed).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH_fo8vjcso

 *** Please note that this is a PRIVATE YouTube link to choreography that was created EXCLUSIVELY for current Soaringwords volunteers and should not be posted online or shared with those who are not current volunteers. Please respect this request. Much appreciation for your understanding.***

Zumba High – by Francesca Maria; song available on MegaMix and on iTunes. We have rights to use the song for Soaringwords classes, but volunteers must purchase the song in order to use it (cannot be shared or emailed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnZcX9sK-c

*** Please note that this is a PRIVATE YouTube link to choreography that was created EXCLUSIVELY for current Soaringwords volunteers and should not be posted online or shared with those who are not current volunteers. Please respect this request. Much appreciation for your understanding.***

Get Up! – by Dahrio Wonder; song available on ZIN 56. We have rights to use the song for Soaringwords classes, but volunteers must purchase the song in order to use it (cannot be shared or emailed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2IegwZ_cyI#t=11

 ***Please note that this is a PRIVATE YouTube link to choreography that was created EXCLUSIVELY for current Soaringwords volunteers and should not be posted online or shared with those who are not current volunteers. Please respect this request. Much appreciation for your understanding.***

More songs and choreography coming soon!

 SOARINGWORDS RECOMMENDED HOSPITAL GUIDELINES

In Preparation, Please:

  • Confirm the class with the hospital contact a week prior to each monthly class.
  • Do not visit the hospital if you have flu or cold symptoms (fever, diarrhea, runny nose).
  • Bring a government-issued photo ID for the hospital security/entrance. Hospital needs this to allow you to get into the building.
  • All ZIN™ members must wear family-friendly/child appropriate clothing: Zumba® Fitness leggings or pants and an “official” Soaringwords t-shirt for the top. Please donate anywhere from $4 to $15 and we will send you the t-shirt (if possible we’d like to ship shirts for the whole team in one package). Email greta@soaringwords.org to request your t-shirts.
  • Do not wear perfume or heavy smelling lotions or hair spray, per hospital policy, because patients are extra sensitive to smells.
  • Pre-approve any giveaways with your hospital contact (stickers, tattoos, bracelets). Confirm the number of items needed (bring enough for everyone and enough to leave some behind with Child Life “just in case”). Note that these are optional; Soaringwords is unable to reimburse these expenses.
  • Leave heavy bags and personal belongings in the car or at home. There is often no room at the hospital to store items and you cannot lock them up. Best to travel light!

While Visiting:

  • Give patients, families and staff your full attention.
    • Do not have side conversations with other volunteers.
    • Turn cell phones completely off.
    • Please take at least one photo and one video at each class to share with Soaringwords each month.
      • Photos and videos can be taken of: ZIN™ members with hospital staff, ZIN™ members “in action” with backs of patients’ heads, ZIN™ members with hospital staff by hospital signage. If you have consent you can take photos and videos that include patient faces to share their smiles.
      • Please do not take photos or videos of any patient unless you have permission from hospital staff (staff need written consent). See sample Photo/Video Consent Form on page 31.
      • With permission, we will feature these photos and videos on Soaringwords’ social media!
      • Please remember appropriate boundaries. You are (very kindly) volunteering your time as a Zumba® Fitness Instructor. You will no doubt make many meaningful connections during your visits. Please do not share personal information (email, phone) with patients or families or go back to visit patients/families that you bonded with on your day of volunteering. If you are interested in volunteering more, please contact Soaringwords at dance@soaringwords.org and we would be delighted to discuss additional ongoing volunteer opportunities for you in your community.
      • Remember you are a visitor: please do not block the hallway; this is an important thoroughfare that needs to be kept open at all times. Please remember to always stay out of the center of the hall and keep your voice down. Make sure to stand as close to the walls as possible so that patient stretchers, hospital beds transporting patients to and from procedures, and patients in wheelchairs and patients with IV poles can easily move through the corridor without the Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness delegation causing a traffic jam (patients get embarrassed when they have to pass through a big crowd, especially with IV poles, etc).

Positive Attention and Communication While in the Hospital:

  • Listen carefully to hospital staff, patients and families.
  • Parents frequently need to step into the hallway to have a private conversation away from the child. Please respect their need for privacy.
  • When talking to patients and families, be friendly, positive and keep it simple. Make upbeat statements instead of asking questions (e.g. “Your fuzzy, bright bathrobe looks so cozy!” “You have a beautiful smile!” “I see from your pillow and room decorations that you really like the Red Sox”).
  • Avoid medical or personal statements and questions like “Get well soon”, “I hope you go home soon”, “Feel better” or “How long have you been here?”.
  • Do not make assumptions about gender. Patients may have lost their hair, or wear jewelry or clothing that is not distinguishable.
  • Do not personalize any lack of enthusiasm. Patients may be feeling drowsy from medication or illness.
  • Do not talk about any patients or staff you meet while you are in the hospital (you never know who is standing next to you in the hospital elevator or café).
  • Please do not talk about religion, angels or God. Hospitals receive government funding and are not allowed to promote religious practices. Also, when children hear about angels and God they often think about death. You can pray for them in your thoughts.
  • If you are uncomfortable at any time, find a hospital facilitator (Child Life Specialist, volunteer or nurse) immediately. If something upsetting happens in the hospital please note it in your Post-Event Feedback Form so that Soaringwords can respond to you in a confidential way.
  • Do not ask patients, families or staff any personal questions about any patients’ medical condition, hospitalization or where they live (this information is confidential and it is against the law for staff to share this information with you). Hospitals can LOSE THEIR LICENSE to practice or be SHUT DOWN if they violate patient confidentiality. It doesn’t matter if the child has cancer, diabetes, or a chronic condition; our job is to bring joy and laughter to his or her day. Please help us keep it positive.
  • Do not give out your cell phone or email to any patient in the hospital as this is against hospital protocol. Soaringwords encourages in-person visits that are life-changing and wonderful. We are not equipped to be professional therapists or ongoing support systems for these children and families.
  • Do not give any money or gifts to patients or families, except ones that have been approved by Soaringwords and the hospital (e.g. SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® and the Soaringwords activities).
  • If a patient or family member shares something about their medical condition, such as “My son Brendan has had four surgeries in the past month” or “My granddaughter Kim was just diagnosed with cancer yesterday” please do NOT share medical anecdotes or stories about someone you know who has the same illness.
  • Maintain composure with patients and their families. Do not start crying. It is okay to ask a patient or their family if they want a hug or to respond with an encouraging, neutral statement such as “that’s why I’m here… to bring you some joy today.” If at any point you feel overwhelmed or like you might start to cry, take a break and come back when you are ready. Be sure to discuss this with your team and the Soaringwords executive team so we can help coach you and others.
  • Do not talk about your own experiences with hospitals or illnesses.
  • Discuss universal topics such as favorite games, activities, sports, animals and television shows.
  • Give everyone as much of your positive energy, love and support as possible.

Soaringwords Activity:

  • You can print different activities from the Soaringwords.org website: SoaringSuperheroes , SoaringHaikus, SoaringBeds, SoaringConstellations , Gratitude Ladders, SoaringAnimals for Chinese New YearSoaringLoveSoaringExpressions, SoaringSigns
  • Let patients and families know that you are there to share the joy of Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness and “to brighten their day.”
  • Let everyone know that a big theme in Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness is to
    “pay-it-forward” and do something kind for someone else: encourage patients and families to create something for someone else “to brighten their day.”
  • Items created can be used as an “admission ticket” for the Zumba® Fitness class/party.
  • When possible, please take photos of items created (with the volunteers and patients if approved by hospital staff).

Zumba® Fitness Class:

  • Assure everyone right away that the point of the class is to be together and have fun.
  • Do not worry if you can’t move around much, and be sure movements are safe for the space provided.
  • No one should worry about “keeping up” or dancing really well.
  • Please be sure to check sound prior to class and know ahead of time how loud the music can be.
  • Keep moves SUPER SIMPLE so everyone can feel successful and happy.
    • Perhaps just step-tap, step-tap with easy arm movements repeated again and again.
    • Do not add on movements until you see that all are successful and happily enjoying what you are already doing.
    • Remember: You are there for the patients, families and staff, not to showcase your best dance moves!

CLOSING THE LOOP WITH THE TEAM AFTER EACH EVENT                            
Please complete the Post-Event Feedback Form after each event.

COMMUNICATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT TO SOARINGWORDS       
Soaringwords office needs to know what is working well and how we can improve the Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness collaboration.

 Please notify Soaringwords:

  • If a volunteer had a recent loss or is grappling with an illness in her or his family and had a bad reaction at the hospital.
  • If a volunteer did something inappropriate with patients (we need to know about it before the hospital calls Soaringwords to tell us about it).
  • If something happened with the hospital, such as they kept you waiting for an hour or they forgot to tell you the class was cancelled and everyone showed up, or any other miscommunication.

  Thanks a million for volunteering your time! We appreciate your involvement and generosity.

 

 

Hospital Outreach

Lisa Buksbaum, CEO & Founder of Soaringwords, is conducting a global empirical research study on the impact of positive psychology interventions, using the SOARING into Strength model. This empirical study is an extension of Lisa’s Master’s Thesis, Soaringwords Empirical Research to Measure the Well-being of Hospitalized Children under the Internal Review Board (IRB) at the University of Pennsylvania. Patients will be sourced from in-patient general pediatrics, behavioral health, obesity clinics, family clinics and departments where patients are treated for chronic conditions (asthma unit, dialysis unit, burn unit). This new study will expand the sample from 250 hospitalized children to a targeted goal of more than 2,000 pediatric patients, many additional hospital collaboration sites and an expanded global reach. You and your hospital will be able to use this research to show how expressive arts interventions and a customized dance class impact pediatric patient well-being. Your hospital will be prominently featured in the article that we will submit for publication in a leading scientific journal.

A shareable letter for prospective hospital partners can be downloaded here.

 

Mission: Each year millions of children around the world suffer from chronic or serious illness. Soaringwords’ mission is to inspire ill children and their families to take active roles in self-healing. Soaringwords is unique as it is the only organization to motivate ill children and families to “pay it forward” to help others. Studies show that when a child does something kind for another child it accelerates transformative healing. Soaringwords provides fun, creative and educational activities both in person and online based on positive psychology concepts.

Soaringwords’ interventions are based on the belief that strength and greatness are inside each child, family member, and healthcare professional regardless of his or her ability or socioeconomic status. Soaringwords also encourages children and families of all abilities to embrace active, healthy lifestyles. At the bottom of this page are a handful of testimonials from Child Life professionals who have collaborated with Soaringwords for several years.

 

Project Design:

The study is a one-time intervention to measure the impact of positive interventions designed to inspire hospitalized children to experience heightened physical and emotional well-being in the midst of serious illness. The study involves four distinct groups to measure the efficacy among each of the interventions

1) Patients experiencing a SoaringSuperhero® expressive arts project and a Zumba® Fitness class;

2) Patients experiencing a SoaringSuperhero® expressive arts project only;

3) Patients experiencing the Zumba Fitness class only;

4) An active control group asked to make a drawing of a person for the same amount of time as the above mentioned interventions.

Participants will participate one-time in one of the four aforementioned interventions. The target sample size is 2,000 children. We will also collect data from participating family members and hospital professionals who participate in the interventions (as they are always welcome to be part of Soaringwords hospital programs). We expect each hospital to secure between ten to twenty patients per week with the goal of 200 patients from your hospital.

 

Publicizing Research Findings

You and your hospital will be prominently acknowledged in all citations. Along with my esteemed colleagues Dr. Peggy Kern, author of the EPOCH scale of adolescent well-being and world-renown positive psychology researcher and Pamela Núñez del Prado, Director, Positive Psychology Research Group, Child Health National Institute, Lima, Peru and the Research Methods and Human Development Professor, Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú. The two lead scientists on the team are Dr. Claire Robertson-Kraft and Dr. Nina Hoe from the University of Pennsylvania. We plan to submit an article of the findings to be published in a scholarly journal.

 

Accomplishments:

To date, Soaringwords’ programs have embraced more than 250,000 pediatric patients and families in hospitals and family clinics and 135,000 volunteers and families in company settings or community centers. Relevant accomplishments include:         

  • Sharing Soaringwords Expressive Arts programs with children and families in 196 hospitals.
  • Each month, 355 Zumba instructors lead Soaringwords expressive arts projects followed by customized Zumba classes for children and families grappling with serious illness. This provides an energizing way for children and families to do something fun and meaningful that creates emotional and physical elevation in well-being, even while they are grappling with illness or disability. The Instructors complete a rigorous Soaringwords training and are licensed to teach Zumba® Kids and Zumba® Gold (for people with mobility challenges). The Soaringwords + Zumba classes engage the entire family to participate in the activity giving parents the opportunity to have fun and bond with their children.
  • Soaringwords created and ran Caring for Yourself as Caregiver of A Special Needs Child workshop for families at 92Y in NYC with Dr. Catherine Lord, Founder, Center for Autism and the Developing Brain.  
  • Soaringwords has shared a What to Say and Do for Parents of Ill Children workshop for 1,000 employees and their families at Johnson & Johnson and Northrop Grumman.
  • Lisa Buksbaum was the subject content expert on Good Morning America shortly after Jett Travolta died sharing coping mechanisms and strategies for parents and families. Lisa shared ten strategies to help people learn “what to never say to families who lost a child.” Many times, Soaringwords has been called in to lead community-wide programs to help families cope with complex emotions during a crisis when a child becomes seriously ill or dies. Soaringwords was selected as the Eye on Philanthropy CEO and cause by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. 
  • Soaringwords’ projects have been embraced by thousands of employees in dozens of employee resource groups that assist children and families with disabilities at leading companies such as NY Life, BNYMellon, and American Express in many cities around the country.
  • Soaringwords/Lisa Buksbaum has been invited to present at five international scientific conferences: (International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress, L.A. 2013; IPPA, Orlando, 2015; European Conference Positive Psychology (ECPP) Amsterdam, 2014; ECPP, Angers, 2016; International Positive Education Network (IPEN), Dallas, 2016.
  • Soaringwords/Lisa Buksbaum has been a keynote speaker at dozens of conferences and global meetings for leading companies such as Johnson & Johnson; Accenture; Verizon; JPMorgan Chase.

The following is a detailed description of the proposed project and it’s projected impact and outcomes for patients and families.

 

Project components:
1) Soaringwords’ Expressive Arts & Writing Projects. The first phase of the empirical study is based on a one-time intervention that will be shared with a larger sample size. Over a ten week period, hospital professionals and Soaringwords facilitators will lead a one-time creative hands-on Soaringwords’ SoaringSuperhero® activity based on positive psychology concepts among 200 patients in your hospital. We hope to be able to provide a class once a week (with ten patients a class). Soaringwords activities enhance wellness, creativity and community.

2) Modified dance classes. Soaringwords leaders are specially trained in Zumba Kids® and Zumba Gold® to use customized moves that are appropriate for children with limited mobility and/or other disabilities and able to lead classes for patients of all abilities, family members and hospital professionals.

 

 

SOARING into Strength. The Positive Psychology Approach to Help Children and Families Heal:

Soaringwords pioneered a new positive psychology model to enhance well-being of patients, their families, and caregivers. This evidence-based model is called SOARING. SOARING has been tested among hundreds of patients in the U.S. This new study expands the sample beyond the U.S. to include patients in Peru, Australia, Israel, and Canada to assess the impact among thousands of pediatric patients and their families, and hospital staff. Each participant will be given a series of questions (pre and post-event measurement for each intervention) to show the change in well-being. The model consists of seven components:

  • Shifting: you can do something to create a positive shift in your attitude, your body, and overall well-being. 
  • Optimism: you can choose to find good things to notice and celebrate even when times are difficult or painful.
  • Altruism: you can gain a sense of control, calm, and purpose by sharing your creativity, kindness, character strengths, and hope with others.
  • Resiliency: you have the capacity to flourish in the face of difficulty.
  • Imagery: you can tap into your inner knowledge to heal.
  • Narrative: you can heal though the power of storytelling, writing, and reading.
  • Gratitude: you can choose to experience moments of appreciation, even in the midst of challenges.

 

Outcomes: 

  • We will measure the percent of pediatric participants who demonstrate positive changes in well-being as reflected in the pre and post activity survey which is administered by a hospital professional at the time of the intervention. Attributes measured include: positive affect, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment in addition to self-reported health, hope, gratitude, strength and resilience, agency and reciprocity (Soaringwords Capstone Research, 2013).  
  • We will measure changes in the well-being of family members as reflected in the pre and post activity surveys.
  • Healthcare professionals participating in the initiative will report increased well-being which leads to better interaction with patients and the family members they serve and decreased compassion fatigue and caregiver burn-out.

 

Next Steps: I am happy to speak to you and any of your colleagues to answer any questions and discuss the Research Study in greater detail. I have included a handful of testimonials from hospitals that have benefited from Soaringwords programs for several years. I hope you will sign and date this letter and email it back to us to signal your approval.

As Margaret Mead so eloquently stated, “Never doubt the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Your support and a shared vision and purpose will enable Soaringwords to scale proven programs and transform the lives of vulnerable children, their families and the healthcare professionals who care for them. This global project will be a significant contribution to the field. Thanks for the opportunity to put our hearts and minds together for a wonderful purpose.

 

 

Feedback from Child Life professionals for the Soaringwords + Zumba = Love for Hospitalized Children initiative 

Soaringwords has been leading volunteer program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital since 2004. In 2012-2013, I had the pleasure of collaborating in the first Soaringwords empirical research study that included 100 of our patients who participated in a Soaringwords Superhero intervention. The patients were unanimously happy to be invited to participate in the study and the findings showed that getting and creating a Soaringwords Superhero message and artwork significantly enhanced patient well-being of all of the participants. This finding was not surprising to me since the monthly Soaringwords visits with the expressive arts projects and customized Zumba classes are so greatly appreciated by all of our patients and families here at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. This is a wonderful organization doing meaningful work that supports our Child Life mission. — Katelynn Torres, Child Life Specialist, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 

 

Each month the Soaringwords + Zumba team arrive with a burst of energy and effervescence. These volunteers transform the recreational mall into the most happening place to be in Chicago! The patients and families love participating in the expressive arts projects all of which are designed to enhance the well-being of our children. The activities are powerful ice-breakers that motivate our patients to tap into their creativity and altruism which has a soothing and reassuring impact on their confidence and resilience. The customized dance classes build on the power of the arts project and exactly what our patients need: great music, age-appropriate songs and ALL of the choreography modified so that our patients in wheelchairs and with mobility challenges can participate fully. The instructors are trained to work with children of all abilities so that everyone feels 100% part of the dance experience. I love seeing the smiles and joy pulsing throughout the mall activities room.

I am excited to be part of the new Soaringwords Empirical Research project because we want to have data to show the impact of healing expressive arts projects and movement classes on the well-being of our pediatric patients, their families and our professional staff who care for them. This study will give us empirical findings to show the impact of these wonderful interventions to enhance physical and emotional well-being.  — Darlene Kelly, Recreational Therapy/Child Life Director, Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago

 

Soaringwords programs have been a well-loved staple at our hospital since 2002. The patients love doing the Soaringwords expressive arts activities and unique projects. More recently, since 2012, our patients and families look forward to participating in the customized Zumba Kids classes. Immediately after the arts and crafts and writing projects, the Soaringwords + Zumba volunteers offer modified dance experiences bringing a lot of fun and cheer to our pediatric floor. Many of our patients have shown physical or emotional breakthroughs after attending these classes. Often times parents tell me, “this is the first time I’ve seen my child smile in days” or they say that “this is the first time I’ve been able to have a few minutes of fun and chill out since my child got ill.” The Soaringwords program brings our staff and the children and families we serve together with a real sense of joy and community. This has also been a wonderful program to give the siblings of patients something fun and meaningful that they can enjoy while spending so many hours at the hospital.

The Soaringwords volunteers are highly professional and positive. Lisa Buksbaum, Soaringwords’ CEO & Founder is a strong leader and has a calming presence. Over the years in many instances, I have seen her touch the lives of so many patients and parents, saying the right words or sharing a healing imagery exercise at the most trying times in the hospitalization. Lisa has brought many volunteer delegations to our hospital from local companies. The patients and families appreciate receiving the special SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows with inspirational messages and artwork.
I completely recommend this outstanding program. —Marcia Graham, Child Life Specialist, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center

 

I work with hospitalized children every day. To have the opportunity to engage with patients in this way was so gratifying. At one point I took a moment to watch – staff were laughing, patients were smiling, music was playing and during that moment no one was thinking “I’m in a hospital” or “I’m stressed and have so much to do before I leave.” Everyone was present and joyful, and it didn’t need to be analyzed or assessed.

As a child life specialist, I work directly with pediatric hospitalized patients. One of our goals is to make the hospital experience as positive as possible, which I feel mirrors that of this Soaringwords program so well! What better way to bring joy and smiles than with music and dancing?!? In addition, child life specialists in our hospital train our volunteers. When I was reading the Soaringwords’ Hospital Outreach Volunteer Resource Guide provided for this endeavor, I was very pleasantly surprised. While to some people the information provided may seem like common sense, it is not always the case. Volunteers may not have had any prior experience with hospitals and/or ill children, and the information in this packet was extremely appreciated. There are so many things to be aware of in a hospital setting, be it body language, speech, physical location. Any possible scenario that we try to paint for our volunteers was touched on in this Soaringwords Resource Manual. Hygiene, professional boundaries, and professionalism – I honestly could not find any piece of information that would need to be added. Thank you for putting together such a great resource. You met the needs of the volunteers by inspiring them, while also identifying the needs of the host facility. — Kerri Baker, ZIN™ Member and Certified Child Life Specialist, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI

 

Everyone always enjoys the weekly Soaringwords classes. It can be seen in their smiles, dancing and laughter. Great Instructors! Powerful and Positive music! Encouraging and engaging with sensitivity! Thank you so very much for offering this program here for the patients. It is rewarding to observe. It is a blessing to know that it is offered as part of the healing for these patients. — Linda Goodale, Certified Child Life Specialist, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI

 

Lisa, thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to have this experience on our child psychiatric unit. So many of our children on this Child Psychiatric Unit come from broken homes, neglectful situations and family relationships where there is little to no positive recognition. Having outside people acknowledge our patients and take the time to meet them and offer positive interactions is invaluable. These good impressions will last a lifetime for these children

We are always happy to welcome you into our Children’s National family and we look forward to soaring and zumba’ing with you! The Soaringwords team has the most wonderful positive energy and spirit that truly lifts up the children in our psychiatric unit. The volunteers wear bright colors and always bring an interesting mix of music and styles to share with our patients. Once again the instructors were able to help our patients, families and staffs transcend the hospital experience. We appreciate your flexibility, patience, and enthusiasm that allow us to bring a bit of joy here at the hospital. We are so excited that you are a part of our Children’s National family and we look forward to many other visits soon! — Dana Kristina-Joi Morgan, Performance Coordinator Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services, Children’s National Health System, Washington D.C.

 

I am proud to be the person who brought Soaringwords to our hospital. Each month, since 2012, the Soaringwords + Zumba program has been a great intervention. The children, their families, and our Child Life crew anticipate the joy and laughter each month radiating from the Soaringwords team. We have fully embraced it~ the two ladies visit twice a month with their boom box. We travel room to room inviting the patients to Move with the Grove. The patients, even if they remain in their beds laugh as the Zumba team, family, nurses, and child life staff dance to rocking music! Sometimes the RNs travel with us. We “perform” at the Nurses’ Station for a moment or two to get them dancing and give them a moment of fun. We focus on the most appropriate patients on our PICU, In-Patient Hematology/Oncology Unit and General Pediatrics. The Girls (the hospital professionals on our team) always get a work out and don’t go to the gym that night. It is a way to get the patients moving without them really knowing it. — Ann Nancy Fogel, Child Life Coordinator at Broward Health, formerly Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

Soaringwords + Zumba is amazing! The patients love it. You guys are the best thing that has happened to our program in years. So much appreciated. — Theresa Kelleher, Program Director, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Westchester, NY

Since 2004, our patients, their families, and our professional staff have benefited from Soaringwords lively and wonderful programs. Over the years, many Soaringwords delegations have donated SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows and led expressive arts projects with our patients and families.

For the past five years, we have offered monthly Soaringwords + Zumba = Love for Hospitalized Children classes with hospitalized children and their families. Each program has two parts: first, the Soaringwords team leaders invite patients to create a different expressive arts project such as SoaringHaikus, SoaringSuperheroes, or SoaringGratitude Ladders. These art projects are powerful ice-breakers that inspire our patients to get in touch with their creativity and compassion as they are invited to donate their creations to other patients as part of the Soaringwords pay–it-forward philosophy. The patients are happy to do something fun and interesting that also makes them feel like they have something kind to offer another person.  Once everyone has finished the arts project, the Soaringwords team leads a customized, modified Zumba class that is appropriate for children of all abilities including children with mobility challenges or in wheelchairs.


Our Soaringwords team members are warm, professional and highly skilled. They are licensed to work with children (Zumba Kids) and they also are trained to work with children with physical challenges (Zumba Gold). I’ve seen the Soaringwords visitors treat each patient with enthusiasm, attention and care. We always see positive changes in attitude after the Soaringwords programs. Many family members love having the opportunity to see their children laugh and smile and also to participate in the dance experience or just clap along to the music. Another great benefit of the Soaringwords program is the positive boost it has on the health and wellness of our staff. Many nurses and aides enjoy “de-stressing with Soaringwords.”  It’s always poignant when we get the opportunity to do something fun and “normal” with our patients and their families. I recommend this program highly. — 
Tangi Brownlee, Child Life Specialist, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Ft. Lauderdale, FL    

 

Patients and families love Soaringwords! It is a nice change from our day-to-day activities. It is especially appreciated that the instructors adapt to different abilities. The instructors are always professional while being energetic and fun! I do think it is a nice option for those who may not participate in Zumba to be a part of the Soaringwords’ activities 🙂

The most powerful experience I have witnessed is seeing the instructor adapt for a patient in a wheelchair. This patient wanted to participate but I think felt embarrassed because she was not mobile. Seeing the instructor sit in a chair and instruct that way was truly touching and made all the difference for this patient. The Soaringwords + Zumba instructors who volunteer with Phoenix Children’s are amazing. That is the most consistent feedback I receive 🙂 — Julie Schwarz, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

 

Inova Children’s Hospital is very grateful to partner with Soaringwords to bring joy to the children here.  Soaringwords volunteers bring modified Zumba and crafts to children who are staying in the hospital.  Not only does it bring an activity to the kids, but it brings a whole new energy to the hospital.  The Soaringwords volunteers bring such positive upbeat energy that can really do wonders to change a child’s hospital stay.  We are thankful that Soaringwords has been a part of Inova for so long and we are excited to continue this beautiful partnership. — Jamie Gentille, MPH, CCLS, Director, Child Life Services, Inova Children’s Hospital, Falls Church, VA

 

Patients love the ability to interact with others and dance from their beds (or out of their beds if physical abilities permit). Parents/family members are always extremely grateful for the Soaringwords + Zumba visits and thank the volunteers for coming in. Some patients are shy and just watch while others get very into the visits and ask to do three or four songs. Some of our long-term patients look forward to the visits each month.

Within this past month, a patient who (according to family members) hadn’t gotten out of bed in the past couple days due to physical inability, was so excited about the prospect of dancing that she got out of the bed and attempted to stand on her own to dance. Her family members became emotional because they were so grateful and happy that something had motivated their child to want to get out of bed and try to move. The patient- with help from family members- danced to multiple songs and gave her “Zumba” sticker to her dad upon completion of the dances. — Megan Francis, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Gabby

Gabby Photo 2Gabby missed two years of school during her treatment. Her mother discovered Soaringwords from her job at Johnson & Johnson where we shared Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver webinars and other healing tools for employees and families grappling with serious illness. Soaringwords taught Gabby and her mom about the power of healing imagery in order to help Gabby experience a sense of control. Each morning and night, Gabby and her mom closed their eyes re-enacting the special SoaringImagery that Gabby designed.

 

 

Gabby Photo 1

In this way, Gabby and her mom took an active role in her healing. Gabby wanted to do more to share the power to heal with others.  Each time she went to the oncology clinic for her treatment she brought a different activity – superheroes, haikus and other positive interventions to share with patients and families. This gave her a sense of meaning and purpose and the opportunity to focus on helping others instead of worrying about her condition.

 

 

 

Educational Outreach

Help us bring more love to hospitalized children and their families. Soaringwords community service program have been shared with over 250,000 people in schools, churches, synagogues, community centers and corporations nationwide. To learn more download  Soaringwords’ Educational Outreach letter and one-pager

Soaringwords mission is to embrace hospitalized children, families and staff, encouraging positive health and healing. Soaringwords embraces ill children and their families both in person and online, providing fun, creative and educational modules based on positive psychology concepts that enhance well-being in the midst of illness. Soaringwords is unique because it is the only organization that motivates ill children and their families to “pay it forward” which fosters altruism, reciprocity, empathy, well-being and resilience.

Our most popular activity is decoration of SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows®, which have been delivered to thousands of ill children around the country. Decorated with inspirational messages and artwork, these quilts and pillows help brighten up a child’s hospital room and provide comfort to children who are receiving treatment at home. Decorating quilts and pillows is a fun and an easy activity. There is no sewing involved. All you need are fabric markers to transform your quilts and pillows into personalized, colorful and caring gifts. Soaringwords will help you coordination donation of SoaringQuilts and Pillows to your local hospital. Click here to purchase quilts and pillows to decorate.

Once you receive your SoaringQuilts and Pillows you can friend-raise. We suggest asking your friends, classmate, neighbors for a $5 donation to decorate a patch on the quilt or pillow. The more you raise the more you can give! Other Soaringwords activities include SoaringSuperheroes® and SoaringHaikus®.

Soaringwords activities can be incorporated into:

  • Holiday celebrations
  • Community Service Volunteer initiatives
  • First Holy Communion and other rite of passage celebrations
  • Teen programs, youth groups, senior programs

To bring Soaringwords to your school call 917-499-3783 or email us at heal@soaringwords.org. Please take a moment to watch Soaringwords: The Power to Heal video to experience the energy and excitement of our initiatives in action.

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To see many more photos from Soaringwords Educational Outreach events, click here.

 

Testimonials from Hospital Professionals and Families of Ill Children

The SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows serve as a life line connecting healthy kids to hospitalized children in a personal and meaningful way.  All of the Soaringwords activities — such as creating SoaringFables, SoaringMessages and SoaringGardens – motivate hospitalized and healthy children to create innovative and unique opportunities to connect with other hospitalized patients. –Elizabeth Gombar, Media Relations Specialist, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas

We are extremely excited to be working with such a tremendous program. We believe this new partnership will be extremely helpful for the children cared for at Wishard as well as for the children of the Indianapolis Public School system, many of whom are also our patients. –Dr. Philip Merk, Chief of Pediatrics, Wishard Health Services, and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Indiana School of Medicine, Wishard Health Services

On behalf of the little ones at Texas Children’s Hospital, thank you for the wonderful handmade SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows that were made especially for our patients. They were a wonderful example of love at work. You can see that the backbone of Soaringwords is using positive phrases to inspire the ill children and their families. It was such a pleasure to see all of our volunteers busily visiting with our children and their families. As Soaringwords recognized when a child is ill, his or her entire family is in crisis. Having a soft snuggly blanket helps to make the hospital feel a little more like home and also make the families very happy. In addition, a message is sent to the parents. That message is that people care about their children and are willing to take the time to make their stay in the hospital brighter. Thank you for thinking of our patients. Individuals like you enable us to fulfill our vision: to provide the finest possible pediatric patient care, education and research to all the children who come to us for help. Your interest, encouragement and support are vital to Texas Children’s Hospital and to the ambitious goals we have established. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. –Pat Dolan, Director, Texas Children’s Hospital

On behalf of the doctors and nurses in the Pediatric Emergency Service at The Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian—Weill Cornell Medical Center, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Soaringwords for visiting our unit, and for reading to the children and spending time with them. We also appreciate your beautiful and talented SoaringMurals and art-work filled with warm colors and a bright theme. Caring for a sick or injured child is always a challenge, but being able to share a bit of happiness, and to see the faces of the children light up when they receive attention and care is the greatest gift of all. We wish you and your family the very best. I look forward to working together on similar projects in the future. –Shari L. Platt, MD, Director, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical Center

The SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows serve as a life line connecting healthy kids to hospitalized children in a personal and meaningful way. These beautiful red and white patchworks quilts and pillows transform a cold and sterile hospital bed into a cozy and warm place for ill kids. –Michelle Brauntuch, President of the Child Life Council of Greater New York and the Child Life specialist at Englewood Hospital

We would like to thank you and the wonderful children who came to visit the patients yesterday. The quilts and pillows were thoughtful and the patients loved them. I know the children are grateful for you taking the time to put together an event like this. The children who decorated them should be proud of their work. Thank you again. –Rechelle Bonaparte and Jennifer Ricca, Child Life Specialists, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center

My name is Deniese Alejandro and am the auntie of 5 day old UCSF cardio ICU patient Shaun Sasser.  I was asked to contact you by his parents Ericka Sasser and David Rios.  They truly appreciate the quilt that was donated to Shaun this week.  Ericka called me crying trying to express how thoughtful this was and wondered how she could tell your organization thank you from the bottom of their hearts!  I told her I would look you up and I found you.  So thank you again and we all look forward to learning more about your organization. –Deniese Alejandro, Ericka Sasser, David Rios and Shaun Sasser

Hello.  My daughter is 13 and is at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.  Today is her third day here and she really wants to go home.  Then, a lady appeared with this beautifully soft quilt asking if my daughter wanted one.  She loves it and said “I feel so loved.”  She really loves the drawings and how soft the material is…  So do I. I want to thank you very much for helping my daughter make it through this ordeal.  She is being diagnosed with epilepsy while here and we have a long row to hoe, as they say. She will always have this quilt to remember something good coming from here! –Best wishes, Louise

 

Testimonials from Educators and Youth Leaders

This project is a dream come true for the staff and students of the Indianapolis Public Schools. One of the most important aspects of educating our future leaders is the importance of civic responsibility. The Soaringwords projects will definitely support our effort to take our desire to educate the whole child to a higher level. We want to sincerely thank Eli Lilly and Company for providing such a worthwhile experience for our children. –Dr. Li-Yen Johnson, IPS Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education

Today, our staff and students were exposed to a plethora of compassion, joy and pain. We were blessed by the knowledge that hope and laughter are possible in the face of despair. It is clear that Soaringwords has a far-reaching impact upon its recipients. Just as immeasurable is the way our hearts have felt the joy that only comes from giving a gift from the soul. –Thank you, Rosa Blanch, Principal at P.S. 152

A great theologian once said, “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” When I think of this quote, I think of the students at Intermediate School 528. As an educator for many years, I have never witnessed the love of life and the desire to help others as I did from my students today. I am extremely proud to be the Principal of such a warm, sensitive, considerate and caring group of young men and women. Through this experience, I am confident that each student has gained a greater understanding of the power of healing. I would like to sincerely thank Soaringwords and the A&E Networks for allowing my students and staff to have been part of such a wonderful and poignant event. Prior to your visit, my students and staff were excited at the prospect of making a difference in the lives of others. As we have all grown through this experience, we look forward to continuing to participate with Soaringwords in the “Power to Heal.” –Sincerely, Ms. Norma M. Pérez, Principal at I.S. 528

On behalf of the students and staff of the Stuyvesant High School site of the Manhattan Occupational Training Center/ P721M, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Soaringwords. During your visit each student was given the opportunity to create page for the Soaringwords website. Students were told that their work would be used to cheer children and their families who are coping with long term illness. It was really exciting for each student to receive a Soaringwords Certificate of Appreciation and have their photo taken with their artwork and messages and the awards. Since our students have developed disabilities and multiple physical challenges, your participation with them on that day provided these young adults with a rare opportunity to be the source of inspiration rather than the recipients. All of us look forward to seeing some of their work on your website and I know that they will be proud to know that they helped make other children feel better. We thank you for sharing your wonderful program with our school. We hope that you continue to stay in contact with our students. –Neil Coffina, Program Coordinator, Manhattan Occupational Training Center/ P721M

I learned that when you help sick children feel better, you get this happy emotion that never leaves you. –Narabs A, Age 10, Hudson County Boys and Girls Club

Becoming a SoaringAuthor made me feel kind of the same way Martin Luther King Jr. must have felt when he made all that change in the world. I hope that our fable will make the ill kids in the hospital feel stronger and give them tons of self-esteem. –Alieyah, Age 11, Indianapolis Public School

I hope that my haiku makes the children in the hospital know that they are not alone and that other kids are thinking about them and care so much for them. Everyone in my group got along and listened to each other’s ideas because we all wanted to make our haiku really special. –Airiyonna, Age 10, Indianapolis Public School

Soaringwords rocks. When I was 3 years old I had a heart transplant and had to live in the hospital for a long time. Now that I am in High School, I feel proud helping other kids feel hopeful. I like making SoaringMurals and other cool things to give to kids in the hospitals. It makes me feel like I can actually help another person. –Sean, Age 14 , Soaringwords Youth Leader

SoaringChampions

 

 

 

SoaringChampions

Since 2000, Soaringwords has been honored to meet and collaborate with many outstanding individuals who embraced Soaringwords’ mission and helped us accomplish great things to help hospitalized children to “Never give up!”  We call these people SoaringChampions because they have enabled us to SOAR.
Thank you, we love you, and are so grateful for your significant contributions. 
Lisa, Greta and the Soaringwords team 

 

 

Tacia Williams

Dazzling and radiant, Tacia Williams has been volunteering at Soaringwords for the past seven months since we met her at the global Zumba® Fitness Convention. Tacia has led weekly Soaringwords Educational Outreach program at PS 84 in NYC. She has made valuable contributions to our Soaringwords curricula and shown real leadership as part of the Soaringwords social media team. Tacia is conducting Soaringwords’ empirical researcher at Lincoln Medical Center. Tacia has completed her masters in Psychology at New York University.

Thomas Estler

 

Thomas shares with the Soaringwords community how his engagement with radical nutrition and willfulness helped him overcome a chronic condition which prevented him from leaving his bed for thee years. For the past ten years, Thomas has been part of the Soaringwords team sharing the Soaringwords + Zumba collaboration with more than 2,000 Zumba® Instructors in 62 countries. Thomas is a whirling dervish; whether darting through the gyms of many inner-city schools to lead Soaringwords’ Youth Leadership programs, or joining the Soaringwords team on four healing missions to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina where Thomas danced on a picnic table, Thomas is a well-loved, humble leader. He also lead workshops in hospitals, and represented Soaringwords at JetBlue events at JFK. At school dance programs, he is a rock star. Fourth and fifth-graders gather around him and follow his every step. Favorite Soaringwords moments: when children share their own creative dance moves inspired by Thomas.

 

 

 

 

Ellen Bari

 

Over the years, Ellen has  ‘rolled up her sleeves’ to help Soaringwords soar, whether it was getting down on her knees to organize the office,  making a mess with markers with a group of New York City kids, or trekking  out to New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina for much needed programs. Ellen’s creativity, insight and humor shine through in the seminal Soaringwords integrated arts curriculum she helped us develop, which has been used in hundreds of schools all across the country.  Favorite Soaringwords moment: discovering that some college students had decorated the Soaringwords quilts with interactive games.

 

Caroline Kohles

 

Caroline helped transform Times Square into Soaringwords largest dance jam for Make A Difference Day. She also led the first Soaringwords Nia dance jam with students at P.S 152 and cheered as we shared jams in 30 states. She brings her unique philosophy of “dancing through life” to inspire kids and grown-ups to move with the body’s way.

Liz Eisen, Sam Dworkin and Natalie Dworkin

This family has been a strong supporter of many of the Soaringwords museum initiatives. Sam and Natalie are featured in the SoaringMuseums videos. Sam has volunteered at many community events in the JCC and schools throughout the city. For two years, Sam and Natalie led several volunteer projects as their bar and bat mitzvah community service commitment.

Amber Nevens

Amber has taken on many huge volunteer projects such as managing our office move and helping us organize for volunteer projects. For years she was the Soaringwords team captain for New York Cares.  She brings light and joy to all of the volunteers programs she leads.

Beth Zagoria

Beth is a talented Creative Director who has added style, passion and great design to many Soaringwords offerings including the Soaringwords webinar presentation (What to Say or Do to Support Parents with Seriously Ill Children), and fliers and posters for all of our events.  She’s also helped direct several SoaringMuseums videos.

Alex Shear

We met Alex at the JetBlue Airways’ Light Up A Life program, where he volunteered for five straight days, eight hour shifts each day. At River to River Festival, Fashion Week or school programs, Alex’s love of people pulls everyone into the cause and inspires them to do something fun to help ill children and families to “Never give up!”

Mark Kershisnik

Global Head of Research, Eli Lilly & Company, Soaringwords Board Member 2005-2015
Mark has been a SoaringChampion, bringing the organization into the Lilly culture and enabling it to secure significant funding for initiatives that were enjoyed by 1,500 4th and 5th grade students in Indianapolis. Together the children made SoaringFables, SoaringHaikus, SoaringSuperheroes, and SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows that were shared with hospitalized children. This initiative won the Chairman’s Award for Community Service. Photo caption: far left Mark at the Lilly holiday party with 2,000 employees and families participating in Soaringwords service project.

 

Dr. Linda Breskin

Linda is a tireless champion who led events in Indianapolis and New Orleans. She is a skilled therapist and advocate for children. Linda was on the Soaringwords Board of Directors from 2007-2009. Photo caption: far left Linda volunteering at Soaringwords – JetBlue’s Light Up A Life event at JFK Airport, where thousands of travelers were delighted to decorate a patch on a SoaringQuilt® to cheer hospitalized children.

 

Icema Gibbs

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue Airways.
Icema is a big picture strategist and generous SoaringChampion. For four years, Soaringwords was honored to be the not-for-profit partner for the annual JetBlue holiday season Light Up a Life campaign. Thousands of JetBlue Crewmembers decorated SoaringQuilts® to donate to hospitalized children throughout North America and the Caribbean. 

 

 

Gina Rauscher

Soaringwords Board Member 2009-2012
Gina worked as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at JetBlue Airway and learned about Soaringwords through Corporate Volunteers NY (CVNY). Gina introduced us to the JetBlue CSR team and we grew the collaboration from ten Blue Cities to 65 cities over the course of four years. Soaringwords was the most well-attended and well-loved crewmember volunteer project ever and the SoaringQuilts® were donated to thousands of patients and families. Photo caption: right side Gina with JetBlue Crewmembers visiting children at Jamaica Hospital.

 

 

Jeffrey Russell 

Senior Managing Director – Products North America Chief Executive, Accenture
Soaringwords Board Member 2012-2015
Jeffrey helped Soaringwords become the hands-on employee-engagement not-for-profit partner at the Global Partnership meeting; and Accenture Day of Service Days at Accenture Federal Services in DC; and employee engagement programs in Philadelphia.

 

Graham Allan

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Cisco
Soaringwords Board Member 2011-2015
As SoaringChampion, Graham is responsible for overseeing Soaringwords’ office donation at Cisco’s NorthEast Headquarters at 1 Penn Plaza, in New York City. Lisa Buksbaum met Randy Pond, Cisco’s COO, when she won a Global Growing with Technology Award . She was then invited to be the opening inspirational keynote speaker John Chamber’s Take Your Child to Work Day Town Hall meeting for 2,000 employees and family members. Since then, Soaringwords has led many employee engagement programs with Cisco employees in San Jose, NYC, St. Louis and other markets. 

 

 

Patricia David

Global Chief Diversity Officer, JPMorgan Chase
Soaringwords Board Chairperson 2010-2014
Pat and Lisa knew each other for many years from the Working Mother Media Women of Color/Diversity Best Practices Conferences. Pat joined the Board and Soaringwords started sharing employee engagement initiatives as part of the JPMorgan Chase Volunteer Leadership Group programs, which grew from three markets to fifteen.

Carolin Fermin

Since 2002, Soaringwords has been honored to share monthly employee engagement programs with hundreds of New York Life employees. The New York Life employees love making crafts projects such as SoaringOrigami, SoaringWishBoxes, SoaringGardens, SoaringTotes and many more to donate to hospitalized children. Soaringwords has been honored to be the not-for-profit partner for New York Life’s Take Your Child to Work Day and for the Month of Service programs. Photo caption: Carolin was the honoree at the Soaringwords Soiree in December, 2014 at Basketball City.

 

Sam Moed

Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Analysis, Bristol-Myers Squibb 
You never forget your first supporter. Sam has the distinction of giving Soaringwords its first-ever seed grant ($7,500) in the launch year. Thanks Sam.

Stephen Shulman, David Lee and Kwan Kehler

 

 

Thanks to brilliant SoaringChampions our pro-bono legal counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP who have secured dozens of Soaringwords trademarks and given us legal advice over the years. Thank you for transforming our trademark ideas into reality which enables us to launch more successful initiatives to benefit hospitalized children.

 

 

Mark Goldberg, CPA and Gary Felix, CPA

Raphael Sanders Goldberg Nikpour & Cohen CPA’s
As our pro-bono Accounting firm, SoaringChampions Mark and Gary keep Soaringwords’ finances in order and also provide superior business counsel. 

Moishe Grun

Copywriter and SoaringChampion.
Moishe created Soaringwords’ theme line, “The Power to Heal” which has served the organization since 2000.  We salute Moishe for this contribution and think of him each day, and miss him dearly. May his memory be for a blessing.

 

Jane Dutton

Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at University of Michigan Ross School of Business; CompassionLab

SoaringChampion, Positive Psychology BFF to Lisa, and world leader in Compassion, Jane has made many contributions to Soaringwords. Watch a conversation with Jane Dutton and Soaringwords’ Founder Lisa Buksbaum talking about how High Quality Connections can infuse each day with meaning and well-being, even in the midst of serious illness and other setbacks. Learn how strangers and hospital employees, other patients and family members can provide High Quality Connections that last for a few seconds and have a lasting impact.

 

 

Award-winning Employee-Engagement Programs

Award-winning Employee-Engagement Programs

Below is Soaringwords’ Credentials Deck, which you can also click here, featuring our offerings and accomplishments. In addition, you can read selected Case Studies from Leading companies who have supported Soaringwords over the years. 

Soaringwords’ mission is to inspire ill children and their families to take active roles in self-healing. Each year, 22 million children in the U.S. suffer from chronic or serious illness. Soaringwords is unique as the only organization to motivate ill children and families to “pay it forward” to help others. When a child does something kind for another child, it accelerates their transformative healing.

SOARING INTO STRENGTH: THE NEW SCIENCE APPROACH TO HELP HEAL 

After inspiring thousands of children to take active roles in their own healing, Soaringwords codified its unique approach into a scientific model to enhance the well-being of ill children and teens, families and caregivers. This evidence-based model has been tested among hundreds of hospitalized children and teens nationwide. The SOARING model consists of seven components based on positive psychology concepts:

  • Shifting: Creating shifts in your attitude, your body and overall well-being.  
  • Optimism: Choosing to notice and celebrate good things even when times are difficult or painful.
  • Altruism: Gaining a sense of control by sharing your creativity, kindness, strengths and hope with others.
  • Resiliency: Flourishing even in difficult times.
  • Imagery: Connecting to your inner knowledge to heal through imagery exercises.
  • Narrative: Sharing the power of storytelling, reading and writing positive stories.
  • Gratitude: Recognizing and celebrating moments of appreciation.

The SOARING interventions, workshops and trainings do not employ medical jargon and can be enjoyed by children and adults, inviting everyone to take active roles in healing and developing their own sense of self-worth and belonging.

 

Soaringwords’ Employee-Engagement

Research shows that people are personally engaged when helping others. Soaringwords’ best in class employee volunteer experiences have been shared with more than 140,000 professionals at leading companies. It was consistently rated “most satisfying program ever” by 98% of program participants. All programs are turn-key, globally replicable and meaningful. 

Soaringwords is considered a best-practice partner by Diversity and Inclusion, Work/Life, and Community Relations Managers. Its programs have been benchmarked by many Fortune 500 companies including Accenture, American Express, Cisco Systems, Deloitte, Eli Lilly and Company, Facebook, Google, JetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, New York Life, Verizon, and Viacom.

  • Won Chairman’s Award Eli Lilly & Company
  • Won Chairman’s Award BNY Mellon
  • Featured in Met Life Foundation Annual Report, Viacom Annual CSR Report

Here is a Soaringwords Employee Engagement 1-page summary and a detailed letter to share with colleagues.

Soaringwords Corporate Programs:

  • Company-wide service days
  • Diversity initiatives
  • Dept.-wide Team-Building Initiatives (on and off site)
  • Keynotes
  • Take Your Child to Work Day
  • Summer associate programs
  • New hire programs
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Workshops for employees and families

Benefits of Soaringwords Programs:

  • Tangible opportunities for volunteer participants to make a difference in the local community. 
  • Turn-key, with little preparation time required of your staff. Train the trainer modules for team leads.
  • High visibility: can generate press coverage and goodwill for your company and community partners.
  • Proven educational modules:  lesson plans, hand-out materials, and educational videos.
  • Soaringwords content was developed in collaboration with top educators at Bank Street College of Education and Teacher’s College at Columbia University.
  • 52 comprehensive activities e.g. SoaringHaikus®, SoaringSuperheroes®, SoaringNutrition®.
  • Flexible modules from 30-90 minutes, 1-6 hours, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.
  • Professional project management.

Soaringwords Workshops-Webinars give employees valuable information, tips and insights to learn how to navigate when they, their families, or their co-workers face the challenges of illness. Soaringwords workshops include companion workbooks with immersive learning and hands-on exercises. The workshops are easy to understand with no medical jargon. Each workshop will  appeal to your diverse workforce – examples will showcase cultural diversity as well as a cross section of employees, from hourly workers to executives. Each workshop lasts 1 hour. Here is a Soaringwords Workshops-Webinars 2 page letter, which includes Lisa Buksbaum’s bio.

Workshops include:

  • Shifting: Creating Positive Transformations in Your Attitude, Body, and Overall Well-being
  • Optimism: Finding Good Things To Notice and Celebrate, Even When Times Are Difficult
  • Altruism: Gaining A Sense Of Control, Calm, and Purpose by Sharing Your Creativity, Kindness, and Hope With Others
  • Resilience: Overcoming the Seven Thinking Traps
  • Imagery: Tap Into Your Inner Knowledge to Heal
  • Narrative: The Power of Storytelling, Writing, and Reading
  • Gratitude: Building a Gratitude Fortress
  • Character Strengths: Discover and Amplify Your Unique Strengths
  • What to Say and Do to Support Families of Seriously Ill Children or Special Needs Children or Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver
  • Positive Psychology Master Class: Tools You Can Use
  • Post Traumatic Growth

“The Soaringwords webinar was a big success with 100% of participants giving it the highest ratings. Soaringwords provided practice insights that will help employees support co-workers, friends, and their own families.” -Wendy Breiterman, Director, Global Work/Life Strategies, Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Johnson & Johnson

 

Soaringwords Priority Sponsorship Options

Soaringwords’ Expressive Arts Projects

Educational Activity Modules with hands-on extension activities have already been shared with more than 250,000 patients and families. More than 140,000 professionals at leading companies have participated in these hands-on pro-social activities which include, but are not limited to

  • SoaringSuperheroes®—Children create superhero artwork and messages to donate to others.
  • SoaringFables®—Children tap into the healing power of positive storytelling.
  • SoaringMuseums®— Soaringwords’ videos take kids to virtual museum visits (such as the Met and MOMA) with pay-it forward activities.

 

SOARINGWORDS’ HEALING TOOLS: SoaringQuilts® & SoaringPillows®

Soaringwords’ most popular healing tools are SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows®. Quilts and pillows transform a child’s hospital room, serving as a focal point for doctors and nurses to comment on the special gifts and remind patients that they are not alone.

Quilts and pillows have been decorated with inspirational messages and artwork by more than 140,000 employee volunteers. When companies hire Soaringwords for successful turn-key Employee Engagement programs it includes an Inspirational Talk, hands-on pro-social project – decorating quilts and pillows, Closing Sharing Circle. Funding from these programs has supported the organization. (There’s no sewing involved—Soaringwords ships the quilts and pillows already assembled.)

 

SOARINGWORDS + ZUMBA® FITNESS Collaboration

60 teams of licensed Zumba® Fitness instructors from around the world lead free monthly classes in pediatric hospitals with Soaringwords’ expressive arts activities.

 

Soaringwords’ Social Media

More than 100 top positive psychology practitioners have committed to be featured in Soaringwords’ videos and podcasts. Sponsored advertising will allow us to continue to share this inspirational content. Various packages are available. 

Soaringwords’ video library includes:

  • Angela Duckworth—Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  • Richard Tedeschi—Post-traumatic Growth
  • Barbara Fredrickson—Incorporating Positivity & Love Into Each Day 
  • Jane Dutton—Compassion and High Quality Connections
  • Shane Lopez—Making Hope Happen

 

Soaringwords’ Empirical Research Study 

A global study to measure the impact of positive interventions to enhance the well-being of hospitalized children—creation and donation of a SoaringSuperhero® or participation in a customized Zumba class. This study is an extension of Lisa’s Master’s Thesis that increases the sample from 220 hospitalized children to a targeted goal of more than 2,000 pediatric patients, additional hospital sites and an expanded global reach. We are actively seeking a sponsor for this empirical study to be published in a leading scientific journal and presented at International Scientific Conferences.

Thesis: Scholarly Commons: Soaringwords Empirical Research to Measure the Well-being of Hospitalized Children under the Internal Review Board (IRB) at the University of Pennsylvania

 

SOARINGWORDS’ ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Empirically-based Positive Psychology Interventions 

  • National empirical research study among 250 pediatric patients (Soaringwords Empirical Research to Measure the Well-being of Hospitalized Children, University of Pennsylvania, 2013)
  • 10 month empirical study among at-risk youth (2013, 2014).

Recognized Subject Content Expert

  • Lisa Buksbaum has appeared on Good Morning America, Fortune Small Business, USA Today, Delta Sky Magazine, Success Magazine and dozens of newspapers.
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy Charity of Choice feature, (February, 2006).
  • Lisa has presented at the International Positive Psychology Conference 2015, 2013; European Positive Psychology Conference 2016, 2014; Canadian Positive Psychology Conference 2016, 2014; Kripalu Whole Being Institute Positive Psychology Summit, 2017.
  • Lisa has been the inspirational keynote at The Women of Color Conference; Accenture Global Partner Meeting; Johnson & Johnson Global IT Town Hall; Verizon National Leadership meeting; UnitedHealth Care; American Express; Working Mother Diversity Conference; Columbia University BRITE Conference; NYU Stern School of Business Entrepreneurship Conference.

Best in-class NGO Partner

More than 140,000 professionals gave top ratings at leading firms including Accenture, American Express, Cisco, CVS Caremark, Eli Lilly, Facebook, Google, JetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, NY Life, Verizon and Viacom.

Financials

  • $15 Million in-kind donations
  • $2 Million revenue from employee-engagement initiatives, foundations and individual donations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporate Testimonials

The Soaringwords event was such a wonderful experience and a great way to feel as if I really made a difference. It was a really nice reality check, because we often get caught up in the day-to-day workings of the business and forget about the “bigger picture.” The entire team loved working with the school children and doing something so relaxing. It created a strong bond between the employees and made us feel good about our company too. Soaringwords is a fantastic organization. –Lauren Dardick, American Express Soaringwords Volunteer Team Leader

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Soaringwords Hospital Outreach mission at Beth Israel Hospital.  We delivered pillows and blankets to over a dozen sick children. Many of the children were left at the hospital alone because their parents were working and had nothing in their hospital rooms to bring them comfort, so you can imagine how excited the children were when we arrived with the Soaringwords gifts.  It was clear that we made the children feel special by helping them realize that other people were thinking about them and were sending them love and support.  The experience was incredibly rewarding. —Maria Bashian, Senior Manager in Establishment Services, American Express

Lilly has over 500 employees tutoring children in the ReadUP program. Incorporating Soaringwords curricula and hands-on activities teaches children how to use their literary skills by giving to others. It’s a great feeling to give school children an opportunity to incorporate such a powerful social action project into their lives and to give our employees a powerful way to connect with each other and children in the community. –Sherrie Bossung, Manager of Corporate Brand and Volunteer Strategy, Eli Lilly and Company
 

131 Accenture professionals and 75 high school students from the local Boys & Girls Club in Elgin decorated 100 SoaringQuilts® and 100 SoaringPillows® with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to patients and families at St. Alexis Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House
This was a great way of helping the ill children. I have kids myself and have had experience with illness so I appreciate a lot of these initiatives. The kids on my team spoke Spanish, like I do.  It was a great activity to do with the kids. Our team worked really well, we all did parts of the drawings together. I think the hospitalized children will feel fantastic, some time to not be thinking about their bad situations.  Today changed the way I think about myself as I was able to take a step back from the high speed we live in and be part of a great initiative.  – Hendrik J. Van Vliet, Accenture employee 


On behalf of the hundreds of employees who attended the Soaringwords webinar, please accept our sincere thanks for an outstanding learning experience for all who attended. I have received many positive comments about the webinar from attendees and the relevance of the content to both their professional and personal lives. It has been heartwarming to hear how employees have been able to apply some of the perspectives provided during the session to enhance their level of interaction with co-workers to foster an even greater sense of community here at Northrop Grumman. We take pride in the strong level of camaraderie that exists within our organization and the “What to Say/Do to Support Co-Workers and Family Members with Serious Illness” webinar delivered suggestions for actions and behaviors that are closely aligned with our core values. Additionally, the content had strong carryover to the work that we are doing in our communities and provided practical advice for us to provide support within our own families.

Based on the positive and unanimous response from employees, we want to invite you to share Soaringwords initiatives with our leadership team during the next national Corporate Citizenship Council meeting. This will be a wonderful opportunity to encourage our managers from across our corporation to integrate Soaringwords hands-on employee volunteer initiatives with employees nationwide in the months ahead. We continue to receive positive feedback about the webinar and employees who were on the call continue to share the information with employees who were not on the call—a real tribute to the high caliber of the content, your delivery and importance of the topic. The lead for our national employee resource group for new employees (includes thousands of members across the country) said it was the “best” lunchtime seminar he has attended. Thanks again to you and Cisco for the delivery of a high impact webinar that has enabled our employees to enhance our connections at work, at home and in our communities. –Debbie Edwards Veihdeffer, Director, Work-Life Integration, Human Resources Strategic Initiatives, Northrop Grumman


The Cisco NYC Civic Council has sponsored Soaringwords initiatives for our management employees on site and also invited employees to mentor inner-city children as part of the Soaringwords Educational Outreach programs. During the past year, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa Buksbaum, Soaringwords CEO and to supporting Soaringwords during this time of significant growth.

Often it seems as if it is virtually impossible to get our team of Cisco professionals to pull themselves away from their Blackberries and meetings to do something for the community or for them. We tend to work a lot at Cisco. The Soaringwords events were truly remarkable in that the professionals who came were able to focus on the Soaringwords team-building programs and really connect with co-workers when the events were internal… and able to mentor inner-city children and share with employees when we went to local schools.

As the Civic Council liaison, I truly appreciate that Soaringwords gave us all of the tools to recruit employees to sign up and ran the entire event, providing all of the logistics. Soaringwords provides the entire program-in-a-box so you can have a great program and not spent hours putting it together.” —Lynley Noviello, Regional Manager and Soaringwords NYC Civic Council team co-captain, Cisco Systems

Your Soaringwords presentation and hands-on team-building activity made this year’s Take Our Children to Work Day soar. Your inspirational keynote was incredible, you could hear the silence in the giant tent as 2,000 kids and employees listened to your every word. I was thrilled to see over 600 participants coming together in community to decorate the quilts and pillows in the Soaringwords activities. It was beautiful to see such camaraderie and enthusiasm as Cisco employees and children came together for such a great cause. —Jennifer Mitchell, Corporate Events Manager, Cisco Systems

At the 2010 Working Mother Best Companies for Multicultural Women Conference, I met Lisa Honig Buksbaum, CEO and Founder of Soaringwords.  Lisa and I hit it off instantly during a break and we exchanged business cards.  Her passion for her organization was contagious and I knew I wanted to find some way to work with her in the future.  Post meeting, we spoke periodically and when the time came for me to plan a networking event for my Finance/Program Management/Global Procurement department this May, I felt that there was nothing that would be more meaningful than having the department bond over creating beautiful quilts and pillows to bring to ill children in local hospitals. We held this event on May 17, 2011 and 250 colleagues together with the help of the Soaringwords team created 150 quilts and 150 pillows working together at four sites globally (Raritan, NJ, Spring House, PA, Beerse, Belgium and High Wycombe, UK).  We have since made hospital visits to deliver these to the children, which as a mother both broke and touched my heart. My colleagues and I have enormously benefitted from this experience and one which I will continue to treasure.  –Andrea Rose-Legatt, MBA, PMP, Sr. Director, Business Solutions, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, LLC

Soaringwords has been part of the Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks initiative for the past five years. During this time, Lisa has nurtured the relationship and grown it from the first volunteer experience with 15 employees in NYC, to sharing Soaringwords initiatives with hundreds of employees in five different offices this past summer. From NY, Jersey City, to Chicago and Atlanta, Lisa and Soaringwords has motivated our professionals to do something meaningful to help ill children. Soaringwords programs are easy to layer into our existing relationships with Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and many local schools and hospitals.

When we shared Soaringwords programs with hundreds of children in multiple offices at the Goldman Sachs “Take Our Children to Work” day experience two years ago there was total silence in the room. Imagine the energy and excitement as hundreds of children applauded after the Soaringwords DVD finished and they knew that they could spend the next hour being a healing agent for a hospitalized child. —Marilyn Duffy Grande, Community TeamWorks Program Manager, Goldman Sachs

Our exposure to Soaringwords was inspirational and for many, the highlight of our conference. On behalf of our 150 Network Engineering management employees, I wanted to thank you for the outstanding keynote speech you gave at the Verizon Leadership Conferences. Our team was greatly impacted by your personal story of heroism, success and dedication. You are both an excellent speaker and role model. Your facilitation of the conference community service activity of decorating pillows and quilts, with hundreds of children from the Boys and Girls Clubs, allowed our managers to experience leadership at a new level. (In our telecommunications engineering work, we typically don’t receive such immediate or tangible feedback!) Our Verizon employees were very rewarded by the kids’ smiles and to know that our handiwork will bring comfort and joy to hospitalized children. The employees loved seeing the Soaringwords Verizon Program on TV and in the full page article in the Herald Tribune. —Anne Cortissoz, Director of Network Engineering, Verizon 

The Soaringwords Community Impact Day was incredible. The 300 Deloitte professionals loved mentoring the 355 children from PS 152. Everything was so professional and well-orchestrated. From the opening ceremony, to the actual SoaringQuilts and Pillows project, to the closing award ceremony where every student received a certificate … it was a powerful team-building experience for all of our employees and the students. The hospital visit and having the opportunity to give hundreds of patients a gift from our hearts made the day complete. Thanks for such a tremendous and wonderful experience. —John Murtha, Manager, Community Impact Day, Deloitte 

MetLife has shared Soaringwords initiatives with our employees since 2004. Last year, over 300 MetLife employees in six offices around the country enjoyed being part of Soaringwords for Make a Difference Day. This year, I emailed the team captains in eight offices and within 24 hours over 1,015 employees had signed up to participate with Soaringwords. We featured the Soaringwords New Orleans Healing Mission in our Foundation Annual Report and we delighted to have MetLife employees from the region deliver the quilts and pillows to children and families at the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. This is an organization that is professional, personable, innovative and delivers tremendous take-home value for our employees. They also make it a pleasure for me to manage these programs since they are pros. —Mavel Jones, Program Manager, MetLife Foundation


Draw

Make a Fun Drawing

SoaringSuperheroes(R) Your Superhero can be anything you want! Your superhero can make an ill child smile and feel comforted.

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SoaringArtists(R) Art has the power to heal. I am inviting you to become a Soaring Artist® and share your creative artwork with hospitalized children.

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SoaringQuilt(R) & SoaringPillow(R) You can help transform a child’s bed by adding a cozy, colorful quilt and pillow decorated with special messages and artwork.

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