Synagogues and Hebrew Schools

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0

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.

 Soaringwords  programs deliver meaningful social action experiences for synagogues and hebrew schools which benefit hospitalized children in the U.S. and in Israel. Soaringwords community service programs have been shared with over 250,000 people in classrooms, sanctuaries, community centers, schools and corporations nationwide. Soaringwordsalso links youth around the world to hospitalized children in Israel. This initiative was launched two weeks after the Passover bombing in 2002. To date, it has supported 11,000 hospitalized children in Israel. Soaringwords informal Jewish educational experiences include Bikur Cholim (healing the sick) and Tikkun Olam (healing the world), discussion guides and hands-on community service activities for all age ranges.

 

 

bikur cholim video 1280×720 from Soaringwords on Vimeo.

These experiences can be incorporated into:

  • Social Action Committee and outreach projects/Mitzvah days
  • Bar and bat-mitzvah projects (Click here to download flier)
  • Teen, youth and senior programs
  • Singles and family programs
  • Israel missions
  • Scholar in residence programs
  • Sisterhood/Women’s programming
  • Israel Fairs

Soaringwords provides turn-key programs which are easy to implement. We coordinate the logistics and manage the project, providing the fliers, detailed program guidelines, all supplies and much more. Our most popular programs include SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows®,  SoaringMurals®, SoaringFables®, SoaringSuperheroes® and SoaringHaikus®.   Soaringwords will also help you coordinate the delivery of these gifts to a local or Israeli hospital. An inspirational keynote speaker can be provided to augment these activities. To bring Soaringwords to your school, call 646.674.7105 or email us at heal@soaringwords.org.  

8 Israel-Day-Parade 6

4 1-e1265144471480 19

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

Soaringwords in the News:

The Jewish Week
Life Styles Article

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 andnurses 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 andI 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:

I wanted to thank you for all your support. Bringing Soaringwords to our Community Hebrew High School was such a positive move. Not only did our students learn about the Jewish response to visiting the sick but also your curriculum andpersonal involvement brought a sensitivity that engendered greater empathy for the hospital-bound. Your curriculum was easy to follow and the use of varied methodologies kept our students’ interest. Many had learned about the mitzvah to visit the sick but never studied how to fulfill it. Your list of quotes and sources made this easy. The students easily engaged in exploring these sources and shared their thoughts with each other. They clearly got it! It was not easy planning the finale with 250 students making pillows and quilts but you saw how organized everything was and how invested our eleventh and twelfth graders were. We even had sets made with Hebrew wording! I could see how proud they were. Because there was a way to help, they felt they were making a small difference in the lives of the children who would re receiving these items. They were pleased to put their learning into action. Than you for being with us every step of the way. You and Joan Kaganwere great in shepherding us through this wonderful experience. You made a profound difference, not only in educating people but also in creating a community of more sensitive mitzvah doers. Wishing you and your staff continued success as you continue this holy work. –Diane Berg, RJE, Director of Education, Temple Beth El Religious School

The Soaringwords program was a special and unique highlight of the 92nd Street Teens Giving experience. The children loved being leaders and having the opportunity to decorate the quilts and pillows and perform a mitzvah in such a creative and personal way. This was also a terrific way for our teens to be able to mentor younger children and do something positive for hospitalized children. Soaringwords is a great entry point to share Jewish perspectives and values of bikkor cholim and chesed with children from all backgrounds who may not have learned about the Jewish connection to these practices. Thanks for sharing Soaringwords with the 92nd Street Y community. –Fretta Reitzes, Director, Goldman Center for Youth & Family

Over the past three years I have had numerous opportunities to bring my students into the lives of hospitalized children. At first we were all a bit scared of doing this important mitzvah, because being in the presence of seriously ill children is painful. All of the students visited with ill patients and presented SoaringMurals to the NY Weill Hospital. Soaringwords runs an annual SoaringLights for Chanukahprogram where ninth graders mentor second graders. Soaringwords has worked with the High School community inspiring the teens to create Soaring Joke Books and Soaring Flip Books to donate to hospitalized children at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Many of my students have chosen Soaringwords for their bar and bat mitzvah community service projects. They are proud to bring something they learned in school to all of their family and friends at their celebration. These projects include decorating quilts andpillows to send to hospitalized kids in Israel and New York, creating murals for hospitals in America and Israel, creating messages and artwork, and decorating T shirts and hats for hospitalized kids. –Shoshana Jedwab, Middle School Jewish Studies Coordinator, Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School

Thank you for sharing the Soaringwords Hillel Birthright Israel tzedek program with our patients. I know that the quilts and pillows touched hundreds of families with kindness and joy. Many newborns will be going home wrapped in the beautiful red and white blankets with such nice words of hope. Many of our patients do not have money to buy these items—those lovely gifts will be so very appreciated. Our pediatric patients often do not get a lot of visitors. The quilts, pillows and messages meant so much to them. Thank you and the students at Hillel’s Birthright Israel program for choosing our patients for this special project. –Sincerely, Becky Perez, Hadassah Medical Center

Thanks for introducing a wonderful program to us, it was a great pleasure taking part in the program and meeting you in Israel. Many people say things and comment about things but never really do anything about it. The Soaringwords program is the opposite: it gives people of all ages the opportunity to give back to a community that has given them so much in the best way, a loving way. Not everyone likes to draw or be artsy but this program is slightly more, as not only are you creating the product but you are given the opportunity to distribute it andsee what a difference it makes to people. When a total stranger turns around and says, “We are thinking of you” and “you are not alone” this is the most rewarding feeling in the world. This is a great program and everyone should want to take part in it. –Gary Wolff, Director of Student Leadership, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach

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

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

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