Making Hope Happen with
Dr. Shane Lopez

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Hope matters. The author of Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others shares important tools.

Just because you may be grappling with serious illness in your family, you still can have HOPE.  How do some people deal with and bounce back from setbacks? Why do they lead happier and healthier lives? It’s because they have hope. So, what exactly is hope and how can you develop it, too? Using discoveries from the largest study of hopeful people ever conducted, world-renowned expert on the psychology of hope, Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D.,  shares strategies for building a high-hope mindset. He tells uplifting stories of real people who are Making Hope Happen in their lives. The message is clear: Hope matters. Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope is contagious.

Nature Inspired Healing Imagery

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Nature inspired imageries are fun and easy to do. You can close your eyes and listen to the sounds… and use your imagination. You can think about the healing feeling of rain and water when you want to wash away something annoying or irritating. Doing these healing imageries can help you find the calm within the center of the storm… when you focus on these healing imageries you can relax and take yourself a million miles away to wherever you want to be.

Scientific studies show us that doing these healing visualization create instant changes in our bodies… our breathing and heart rates slow adding to our relaxation and healing. You can listen to these imageries as often as you like. You can also create SoaringArtwork inspired by these visualizations to decorate a child’s hospital rooms.

Join us behind the scenes in the Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC to fall in love with the rain.


Close your eyes and imagine that you are next to a giant waterfall.


Imagine yourself in the middle of the rain forest.


Enjoy the beautiful waves of the ocean.


Listen to the power of the thundershower.


Imagine you are standing next to a beautiful fountain in the middle of a lush park.

Babbling Brook

Imagine you are sitting next to a babbling brook.

August Newsletter

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I think I can, I think I can…. Over the past year, this adage from Watty Piper’s classic book, The Little Engine That Couldwas my mantra while juggling school and full-time responsibilities of running Soaringwords. Well folks, it’s official — my Capstone thesis has been approved and is published in Scholarly Commons. My empirical research study measured the impact of a positive Soaringwords intervention on the well-being of hospitalized children. Well-meaning, thoughtful expressions of compassion and empathy can facilitate growth. We have begun the next wave of research and will be expanding the study with additional hospitals in the fall. A few weeks ago, as a family tradition, my husband and I traveled to Maine to visit our son Josh in camp. I enjoyed a relaxing and rejuvenating mini-holiday. Savoring the moments while looking forward to the next soaring adventure.
Sending you much love and soaring words,

Soaringwords News

Recent cool Soaringwords events.

Soaringwords + Zumba® Fitness = Love for hospitalized children

Whenever I get together with Zumba® Fitness lovers, I may enter the room as a stranger, but I always leave as part of a powerful community. It was a thrill to participate in a Zumba® Fitness Master Class in Miami orchestrated by the generous Dr. Olgalucia Duran and 15 awe-inspiring instructors who came together to raise funds to support bringing free monthly Zumba® Fitness classes to pediatric patients, families and staff in Miami hospitals. If you are going to be at the Zumba® Fitness Instructor Convention in August, please stop by our table to learn more about Soaringwords’ Zumba® Fitness in hospitals initiative. (Photo Right: Dr. Olgalucia Duran, Manu Musica, David Topel and Constanza Moreira) MORE PHOTOS

Amma: The Hugging Healer

I was curious to meet the woman who had hugged more than 32 million people, so Greta, Soaringwords’ Community Relations Manager, and I trekked to Massachusetts to join hundreds of people at the final stop on Amma’s 2013 U.S. tour. We experienced the POWER OF LOVE and hugs from Mata Amritanandamayi, affectionately known as Amma, which means “mother” in Hindi. Amma is a spiritual master who runs a global healthcare organization in India. Being part of the community involves nurturing the community. Greta and I reported for early morning kitchen duties where we chopped potatoes, carrots and peppers for a hearty vegetable soup that was served at lunch. It was meaningful to contribute, although Greta noted that it felt like being in an I Love Lucy episode as we tried to cut vegetables in precisely instructed shapes and sizes. Learn more about the healing power of hugs VIDEO


Soaringwords went behind the scenes at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Rain Room exhibit to create the latest SoaringMuseums® video to share on Ill children and families can make a virtual museum visit while at home or in the hospital. Students will view the video as part of Soaringwords Educational Outreach initiatives where students engage in service learning projects to inspire hospitalized children and families. (Photo right: Rain Room creators Hannes Koch and Flo Ortkrass with Soaringwords’ Founder Lisa Buksbaum and Rachel Gorman, Director of Hospital Outreach & Wellness Education) VIDEO

Community Outreach at PS163

Summer school is serious business which is why 70 students at PS 163 look forward to a Soaringwords service learning program as the highlight of each week.  Even record high temperatures could not deter volunteers and students from creating wonderful gifts during each weekly module — SoaringSuperheroes®; SoaringConstellations; SoaringFables®; Hieroglyphs from SoaringMuseums®; and SoaringMurals® for hospitalized children. Please contact us if you’d like to volunteer at our expanded fall program in six NYC schools or to bring a Soaringwords Educational program to schools nationwide.


Marcella Palmer and Shea Maultsby of M.INK Productionshave been devoted and generous collaborators on multiple videos for the Soaringwords Book Club, as well as SoaringMuseums® –Hatshepsut at the Metropolitan Museum of ArtThree Centuries of Red and White Quilts at the New York Armory and most recently at MoMA’s Rain Room. Shea and Marcella are innovative professionals, always adding great value to each project. We had some great laughs  — such as the time the entire crew packed into Marcella’s SUV to get a clean audio track because the rain was too noisy during the Rain Room filming. If you have a production project that needs top notch talent, reach out to M.INK Productions.
SoaringHealth & Wellness

At the International Positive Psychology Association global conference in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of creating a Soaringwords video, with Gallop senior scientist, Shane Lopez. We discussed his latest book, Making Hope Happen. Watch the video to discover the difference between hope and wishing.

Touch Points

Soaringwords has powerful employee-engagement service projects to add to your fall and 2014 conferences and meetings. If you know of fabulous, hard-working, brilliant students or grownups, we still have space in our Soaringwords internship programs for fall or winter. Contact us at: 646-674-7105,

Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness

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“I look forward to teaching my monthly classes at Children’s Hospital. Seemingly healthy children and those hooked up to IVs join the fun, some in wheelchairs, all ready to dance. These are regular kids who just want to DANCE and have FUN. We have the pleasure of delivering joy. The joy spreads and follows them back to their rooms and changes the perspective life of those present forever!” – Richard Gormley, Zumba Education Specialist

In 2012, three weeks before the Zumba® Instructor Convention, Zumba Fitness CEO Alberto Perlman met Lisa Buksbaum, CEO & Founder of Soaringwords. They had a “meeting of the minds” and realized that it would be amazing to invite ZIN™ members to share love and passion with hospitalized children to inspire them to dance and experience some joy, even in the midst of serious medical challenges. After the Convention, three Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness delegations started sharing free monthly classes with hospitalized children in Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago and Atlanta.

Soaringwords is working closely with hospitals to bring more ZIN™ members into the collaboration each month. We would like you to be a part of this powerful wellness initiative.

Experience the energy of the Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness collaboration in photos and videos. Also, check out the photos taken at last year’s Zumba Fitness Instructor Convention in Orlando.

There are number of ways to help support this important initiative:

1. Make a donation
100% of your donation will go towards the coordination of hospitals and Zumba® Fitness instructors worldwide. With your support, we will be able to share the healing power of dance, movement, laughter, and community to transform the lives of pediatric patients. Click here to make a donation.

2. Volunteer at a Hospital
Would you like to volunteer to teach Zumba® Fitness classes to pediatric patients, families and staff in a local children’s hospital? We are looking for Zumba® Fitness Instructors who are licensed in Zumba® Fitness Kids to volunteer to lead monthly classes for hospitalized children. This is a great way to build awareness for you as a Zumba® Fitness Instructor and get more paying classes and clients.

If interested in volunteering:
a) Click here for 6 Easy Steps to bring Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness to children in your local hospital. 
b) We require instructors to complete the New Volunteer Questionnaire.
c) Review and sign Volunteer Dance Agreement with electronic signature.
d) Submit two Professional References. We encourage you to secure recommendations from a Supervisor at a gym or studio who knows you and your work, a ZES™ or ZJ™, a Supervisor from another field who knows you and your work, or a Supervisor from a non-profit organization where you have volunteered.
e) After you have identify your local hospital with a pediatric population and connect with the appropriate hospital professional, then customize Hospital Documents.
f) Visit Hospital Page to download Soaringwords Activities and to read Hospital Visitor Guidelines.

3. Volunteer at the office or remotely
Help coordinate Soaringwords + Zumba  Initiative. Click here to learn more.

4. Organize a Zumba® Master Class or Zumbathon® Charity Event 

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Planning a fundraiser is a great way to support Soaringwords and gain exposure in your community. Download Soaringwords + Zumba Event Planning Guide to get started.  See photos from events around the country to get inspired.  

5. Shop at the Soaringwords store
Proudly wear your Soaringwords T-shirt to show your commitment.

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.

SOARING into Strength: Best Possible Future Self Exercise

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Today you are going to think about your best possible future self.

Take a few deep breaths… Take a moment to think about your best possible self and life. It could be you in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. Perhaps you have done really well in school. Perhaps you have excelled in a sport, dancing or some physical activity. Maybe you have learned new skills like painting or learning a new language or playing a musical instrument. There are many accomplishments for which you can feel proud.

How do you want to grow? Look? Feel? Who is with you? What makes you really happy? What do you love? Perhaps you have meaningful and happy relationships with your family and friends.

Get a good picture of you as your best possible future self. Now close your eyes and imagine it. When you are ready, open your eyes and start the activities below.

SOARING into Strength: Best Future Self Writing Exercise

Part 1: Use the attached Best Possible Future Self Border to describe your best future self in words. Be as creative and imaginative as you want, using as much detail as you want. This writing can be for just YOU, private, strictly confidential so don’t hold back and edit yourself. Or you can share your best possible future self writing with your parents or a healthcare professional.

Part 2: Now write down a specific goal or goals that would help you attain your best possible self. Sometimes long-term goals seem overwhelming or out of your reach. Every journey begins with just a single step. Think about taking baby steps towards your long-term goal(s). For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, maybe the first step is speaking to someone about getting a tape or book to start practicing. If your goal is to learn how to play a new instrument maybe the first step is to find out about classes in your school or in the community.

SOARING into Strength: Best Future Self Artwork Exercise

Use your creativity and imagination to draw your best future self. Have fun, use lots of colors, we can’t wait to see what you have come up with! Start the journey without worrying too much about the length of the road.


*This exercise is inspired by the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky & Shane Lopez