May Newsletter

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

Dear Friends,

I spent Spring break on the beach in Tel Aviv soaking up the sun and spending time with close friends and family. Being in nature reminds me to breathe deeper, walk slower and truly appreciate things that often are all too easy to take for granted. Mid-trip I bent down to zip-up a suitcase and pulled a muscle. Nothing like six weeks in rehabilitation to appreciate the gifts of health! Now after the recovery, I am definitely not taking the joy of movement and health for granted. Every morning when I go to the gym for my swim, I want to kiss the lifeguard out of happiness of being able to enjoy this precious time in the pool.

Wishing you the gift of heightened gratitude and abundant health and joy this Spring.

Much love,

Volunteers for Good

We love our New York Life Volunteers! Every month they roll up their sleeves and create beautiful gifts for children in hospitals and bereavement centers. Our latest projects included SoaringDreamBoxes (pictured above), SoaringOrigami and a gorgeous SoaringMural (pictured above). We can’t wait for our next project: SoaringWindChimes on June 12. Thank you to our magnificent leaders: Nina Deal, Arnyse Black, Victoria Dwyer, Maria Kamenetskaya, Celena Thorne and Yuk-Ying Chin MORE PHOTOS

Viacommunity Day

In the heart of Chinatown in New York City, 50 of the most exuberant Viacom employees spent the day with 4th graders at P.S.126. Students and employees decorated SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® with inspirational messages and artwork for hospitalized children. Then everyone enjoyed a high-energy Zumba® Fitness dance experience to celebrate health, led by instructor Thomas Estler. The day ended with a Closing Award Ceremony. Soaringwords is proud to be part of the annual Viacommunity Day and we can’t wait for next year’s event! MORE PHOTOS

Take Your Child to Work Day

On Take Your Child to Work Day millions of children cut school to hang out at their parents’ offices. We shared Soaringwords community service projects with employees’ children at BlackRock, Cisco and Horizon Media. Since hospitalized children can’t participate in the fun, we decided to bring it to them by donating SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® decorated with inspirational messages and artwork. (Photo left: BlackRock. Photo right: Horizon Media employees delivering Quilts and Pillows to children at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC).

Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness

Every month, Zumba® Instructors in more than 50 hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses bring Soaringwords’ activities and Zumba® classes to children, their families and hospital professionals. Soaringwords salutes all the hardworking and dedicated Instructors who donate their time to inspire others!

(Photo left: Children’s National Health Service in Washington, DC. Photo right: Ronald McDonald House at St. Christopher’s Hospital, Philadelphia.)

Thank you to Dahrio Wonder for writing a wonderful new song called Get Up that he is dedicating to Soaringwords! Now all our fabulous Soaringwords + Zumba® volunteers can share this amazing song and choreography with ill children around the world. Thanks to Anaya and Maliah for being the stars of the video and to their mom ZES™ Gina Grant and ZES™ Jessica Witt for creating the fabulous choreography. VIDEO

Soaringwords is Coming to Orlando!

Join us at the Zumba® Master Class featuring world-renowned instructors ZES™ Marcie Benavides and DJ Francis. Special Guest ZJ™ Holly Rose. 

100% of your ticket will fund the Soaringwords + Zumba® Fitness program for hospitalized children. With your support, we will share the healing power of dance, movement and laughter. 

Saturday, June 27 – Doors open 6:30 PM
7-8 PM Make a SoaringSuperhero puppet for hospitalized children
8-9:30 PM Zumba® Master Class

Disney Coronado Springs Resort – 1000 W. Buena Vista Drive, Orlando

$20 GENERAL ADMISSION; $30 VIP (includes T-shirt and priority entrance) TICKETS:

Special Guests Include: International Presenter Fabio Barros, Mother/Daughter Team Reyna Zurita and ZJ™ Janice Gonzalez, the youngest ZIN™ member in U.S. Justin Romero and the fabulous Lourdes Leon, ZJ™

SoaringStars – Marcia Graham

This month we salute Marcia Graham, CCLS, Senior Child Life Specialist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC.  For the past ten years, Marcia has been our SoaringChampion welcoming volunteer delegations to visit with patients and families and share SoaringQuilts & SoaringPillows and other crafts projects to brighten their days. She is a tireless advocate for patients with an understated warmth and calm she learned back home in Jamaica. Marcia is a person who makes each child feel loved and supported; precisely what you’d want from someone bringing hope and healing to so many patients and families who come to the hospital from all around the world.

SoaringHealth & Wellness

Awe and Wonder in the Midst of Medical Challenges
Jonathan Haidt is a positive psychologist who is considered an expert on Awe and Wonder. Like so many words today that are bandied about in daily use so that the original impact is seriously diminished, the actual definition of awe means that one has to experience something that does not neatly fit into our existing mental structures. The vastness or awe-inspiring experience causes us to pause, giving us an opportunity for our minds to actually expand and grow. According to Haidt, “the best way to think about awe and wonder is as a family of emotions, but the key thing to keep in mind is that awe always includes an element of fear and dread in the face of gigantic awesome power. When you’re contemplating and processing the experience, that’s when your mind shifts and expands. And that is what I think is so deeply pleasurable.”  A self-described awe-junkie, he traveled the world researching awesome experiences like climbing the highest mountains and going to remote and exotic locales. So how can someone experience moments of awe and wonder in the hospital or during a medical challenge? Sometimes it is the gift of slowing down in our daily lives that allows us to see the power of nature that gives us a moment of awe and wonder. This uplifting transformative positive experience can create an opening to experience other positive emotions, and when this happens you could say that’s actually pretty awesome.

Touch Points
Contact Soaringwords to share a team-building event at your company, school or hospital. Contact or call us at 646-674-7105.
We have a few spots left in our summer internship program. Kindly send us bright and fabulous interns who want to get real-world experience and make valuable contributions to Soaringwords’ social media and special events this summer. Email heal@soaringwords and request an internship application.

January Newsletter

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0
This holiday season I had a “staycation” since we enjoyed a family wedding the week before in Toronto. One of the blessings of being in New York City over the holidays was the opportunity to catch up on life’s simple pleasures like leisurely reading the paper in my bathrobe instead of being in the gym at 7:30 each morning before dashing to the office. I also got to spend lots of time with friends. This week, Alex Shear, a dear friend and loyal Soaringwords volunteer died suddenly. He represented the best of everything that Soaringwords stands for: he had a great love of life, especially sharing high quality connections with other people. This newsletter is dedicated to his legacy and all of the joy that he brought to his family and friends.
(Photo of my son Josh, Alex Shear and me)

In a couple of weeks we’ll celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday when we will be sharing SoaringDreamCatchers activities with hospitalized children and school children to inspire them to dream big.

Wishing you and your family a new year filled with abundant health, joy, gratitude and well-being, Lisa

Soaringwords News

Recent cool Soaringwords events.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson Consumer IT team came together at a Town Hall meeting to decorate SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to hospitalized children at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. Throughout 2014, J&J employees in this group will participate in hands-on Soaringwords initiatives at quarterly Divisional meetings and monthly initiatives to mentor opportunity youth at Franklin Park Elementary School. MORE PHOTOS

New Soaringwords Curricula Based on Positive Psychology

Soaringwords shared a fun and creative activity: My Best Future Self with patients at Cohen Children’s Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center. This activity motivated patients to envision themselves in powerful, expansive and positive ways.

Richard Tedeschi Video

When bad things happen, people often feel like it will break them — a serious illness, death of a loved one, loss of a job or an unfortunate event. However, scientific studies show most people recover from major life crises transformed AND even stronger than before. This phenomenon is called Posttraumatic Growth. In this new Soaringwords video, Lisa chats with Dr. Tedeschi, a leading expert in the field, who discusses how PTG is a process people go through and a place they get to when they come to recognize that they have been transformed. PTG refers to a positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event. Posttraumatic Growth is not simply a return to baseline, the way your life was before the traumatic event. Instead it is an experience of IMPROVEMENT after the traumatic event that may be extremely profound, even life changing. This video will be shared with patients, their families, and healthcare professionals in hospitals to help them experience more Posttraumatic Growth in their lives. WATCH VIDEO

Educational Outreach

Each week, JCC volunteers and Soaringwords team leaders have the joy of working with second graders to create fun and meaningful projects to donate to patients and families at Harlem Hospital.  All of these projects are infused with Character Strengths and Virtues to allow students to strengthen their self-perceptions, bolster core skills to deepen knowledge and experience the process of meta-cognition. Photo on the left: SoaringOrigami for hospitalized kids. Photo on the right: Soaringwords Character Strengths spotting exercise where students identify strengths in each other and then make unique messages and artwork based on their very own signature strengths.


It is with great sadness that we said goodbye to Alex Shear, our dear friend and loyal volunteer. Alex was tragically killed by a bus earlier this week. A quintessential New Yorker, he brought his effervescent creativity and love of life to all of the Soaringwords programs. His first event was volunteering for three days at Kennedy Airport, where he invited hundred of travelers to decorate SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows for hospitalized children for the holidays. We fell in love with each other and he’s been part of Soaringwords’ family ever since. Alex had amassed a large collection of Americana and we plan on launching SoaringInventors in his memory, in order to inspire hospitalized children and school children to make wacky inventions inspired by pieces in his collection in order to cheer ill kids.
SoaringHealth & Wellness Soaringwords is proud to introduce a 9 part Soaringwords Book Club video series based on DIGGING DEEP A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges written by Rose Offner & Sheri Brisson. Journaling is proven to enhance a patient’s sense of well-being as writing about the narratives of our lives is one of the most powerful means available for moving toward greater happiness (Tomasulo and Pawelski, 2012).  Three author interview videos share personal stories and pointers to using the journal. We created a special video for patients, a separate video for parents, and a third video for healthcare providers.  The authors combined their talents and experience — Rose is a successful author and Sheri is a brain-tumor survivor and successful businesswoman. Soaringwords filmed six Digging Deep activity videos with patients and families at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in California and Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.  These creative hands-on activity videos include Life Awards You where patients give themselves an award for being courageous, kind, or resilient; 100 Dreams and Desires; Good Fortunes where patients write their own fortune cookie messages; and Taking Out the Trash. When patients engage in these projects it enhances their well-being. WATCH VIDEOS

Touch Points

Winter and Summer internship applications are open. Soaringwords has mentored more than 110 interns and we are looking for people who are intelligent, full of zest and curiosity, creative and want to make meaningful contributions. For internship information and applicationhere. Please contact us if you are interested in launching a team-building employee volunteer program, off-site, inspirational speaker or community event. Share Soaringwords for Take Your Child to Work Day on Thursday, April 24. Kindly contact or call Greta at 646-674-7105 to set up a time to speak with us.


September Newsletter

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0
This is the time of year that our thoughts turn to community, the renewing energy of fall foliage and the crispness of the air, and in my family the celebration of the Jewish new year. My heart is especially full this time of year spending considerable amounts of time giving pause to be grateful for all the abundant blessings in our lives which can often so easily be taken for granted. These gifts include a home, meaningful work, abundant health, and energized colleagues, friends and family.

This month, Soaringwords community is expanding in meaningful ways. We are delighted that our friends at Zumba® Fitness shared a video of Beto Perez, co-Founder of Zumba® Fitness, leading a free monthly dance class in one of our pediatric hospitals. It was a thrilling day at the office as we watched the Zumba® Fitness Facebook fans take notice of the Soaringwords initiative. The video received 9,659 likes! After 12 years of building the organization, it was a thrill to see our community grow so quickly.

Kindly take a minute and make a donation to our campaign to fund free monthly Soaringwords + Zumba®  Fitness classes in 100 hospitals around the world. Click here. Together, with your financial support, we can make this happen and inspire thousands of hospitalized children to feel part of a vibrant, caring community.

Sending you love and soaringwords,


T.646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783,

Soaringwords News

Recent cool Soaringwords events.

Soaringwords at Facebook Headquarters

Facebook has taken the notion of community to a whole new level of connection. Soaringwords was happy to spend few hours on the Facebook campus with sixth graders from Belle Haven Elementary School on 9/11, the National Day of Service. The entire day was in celebration of the life of Facebook’s Executive Chef Josef Desimone who recently died. The program started with a special lunch for the students in the Facebook Cafe. Together, employee volunteers and the students decorated 100 quilts and 100 pillows with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to patients at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and Alisa Ann Ruch Foundation that helps children who are burned victims. Three amazing Zumba® Fitness instructors — John Asenso, Alejandra Picollo and Chris Pilawski led a lively Zumba® Fitness class, which was followed by a moving closing ceremony. MORE PHOTOS

NY Life September Month of Service Soars

On 9/11 Soaringwords and NY Life launched a collaboration to support hospitalized and bereaved children around the country. Here in New York City a team lead by the amazing Carolin Fermin created SoaringSuperhero messages, decorated capes and masks for hospitalized children at Harlem Hospital. Employees also assembled SoaringSuperhero activity kits of the same project so that hospitalized or grieving children will be able to “get one and then give one”. This activity will enable children to experiencing altruism and reciprocity which will enhance their well-being and inspire them to heal.

Global Zumba® Fitness Convention kicks off global collaboration to benefit hospitalized children

In August, the Soaringwords team spent five days at the global Zumba® Fitness Convention in Orlando where 723 licensed Zumba® Fitness instructors from around the world, representing 39 countries, signed up to lead free monthly classes in pediatric hospitals. A big thank you to the magnificent Thomas Estler for joining the Soaringwords team for the 2nd year in the row at the convention, and helping us spread our passion to bring Zumba® Fitness to hospitalized children. This week, here at the office, we have been very busy contacting Zumba® Fitness instructors to setup classes in hospitals around the country. If you have registered to lead a class, you will be hearing from us soon if you haven’t already heard from us. Help support this important initiative by making a donation. Together we can bring the healing power of dance, movement, laughter, and community to transform the lives of pediatric patients. Click here.


Doris is an 8 year old champion who inspires and helps other hospitalized children stay hopeful as she waits for her lung transplant. A true hero. On September 8 she came to school to be part of the creation of nine new Soaringwords Book Club videos featuring the Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges.We will be launching this new video series with Soaringwords hospital partners in November.
SoaringHealth & Wellness Have you ever kept a journal? If so, you may have discovered that by the time you finish writing about a problem or question, you have already discovered an answer inside and feel a sense of relief. Your shoulders relax, you un-clench your jaw and things feel more manageable. It is cathartic to express yourself on paper and doing so can have a positive impact on well-being. Psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker posits that regular journaling strengthens immune cells. The way in which your brain and body is engaged during the physical act of writing allows mental blocks to open up, allowing you to more freely understand yourself, others and the world.

Tips for Journaling:

  • Find a time & place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Write continuously for about 20 minutes.
  • Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.
  • Write only for yourself.
  • Write about something extremely personal and important to you.
  • Deal only with events or situations you can handle now.

Touch Points

We are busy planning our annual Make a Difference Day employee engagement events with BNY Mellon in multiple cities.  If you are interested in launching a team-building employee volunteer program in 2013/2014 contact or call Greta at 646-674-7105 to set up a time to speak.

August Newsletter

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