July Newsletter

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Summer is upon us and I spent a week in LA for the world conference on Positive Psychology, where fellow practitioners shared cutting edge wisdom, knowledge and FUN. One of the highlights was creating videos to inspire hospitalized children and their families with Barbara Fredrickson, the leading expert on positivity and love and Shane Lopez, the world renowned expert on hope. I look forward in sharing these videos with you in the next newsletter. Stay tuned to learn about the latest scientifically-based findings in a new positive psychology construct called SOAR, as my Master’s thesis is only weeks away from being finalized. I look forward to sharing the empirical findings on how Soaringwords interventions elevated well-being for hundreds of pediatric patients. If you are going to be in Miami on July 13, join me for a high-energy Zumba® Fitness master class 100% of the funds will support free monthly Soaringwords Zumba® Fitness classes for patients, families and staff in pediatric hospitals throughout Florida.
Sending you much love and soaringwords,
T.646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783, lisa@soaringwords.org
Soaringwords News
Recent and cool Soaringwords events. IMPACT Day

On Friday, June 7, Deloitte employees around the world headed into the community for IMPACT Day, a global day of service. In NYC, a delegation of employees volunteered with Soaringwords and mentored sixth graders at Dual Language Middle School in a three-hour community service project. The day started with inspirational talk about leadership and altruism, followed by the decoration of SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to patients at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. The entire group enjoyed a high-energy Zumba® Fitness class led by one of our favorite instructors Thomas Estler. The day ended with a closing circle and a visit to the hospital.MORE PHOTOS

We are all connected
On June 21, I was honored to give the commencement speech at Independent School 229, in the Bronx. After getting to know the eighth graders through Soaringwords Educational Outreach field trips, throughout the school year, I felt a strong connection with these young people. It was a thrill to be part of this momentous life-cycle event and to give the students some words that soar and inspire them as they begin their high school careers and young adulthood. MORE PHOTOS


Never doubt the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead. We held a Soaringwords’ Summit to discover, dream, design and deliver for Soaringwords’ 2013/2014 expansion. The power of our small group of dedicated strategists under the capable leadership of facilitator Nadya Peeva, co-created several million-dollar insights which we will be manifesting in the months ahead. Dr. Peggy Kern joined Soaringwords as the Director of Research and will help us empirically measure all interventions: hospital outreach programs, educational outreach initiatives, youth leaders programs, employee engagement initiatives. Special thanks to Horizon Media for hosting this event in their fabulous offices. MORE PHOTOS

Community Outreach

A team of spirited JPMorgan Chase employees under the guidance of the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) in Chicago came together to embrace patients and families at Shriner’s Hospital.


Special thanks to the lovely, understated Ingri De La Cruz for her leadership in IS 229 school and in the community. Through her dedication she is inspiring students to embrace life of service, as part of becoming well-rounded, successful human-beings. She is a strong and resilient role model and precisely what you want in an educator.

SoaringHealth & Wellness When you look up to the sky, you’ll find constellations of compassion. Compassion Lab founder Jane Dutton & Soaringwords’ Founder Lisa Buksbaum collaborated on three articles to bring hope and a paradigm shift for children and families grappling with serious illness. Using the metaphor of constellations, we encourage children, parents, and healthcare professionals to find their own north star amidst turmoil.Check out the three articles and the SoaringConstellations projects that school children have made for hospitalized children.

Touch Points

Soaringwords has powerful leadership service projects to add to your summer-fall conferences and meetings. If you know of a fabulous, hard-working, brilliant college student, we still have space in our Soaringwords internship programs for the fall. Contact us at: 646-674-7105, heal@soaringwords.org.

June Newsletter

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On Mother’s Day I graduated from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program (affectionately known as MAPP) at the University of Pennsylvania. This is the culmination of a ten-month journey to bring scientific theory and empirical data to the Soaringwords positive interventions. The first time I graduated from Penn was 1982. It was quite a thrill to graduate from my alma-mater once more, with both of my parents and the addition of my husband Jacob and sons Jonathan and Joshua. The Soaringwords team made the trek to Philadelphia to celebrate the milestone and reclaim me, full-time, for Soaringwords. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of this endeavor all year. Congratulations to the magnificent class of MAPPsters, leaders from around the world, who are making significant contributions in the spheres of business, education, the arts, non-profit sector, and medicine.
My Capstone empirical research study on the efficacy of Soaringwords positive interventions with hospitalized children will be completed this summer. I look forward to sharing the findings.
Sending you strength and soaring words,
T.646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783, lisa@soaringwords.org
Accenture gives students skills to succeed The Soaringwords program was the grand finale for Accenture’s largest global meeting. It was thrilling to feel the energy of 131 newly-minted partners as they mentored 75 high school students from the Boys & Girls Club in St. Charles, IL. Together, they decorated 100 SoaringQuilts® and 100 SoaringPillows® for children at the local Ronald McDonald House and patients at St. Alexius Medical Center.  According to one executive, “today changed the way I think about myself as I was able to take a step back from the high speed life we live in and be part of a great initiative.MORE PHOTOS

Get to Work
On Take Your Child to Work Day millions of children cut school to hang out at their parents’ offices. In officess around the country, we shared Soaringwords community service projects with employees’ children at NY Life, Cisco, Merck 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: Cisco, Iselin, NJ, Photo right: New York Life, NYC) MORE PHOTOS

Dancing and friend-raising with Zumba® Fitness®Fitness

To all of you who joined us at the Zumba® Fitness Fundraiser we thank you greatly. All the money raised will support bringing Zumba® Fitness classes to hospitalized children, their families and hospital staff. The class was led by a talented ZES™ Kass Martin. Photo left Kass Martin and Gabby, cancer survivor and Soaringwords Youth Leader. SEE VIDEO

Inspiring strength Strength and greatness is inside each child, regardless of their abilities. When special needs children are invited to make Soaringwords projects for hospitalized children it energizes them and makes them feel proud. That’s why we were honored to present at the annual Ramapo For Children Youth Leadership Conference, along with 230 youth participants, from over 30 NYC metro-area agencies.


We salute Suzanne Rosenberg who has been volunteering at Soaringwords for three years. Hospitalized children, students and employee volunteers are positively disarmed by Suzanne’s warmth and powerful mother-love energy. She is the auntie you always loved the most and brings this incredible joy to all the activities she leads at PS 1; at corporate fairs; and in the hospital.
SoaringHealth & Wellness We wanted to recommend a SoaringBook to you: How to Be A Friend to A Friend Who’s Sick by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. Letty is a wonderful author, journalist, activist and friend. She turned her six weeks of chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering into a riveting and useful manual for anyone who wants to be a true friend when your friends are going through medical challenges. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to say or do the right thing, based on the unique personality of your friends and letting their needs lead your actions and words.  The book is funny, poignant and overflowing with real examples of what to do and not to do to support friends during challenging times.

Touch Points

Soaringwords has powerful leadership service project to add to your spring and summer conferences and meetings. If you know of a fabulous, hard-working, brilliant college student, we still have space in our Soaringwords summer internship program. Contact us at: 646-674-7105, heal@soaringwords.org.
Send us an email heal@soaringwords.org Give us a call 646-674-7105

March Newsletter

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Spring has now arrived Daffodils push through the snow Now our spirits soar
Let’s “Spring-ahead” our step is lighter, shedding our winter armor of scarves, wool hats, mittens and heavy coats. Somehow our thoughts are more colorful, just like the daffodils and tulips that are starting to bloom. With every change there is a new beginning, my school year is coming to an end and I look forward to spending more time with my family, catching a movie, taking a walk in the park and spending more time with Soaringwords teams in schools and hospitals. Wishing you and your family a beautiful Spring holiday season.
T.646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783, lisa@soaringwords.org
Educational Outreach Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is the gift of laughter, love and poetry! 4th grade youth leaders at P.S.1 in Chinatown created Soaring Sock Puppetsdecorated heart-shaped pillows and wrote SoaringHaikus for hospitalized children. We loved hearing how the students’ gifts inspired children in hospitals to create their own gifts for others…let’s continue to grow the circle of giving!  If you would like to write a SoaringHaiku® for hospitalized children or someone elseclick here.

Community Outreach
Students from I.S.528 and I.S.229 got a special treat on a school night. They traveled to a hip NYC hotel, met 130 global executives from Cigna and participated in a community service project. Together, the employees and students teamed up to decorate 100 SoaringQuilts and 100 SoaringPillows for hospitalized children. It was great watching the students jump into the activity, take the lead in the project, energizing and motivating the adults!We all have something to give.MORE PHOTOS

Join us at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater on Sunday, April 7

Grab your friends, grab your water bottles and get ready to shake and salsa for a great cause! Join us for a Zumba® Fitness Fundraiser to support Soaringwords. All the money raised will support bringing Zumba® Fitness classes to hospitalized children, their families and hospital staff. Hosted by a famous ZES™ Kass Martin, she has appeared on many TV shows such as The Martha Stewart Show & just recently on The Wendy Williams Show. Sunday, April 7, 1pm – 2:30pm, 3:00 – 4:30 after-party, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater405 West 55th Street, NYC 10019 (at 9th Avenue). PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

SOARING And the award for the coolest Soaringwords work station goes to PT Development employees! These physical therapists are bringing health and healing to patients every day. Your beautiful station and artwork is inspiring! Thank you for decorating SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows for hospitalized children at Kosair Children’s Medical Center in Louisville, KY and Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. MORE PHOTOS


Thank you to Soaringwords’ P.S.1 volunteer dream team for helping us run a weekly Educational Outreach program in Chinatown. We are grateful for their dedication to the participating students and the hospitalized children who are benefiting from each session. Last week we were transformed into puppeteers as we stitched sock puppets that were created by the P.S.1 students. Thank you to our lovely team!
If you are interested in skills-based volunteering in our offices or helping lead programs in the community, drop us an email heal@soaringwords.org
SoaringHealth & Wellness When was the last time you had a conversation that actually made you feel elevated and energized? High Quality Connections (HQC) is the ground-breaking theory of positive psychologist Jane Dutton. The HQC technique is easy to use and immediately changes the emotional trajectory of relationships allowing you to show esteem, dignity and care for others through active, constructive listening and being fully present, even from the first conversation. Watch my conversation with Jane Dutton, which will be shared with hospitalized patients, their families and hospital professionals.VIDEO

Touch Points

We are currently putting together “Take Your Child to Work Day” programs. Please let us know if you’d like Soaringwords to be the highlight of the day. Soaringwords also has powerful leadership service project to add to your spring and summer conferences and meetings, give us a call, 646-674-7105.
Give us a call 646-674-7105

February Newsletter

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Dear Friends,
2013 is off to a soaring start. My staff tells me I am a RAT, a loving person, a keeper of secrets, charming, hard-working, ambitious and bright. I am not bragging, it’s just that we’re getting ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year at PS 1 in Chinatown. What follows are a few of the latest and greatest events going on in our world. Most newsworthy is the launch of my first-ever empirical research study with hospitalized children at leading hospitals nationwide. Every day is Valentine’s Day at Soaringwords, sending you much love and healing energy.
Love, Lisa
W. 646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783, lisa@soaringwords.org
Soaringwords News
Cool recent Soaringwords events. Youth Leaders 80 fourth grade students at P.S. 1 in Chinatown created SoaringSuperheroes for hospitalized children at Harlem Medical Center, as part of a weekly Youth  Leadership Service Learning Program. Each weekly activity is designed to boost core skills (reading, writing, communication, critical thinking, creative arts) and build character strengths and virtues (resilience, gratitude, goal-setting, compassion and more). This week’s project is Chinese New Year Animals. A very big thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers and dedicated teachers!MORE PHOTOS

Community Outreach

Last week, Cigna’s Global IT department shared a three-hour Soaringwords employee-engagement program at the annual conference. It was a blast from the moment school buses of students from Hartford public schools pulled into the Marriott. The students loved being mentored by Cigna professionals who were taken aback by the sweetness and creativity of the children. Together, they decorated 100 SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows to donate to patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The day culminated in a high-energy Zumba® Fitness dance celebration and Closing Circle where each person shared reflections from the day. MORE PHOTOS

Supporting Sandy Hook Families Middle school students at I.S. 528, in New York City, expressed their love and support for Sandy Hook families who lost a relative in the tragedy, by decorating SoaringQuilts® and a SoaringPillows® with customized messages and artwork of love, hope and inspiration. MORE PHOTOS


Patients loved creating festive origami to decorate their hospital rooms and give as gifts, at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  Origami is the ancient art of Japanese paper folding, an art form spanning over 1,000 years.  Learn how to make heart-shaped origami in time for Valentine’s Day! INSTRUCTIONS

This month, I am excited to launch an empirical research study for my Capstone culmination project in the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. The research is being fielded at multiple Soaringwords hospital partner sites around the country. The purpose of my research project is to measure the impact of hope, positive energy, creativity, altruism and reciprocity on a hospitalized child’s well-being. Specifically, each patient will be given a customized SoaringSuperhero from another child and then invited to create a SoaringSuperhero to give to another ill child.  Over the December break, I fielded the pilot test at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Florida, here’s a photo of our first patient.

SoaringStar Ashley Morel

We want to give a shout out to 15 year old Ashley. During the Closing Circle at the IS 229 field trip, Ashley shared her personal experience with her classmates and all of the employee volunteer mentors.  “I will never forget this trip, it’s been so much fun, entertaining and heartwarming, especially decorating quilts and pillows for these beautiful children. I know  they are going through a tough time because I myself have experienced living in the hospital for weeks, sometimes for months, because of my Type 1 Diabetes. It is really boring to be in the hospital. This experience made me realize that it is not always about receiving it is also about giving and making others feel good about themselves.”
SoaringHealth & Wellness Often people tend to focus on what’s wrong or what needs to be fixed. Instead, we recommend that you tap into your strengths to discover what makes you GREAT! The VIA Character Strengths survey is a measure designed to identify your individual character strengths. The survey was created by Dr. Christopher Peterson and Dr. Martin Seligman, two of the co-founders of the field of positive psychology. The survey  has been taken by more than 2 million people around the world and was designed for both adults and youth. Put aside 30-40 minutes and jump into the  Via Character Strength Survey and discover your signature strengths. Soaringwords is incorporating the VIA into Youth Leaders programs in hospitals and schools.

Touch Points

Contact Soaringwords to share a team-building event at your company, school or hospital. We are currently putting together “Take Your Child to Work Day” programs. Please let us know if you’d like Soaringwords to be the highlight of the day.

December Newsletter

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Dear Friends, Since our last newsletter, Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast. Soaringwords’ office didn’t have any damage but many of our local hospitals and community partners were affected. Many people slept in our homes because they were out of power and without heat. We all came together as a community to support each other. Local school children decorated SoaringQuilts for children who lost their homes because of the storm. Work doesn’t stop and my life continues to be a bit of a whirlwind — while simultaneously being a wife, a mother and a daughter, I am working full time and attending school for my Masters in Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. I am excited to report that hospitals around the country have signed up to participate in an empirical research study for my final project. I look forward to gathering the scientific data that supports the value of ill and hospitalized children participating in positive interventions (fun, distracting and meaningful Soaringwords activities) which enhance well-being and patient outcomes. Sending you strength and Soaringwords, Lisa

Make A Difference Day
For the third year in a row, BNY Mellon employees in 7 cities teamed up with school children for Make A Difference Day. Together they decorated SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to hospitalized children. The students and volunteers also participated in an exhilarating Zumba® Fitness class to celebrate health and wellness. Here in New York, we had the honor of working with P.S. 1 in Chinatown. Our favorite part of the day was watching Ms. Lau, the physical education teacher, break the ice by dancing salsa in front of the entire group!  MORE PHOTOS
Reaching Out with Zumba® Fitness
Thank you to the fantastic licensed Zumba® Fitness Instructors for launching classes at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, FL and Shriners Hospital for Children – Chicago.  Everyone – nurses, patients and parents- got into the fun! 750 licensed Zumba® Fitness instructors have volunteered to collaborate with Soaringwords and share monthly classes with hospitalized children and their families and hospital employees around the world.  MORE PHOTOS

Build a World of Loving Kindness Sometimes the best gift that we can give to those who are ill, is simply the gift of our presence. At the annual UJA/Jewish Board of Children and Family Services conference on Visiting the Sick, I spoke on The Power of Transformative Stories and shared my personal journey of how Soaringwords was born. I also led a workshop Using Technology to Support People who are Ill.  Above photo (right) Murray Nossel, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Director of Narativ. Dept. of Narrative Medicine, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Dream Catchers

Ashley and Nathan enjoyed creating beautiful, feathered Dream Catchers during their hospital stay at Komansky Center for Children’s Health at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dream Catchers come from Native American culture. It is believed that a Dream Catcher changes a person’s dreams, allowing only good dreams to filter through the web while bad dreams stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day. Make your own Dream Catcher to keep or to give to a friend as a gift! INSTRUCTIONS

Supporting Special Needs Families

In case you missed our seminar on Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver of a Special Needs Child at the 92nd Street Y, you can watch the recording here: http://www.92y.org/specialneeds
In order to care for our children, it’s crucial that we take time to nurture ourselves. It’s very common for caregivers to harbor feelings of guilt and a sense that there’s simply no time or energy left for themselves. When a family member, co-worker, or friend makes a well-intentioned but ultimately hurtful comment, people are left feeling raw. Dr. Catherine Lord, Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, joined me for a discussion which was shared with members of JCCs throughout North America, Autism Speaks, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Chai Lifeline, and schools that support children with special needs. The webinar was made possible through generous support from the CVS Caremark Foundation. (Photo left: Fretta Reitzes, Director, Goldman Center for Youth and Family, 92nd Street Y; Dr. Catherine Lord; Lisa Honig Buksbaum.)

SoaringStar – Jada

Ten-year-old Jada was an eager participant during one of our November hospital visits at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. In the hospital playroom, alongside other children and her grandmother, she made 8 SoaringSuperheroes, inspiring others with her drawings, enthusiasm and creativity.
SoaringHealth & Wellness What We Get When We Give-Not only does it feel great to help someone else, but it has a positive effect on our health and well-being. In Allan Luk’s book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, he explains this relationship citing the positive impact that volunteering has on the body and mind. His research concludes that regular helpers are 10 times more likely to be in good health than people who do not engage in altruistic activities (allanluks.com/helpershigh). Helping others reduces stress and releases endorphins, the brain’s natural painkillers. When individuals give to others, research demonstrates that both the giver and the receiver experience feelings of meaning and purpose (Seligman, 2011).  So, join us in doing at least one good deed a day.

September Newsletter

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Dear Friends, I always loved Back to School rituals — buying new pencils, notebooks and new shoes! And, this fall, I am actually returning to school at the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program with 36 students from around the world. Penn is my alma-mater so it’s especially exciting to return to campus. During the next ten months, I’ll be spending one weekend each month in Philadelphia learning from the leaders of Positive Psychology and applying this knowledge to strengthen all of Soaringwords’ healing interventions in hospitals, schools and community centers. Wishing you much love, Lisa

Soaringwords + Zumba® Fitness = Love
Soaringwords was onsite at the Zumba® Fitness Instructor Convention in Orlando, 720 certified Zumba® Fitness Instructors signed up to teach monthly Zumba® Fitness classes to pediatric patients, Moms, Dads and nurses at children’s hospitals around the world.  MORE PHOTOS Mara, a fan of the Zumba® Fitness program and performer at ZUMBA® Fitness Concerts™, paid a visit to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx where she serenaded patients, parents, nurses and doctors while four dazzling Zumba® Fitness Instructors led a class and danced along. MORE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Soaringwords Ferries to Martha’s Vineyard
On August 3, children and teens at the Chilmark Community Center paired up with students attending the Beacon Academy to share a hands-on community service initiative to benefit hospitalized children on Martha’s Vineyard and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. Everyone came together and enjoyed a Soaringwords service-learning program where volunteers decorated 100 SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows® with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to ill children. MORE PHOTOS

Sharing Their Love

JPMorgan Chase employees in 43 branches in Louisville, KY participated in a community service project to embrace children at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Some employees got into the Olympic spirit and decorated sports themed quilts and pillows.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Health Getaway Lisa gave an inspirational talk at Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s annual Health Getaway at the beautiful Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, off the coast of Florida. 300 participants came together to improve their health and embrace the Nutritarian lifestyle. On the last day of the conference, attendees mentored 30 children from the Miller Boys & Girls Club. Together everyone enjoyed the hands-on service project decorating quilts and pillows, followed by a high-energy Zumba® Fitness class to celebrate health, fitness and joy. MORE PHOTOS
Congratulations to Carol Evans, CEO & Publisher and her incredible team at Working Mother Media on the 10th Anniversary of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women Conference. I’ve been to the conference each year and I am proud to be part of this community of leading professionals committed to celebrating diverse talent and perspectives in all facets of business. It was so inspiring to spend two days with so many wonderful people. (Left photo: Erin Jensen, Director, Labor Relations and Founder of Women’s Group Sam’s Club and Donald Fan, Senior Director Global Office of Diversity, Wal-Mart. Right photo: Michele Sample, Director, Oncology Operations, and Ronny L. Osi-Efa, Project Leader, Promotions, GlaxoSmithKline Global)

SoaringStar – Tobias

The best part of running Soaringwords is meeting amazing people like Tobias. I traveled to Baltimore to interview him and his 7 siblings for my upcoming book, Soaringwords the Power to Heal, inspiring stories of magnificent individuals who are overcoming life’s pain and obstacles. Tobias had a brain-tumor at age six which resulted in sight and hearing losses. Today he does calculations without flinching, remembers entire books by heart, and loves to tell corny jokes radiating light + love. He is currently a college student and one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
SoaringHealth & Wellness Caregivers have multiple stressors in their lives balancing the needs of loved ones with illness, other family members, work demands and figuring out a way to spend some precious time on their own. Join us on Monday, November 5 for a Caring for the Caregiver of Children with Disabilities presentation with world-renown expert Dr. Catherine Lord. Lisa and Dr. Lord will be presenting live at the 92nd Street Y and the event will be shared via Telepresence with audiences in JCCs throughout North America. This program is made possible by a generous donation from the CVS Caremark Foundation.

Touch Points

Join Soaringwords on Make A Difference Day, the largest day of volunteering in the U.S. Soaringwords proud to be a national non-profit partner with USA Weekend and the Hands On Network.  We are hosting events around the country on Friday, Oct. 26 – Oct. 28. Let us know if you’d like to create your own event with friends, family and co-workers or join an existing event. Contact Soaringwords