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.