Soaringwords’ Mission & Timeline
Each year millions of children around the world suffer from chronic or serious illness. 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.
Soaringwords was started by Lisa Honig Buksbaum after three experiences with death and illness in her family. Within a ten-month period, her only sibling died suddenly, her dad had his second bout of cancer and was hospitalized for several months, and her oldest child was catastrophically ill. Today, her son is fully recovered. She has spent the past 16 years to building Soaringwords, a non-profit organization that inspires ill children and families to take active roles in self-healing through expressive arts project that benefit others.
- Lisa closes Boxtree Communications and launches Soaringwords in the spare bedroom in her apartment.
- 70 thought leaders in medicine, education, business, the arts join Advisory Board, co-create psychosocial, educational content and curricula.
- Sam Moed, senior vice president, Global Pharmaceutical Marketing Bristol-Myers Squibb, donates $7,500 seed funding.
- Lisa speaks at Boston Women Communicators , the first public presentation about Soaringwords & meets Lynda Bazin who donates her time to build the first website.
- Greta Rozensweig is hired as the first employee.
- Dr. Ron Taffel, author of seven books, parenting correspondent for The Today Show; columnist Parenting Magazine, joins Advisory board.
- Casey Kaplan is the first pediatric patient to become a SoaringStar featured in Soaringwords’ video.
- Dr. Irwin Redlener, Co-Founder Children’s Health Fund and President, Montefiore Medical Center, joins Advisory Board.
- The launch of Soaringwords’ weekly ten-month Educational Outreach Curricula for fifty third graders and seventh graders at the I Have a Dream Foundation in the Melrose Housing Project, in the Bronx, NY.
- Launch weekly ten-month Hospital Outreach program at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center.
- Rebecca Litwin, Down Etc., designs a prototype for the first SoaringQuilts® and SoaringPillows®.
- Spier New York creates “I am a healer” ad campaign, which runs in USA Today and is seen by 22 million people.
- Website redesigned by Kamal Bherwani.
- Soaringwords office moves out of Lisa’s apartment! Jeff Gural, Chairman, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, donates a 2,000 square foot office in midtown Manhattan which becomes the Soaringwords Learning Lab.
- First large employee engagement event with 355 Deloitte employees mentoring 300 students from PS152 for Impact Day in New York City.
- Hundreds of employee volunteers and children experience Soaringwords civic engagement projects for Goldman Sachs’ Community Team Works and Take Your Child to Work Day in NYC, Chicago, Atlanta & Jersey City.
- First ever Soaringwords’ hands-on Employee Engagement program launches at Verizon’s National Leadership Conference. Lisa was the keynote inspirational speaker for 150 Verizon engineers mentoring hundreds of children from the Boys & Girls Club in Sarasota, Florida.
- Soaringwords wins national “Growing with Technology” award from Cisco Systems. Lisa is the inspirational keynote with Cisco’s CEO John Chambers for 2,000 employees and their families.
- The launch of Soaringwords’ weekly Hospital Outreach programs at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center for pediatric patients and families.
- Lisa Buksbaum was the only non-celebrity honoree chosen for the national “Lives That Make A Difference” award sponsored by A&E Networks.
- MetLife highlights Soaringwords in its Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report.
- Soaringwords leads three healing missions to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of employees from MetLife, A&E TV Networks, Time Warner and American Airlines decorate 2,500 SoaringQuilts® & SoaringPillows® which are donated to ill children in New Orleans.
- Soaringwords is the featured charity in the Focus on Philanthropy in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
- Soaringwords partners with Horizon Media for annual Take Your Child to Work Day in NYC and LA.
- Soaringwords is featured in Fortune Small Business “Comfort for Sick Kids: An entrepreneur taps into the kindness of strangers.”
- Gina Rauscher, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, JetBlue Airways, joins the Board.
- Viacommunity Day: largest number of Viacom volunteers sign up for Soaringwords’ community service projects.
- JetBlue selects Soaringwords as the national charity of choice for its “Light Up a Life” promotion in 60 cities.
- Mark Kershisnik, Global Head of Research, Eli Lilly, joins the Board.
- Eli Lilly & Co. shares Soaringwords Initiatives in Indianapolis Public Schools: 500 Lilly employees mentor 1,500 fourth and fifth graders four times during the year to create meaningful projects to donate to pediatric patients at Wishard Health Services. Community collaboration partners include The United Way, the Central Library and the Indianapolis Board of Education.
- Lisa appears on Good Morning America as a content expert in a feature segment, “Coping with the Loss of a Child” the week after Jett Travolta dies.
- Wendy Breiterman, Global Head, Work Life Programs, Johnson & Johnson invites Soaringwords to create and launch webinars to support families grappling with illness.
- BNY Mellon affinity group employees in eight cities mentor hundreds of opportunity youth to celebrate the national day of service: Make A Difference Day.
- Cisco Systems donates office space at flagship East Coast headquarters located at 1 Penn Plaza, NYC.
- Patricia David, Managing Director, Human Resources, Global Head of Diversity, JPMorgan Chase, joins the Board and is elected Board Chair.
- JPMorgan Chase Volunteer Leadership Groups in eight markets partner with Soaringwords to embrace thousands of local hospitalized children.
- Rachel Gorman, Director of Hospital Outreach & Wellness Education, joins the team.
- Soaringwords presents at the global Zumba Instructor Convention.
- Sponsored by CVS Caremark Foundation, Soaringwords launches webinar “Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver of a Special Needs Child” with Dr. Catherine Lord, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, at the 92 Street Y.
- Jeffrey Russell, Client Senior Managing Director & Life Sciences North America Lead, Accenture, joins the Board.
- Lisa Buksbaum is accepted into the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania in order to bring empirical data into Soaringowrds’ positive interventions. Lisa attends this program while working full-time at Soaringwords.
- The launch of a weekly, 10-month Educational Outreach program for 75 students at P.S.1 in Chinatown, NYC. The launch of empirical research study to measure the impact of Soaringwords’ interventions on the well-being of students.
- Lisa Buksbaum receives her second masters and graduates from the University of Pennsylvania (her undergraduate alma mater). Her Capstone Thesis: Soaringwords Empirical Research to Measure the Well-Being of Hospitalized Children is accepted and published on Scholarly Commons.
- Soaringwords partnered with leading Positive Psychology practitioners to bring healing videos and activities to hospitalized children.
- 723 licensed Zumba instructors from around the world sign up to lead free monthly Soaringwords + Zumba classes in pediatric hospitals.
- Launch 5-week empirical Educational outreach study for 70 Summer School students in NYC.
- Launch weekly 10-month empirical Educational outreach study at PS75, PS84 and PS163 in NYC.
- Johnson & Johnson’s Global IT Group donates new iteration of Soaringwords.org website.
- Soaringwords + Zumba Fitness program expands to several markets.
- Lisa selects dozens of extraordinary children and families to profile in her first book, SOARING into Strength: The New Science Approach to Help You Heal.
- Soaringwords is honored to become the official charity tie-in partner at the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress.
- Soaringwords + Zumba = Love for Hospitalized Children initiative doubles in reach since 2013.
- Soaringwords was selected and Lisa Buksbaum gave presentations at several global Positive Psychology conferences. These included the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA) Congress; European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) in Angers, France; and the first International Positive Education Network (IPEN) Festival in Orlando, Florida. Soaringwords was honored to be the opening event charity tie-in partner at CPPA and ECPP. Lisa was invited to present at the Wholebeing Institute Embodied Positive Psychology Summit at the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts.
- Soaringwords + Zumba = Love for Hospitalized Children initiative continues to grow. Recording artists wrote songs for the Soaringwords collaboration.
- Soaringwords was featured in a special Children’s Health Report in the December issue of Delta Sky Magazine. View here.
- Dr. Angela Duckworth filmed a Soaringwords video on the power of grit the night before her best-selling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance launched. Watch here.
- Lisa took a six-week sabbatical to complete her first book, SOARING into Strength: The New Science Approach to Help You Heal.
- Johnson & Johnson’s global We Belong initiative selected Soaringwords for the not-for-profit partner so that thousands of employee volunteers in Suzhou, China (photo); Bogota, Colombia; Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Manila, Philippines came together to decorate hundreds of SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows with inspirational messages and artwork to donate to ill children in these four countries. Employee volunteers also created SoaringSuperhero messages and artwork.
- Soaringwords added new workshops and webinars based on the SOARING into Strength model.
1. Lisa led a SOARING into Strength Innovation workshop for 5,000 employees at Johnson & Johnson
2. Soaringwords was the hands-on service project at WeWork’s Global Creator Awards
3. NYLife chose Soaringwords as the national Month of Service partner, employee volunteers across the country made expressive art projects to donate to hospitalized children
4. Soaringwords launched 6-week alternative school program for troubled youth in NYC public schools
5. Lisa presented at Canadian Conference of Positive Psychology and the European Conference of Positive Psychology
6. Lisa led eight workshops for Re-Imagine End of Life conference in NYC
- Lisa was the Scholar-in-Residence at Tecmilenio, the largest university in Mexico
- Cisco employees and their children created hundreds of SoaringSuperhero® puppets to celebrate Take Your Child to Work Day, continuing the collaboration for the 10th year
- Lisa was the keynote speaker at Doshisha Business School in Kyoto, Japan where she led a talk on Growth Mindset that was shared with people from 20 countries
- Lisa presented Soaringwords’ empirical research at the Intl. Positive Psychology World Congress in Australia
- Jersey City Health & Human Services partners with Soaringwords to improve health outcomes for Jersey City residents and HHS staff