Hello from Lisa, Soaringwords News, SoaringStar, SoaringHealth & Wellness, Be in Touch
Dear <<First Name>>,

It's been a non-stop adventure since our last newsletter! The only thing constant has been CHANGE, GROWTH, and MOVEMENT. 

I was honored to speak at three international conferences: the Canadian Positive Psychology Conference in Ontario; the European Conference on Positive Psychology in Angers, France; and the first-ever International Positive Education Network Festival in Dallas, TX. These conferences had thousands of attendees and went from early in the morning to the wee hours of the night. I have met many new collaboration partners from around the world and look forward to sharing these exciting new developments with you.


Imagine my surprise when I returned to NYC a bit jet-lagged and walked into the JCC of Manhattan for my 6:30 morning swim. I stopped at the front door and looked at the JCC July poster. There was a photo from a memorable Laughter Yoga workshop I'd attended led by the fabulous Beth Kaplan Bongar. I looked more closely at the photo. Yes, that was my own face smiling at me! This was a unique "welcome back home" experience that kept getting better. Throughout the month (or the two weeks I was actually not traveling to conferences) I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame as many security guards, lifeguards, 80-year-old ladies from the pool, and muscle guys in the gym said things like, "Hey, I saw your smiling face in the elevator" or "Is that you on the poster?" Their comments proved that when you are having an amazing time, it shows. Soaringwords is now going to collaborate with Beth to create a Laughter Yoga video for hospitalized children and families. 

Speaking of smiles, I know you will be beaming with smiles and laughter when you join me at our next Soaringwords Soiree! Stay tuned for details as we plan this upcoming event.
Sending you strength and much love,
T.646-674-7105, C.917-499-3783, lisa@soaringwords.org


Soaringwords News

Recent cool Soaringwords events.

Board Match Takes NYC By Storm

On June 8th, Soaringwords was one of 100 not-for-profit organizations invited to the East Coast launch of Board Match at the New York Hilton ballroom. There, one thousand professionals from a range of fields searched to find the perfect "match" with the not-for-profit organization that matched their passions, talents, and dreams. Soaringwords' "dream team" of staff, board members, and interns met more than 100 professionals in three hours. As a result, we have successfully added three outstanding new members to our Board of Directors: Michel Azoulay, Chief Operating Officer, Aurora Biopharma; Shawn Troutt, Legal Director, Cloud & Services Legal Team, Cisco Systems; and Hana Shahin, Accounting Manager, MacAndrews and Forbes. In addition, LaCanas Tucker, Project Manager, Risk Management, KPMG, and Chancellor Moy, Vice President, Bank of America, have joined Soaringwords' Young Leadership Board. We are confident that with these new board members' guidance and knowledge, Soaringwords will grow even stronger.

Left photo: The Soaringwords team at Board Match, from left: Thomas Estler, Volunteer Leader; Jonathan Buksbaum, Co-Chair of Young Leadership Board; Lisa Buksbaum; Alex Costa, Soaringwords Intern; and Caren Raphael, Soaringwords Board Member.

Center photo: Lisa with John Power, Executive Director of Board Match

Right photo: New board members visit Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital for real-world Soaringwords experience with patients and families. From left: Hana Shahin, Lisa, Michel Azoulay, and Shawn Troutt.

Canadian Positive Psychology Association Conference

On June 16th, Lisa traveled to the Third Annual Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology (CPPA) at the stunning White Oaks Resort and Spa at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. She co-presented a one-hour workshop called "Shake Your Body: Positive Movement Throughout the Lifespan" with Dr. Elaine O'Brien, fellow graduate of the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program from the University of Pennsylvania. The audience experienced the powerful benefits of movement, social support, and Soaringwords' signature "paying it forward" activities while they laughed, learned, and danced. Soaringwords will be collaborating with several of the positive psychology leaders Lisa met in Ontario.  

That evening, all CPPA conference attendees were invited to let loose by attending a SOARINGWORDS LOVE FEST. The fabulous Lea Waters, Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology and Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, was the emcee, sharing her enormous heart with the crowd. Lisa shared a short inspirational talk on "How Soaringwords was Born," as well as photos and testimonials from patients and families who benefit from 50 weekly and monthly Soaringwords + Zumba experiences in pediatric hospitals around the world.

Next, Lisa introduced several talented Canadian dancers who got everyone into the zone with a 90-minute high energy experience that rocked the conference. ZJ™ Mylene Facchini and the "Men of Montreal" dance troupe, featuring ZIN™ members Jordan Leblond, Jonathan Benoit, Dexter Day Bustos, and Adam Nugent, kept the party going as they led a Zumba® Master Class for a crowd of eager, sweaty professionals. The CPPA participants then created 114 SoaringSuperhero puppets for children at SickKids Hospital in Toronto and McMaster Children's Hospital in Ontario. All in all, the event was an amazing and fun experience for all involved! Special thanks to Sajel Bellon, Conference Chair; Louisa Jewell, Founder of the CPPA; and Kim Cameron, Conference Educational Chair, for their love and support.

Photos left to right: Lisa and Dr. Elaine O'Brien; SOARING LOVE FEST; Prof. Lea Waters, Director of the Center for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, LOVE FEST emcee.  More Photos

European Conference on Positive Psychology

Ten days later, Lisa and Elaine traveled to the European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) in Angers, France. The conference opened on June 28th with a rocking SOARING LOVE FEST. This time, volunteers gathered for a Zumba® Master Class led by the fabulous ZJ™ Mary Ellen Thompson and ZIN™ Maxime Gauduchon. The group created dozens of SoaringSuperhero puppets for hospitalized children. 

Lisa was honored to deliver some remarks in the opening session with the impressive Conference Chair Charles Martin-Krumm. On July 29th, Lisa and Elaine once again presented "Shake Your Body" to a lively and energetic audience. Linda Ugelow, performer, mentor, and motivational speaker, warmed up the audience with her powerful workshop on the healing power of movement, "Embodied Experience: Improving Well-Being Through Expressive Movement!" More Photos

New York Life: Volunteers for Good

We love our New York Life volunteers! Each month they come together to escape into a fun Soaringwords expressive arts activity for a couple of hours to inspire hospitalized children to "Never give up!" In May, 80 employees created SoaringOrigami, which really activated their creativity muscles. Special thanks to team co-captains Kyle Eng, Judy Leung, and Jessica Saavedra.

In June, 102 employees created SoaringDreamcatchers, based on the Native American legend that nightmares or bad thoughts get caught in the dream catcher's web and evaporate in the morning sun. This project is a very powerful gift for hospitalized children as it helps to reframe their mindsets to be more positive and receptive to thoughts that strengthen their resilience, hope and agency. Thank you to our amazing New York Life team leaders Alexandra Capodieci, Jeanette Leberto, and Allison Klasson for making the event such a resounding success. 

In July, 105 volunteers worked on 200 SoaringSigns for hospitalized children to hang on the doors of their rooms. These creative, colorful, and heartwarming bamboo signs will help children make their hospital room or bed areas more cheerful and comfortable. Once again, thank you to our team leaders Kyle Eng, Judy Leung, and Jessica Saavedra who always bring the crowd, the tunes, and great energy to pull off an amazing event. 

We hope to see everyone at our next New York Life event on August 11th. We will be creating SoaringToteBags and SoaringBookmarks! Please register on the New York Life intranet or email dori@soaringwords.orgMore Photos

Cresa Cares
Special thanks to Gene Sachs for the generous donation of $5,000 from the Cresa Cares Fund. He announced the winning 25 not-for-profit partners at the Annual Cresa National Leadership meeting in Phoenix and Soaringwords is honored to receive this vote of confidence.   

Above: Jonathan Buksbaum, VP, Cresa New York, and Co-chair, Soaringwords Young Leadership Board presents the check for Soaringwords to Lisa at Cresa New York Headquarters.

Kiki's Bat Mitzvah
On June 19, Kiki Levin decided to enhance her bat mitzvah celebration by inviting 100 of her friends and guests to decorate SoaringQuilts and SoaringPillows to donate to hospitalized children at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. Everyone loved sharing inspirational messages and artwork to brighten the days of hospitalized children and families. If you'd like to bring meaning and fun to your next celebration, anniversary party, team-building event or family holiday, please contact Soaringwords to see how we can add a pay-it-forward project to your festivities. Learn more here.

Special Shout out to 2016 Soaringwords Summer Interns


Since May, our amazing class of super-resilient, super-dedicated summer interns has been making serious contributions each day. Alex Costa, Cornell University, Class of 2018 and Mara Stein, Colgate University, Class of 2019, worked closely with Lisa to finalize eight dazzling new Soaringwords Workshops which will be launched in the fall. These workshops include: Positive Psychology Master Class; Soaring Character Strengths; SoaringNutrition; Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver; SoaringResiliency: Overcoming the Seven Thinking Traps; Soaring Imagery; Soaring Narrative: the Healing Power of Storytelling, Reading, and Writing; and Soaring Gratitude: Celebrating Moments of Gratitude.

Hannah Rittenberg and Yedida Holzer were the driving forces behind many Soaringwords volunteer events, tirelessly preparing materials for hundreds of delighted participants. Zahava Presser and Yedida shared their artistry in illustrating a new set of Soaringwords Imagery exercises as well as customizing VIP SoaringQuilts with images of well-loved celebrities for the Silent Auction at the upcoming Soaringwords Soiree. Thanks to all for a great summer of excellent effort, output, learning and healing!  

Photos left to right: Mara, Yedida, and Hannah prepare materials at New York Life; Yedida, Hannah, Mara, and Alex display SoaringDreamcatachers at New York Life; Yedida and Zahava show off their SoaringVisualizations artwork.

Dori Tenenbaum, Soaringwords Engagement Manager

We would love to welcome Dori Tenenbaum to our team! Dori brings considerable talent, tenacity and heart to her role as Soaringwords Engagement Manager. Dori is responsible for collaborating with Soaringwords corporate employee engagement partners, hundreds of Zumba instructors who lead weekly or monthly Soaringwords + Zumba = Love for Hospitalized Children initiative, the Soaringwords Board of Directors, and the Soaringwords Leadership Board.

Dori hails from Toronto where she worked as a Constituency Assistant for a Canadian member of Parliament. At the Israel Museum, she digitized the museum's collections and worked closely with curators on special projects. She also has experience as a Development Associate for the Areivim Philanthropy Group and served as Co-chair for the Masa Israel New York Alumni Board.

Dori loves to run half-marathons, raising funds for ill children and families. She has a passion for live music and actively partakes in New York City's vibrant music scene. Dori loves attending movie screenings and premieres and celebrating moments of awe and gratitude each day.

Dori holds a BA from York University and a grant writing certificate from the Foundation Center.
Health & Wellness: Lea Waters

For centuries, the family has been the foundation of healthy and vibrant cultures and societies. But in today's modern and harried world, often screen time seems more significant than family time.
This paradox makes the work of Professor Lea Waters, Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, all the more essential.

In 2009, Lea noticed that scientists were not studying what makes parents flourish or how to help parents raise strong children. Her first book The Strong Child: Building Resilience, Optimism, and Achievement will be published by Penguin Press in 2017. 

Fall Internship Program

Soaringwords is now accepting applications for the fall internship program. Please share this with any mature high school students, college students or adults who are in transition and looking to make meaningful contributions to a fast-growing not-for-profit organization.

Link to application here
Soaringwords' mission is to lessen the negative impact of serious illness by embracing hospitalized children, families and staff, encouraging positive health and healing. Soaringwords provides fun, creative and educational activities both in person and online based on positive psychology concepts that enhance well-being in the midst of illness. Soaringwords is unique because it is the only organization that motivates ill children and their families to "pay it forward" which fosters altruism, reciprocity, empathy, well-being and resilience. 

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Send us an email heal@soaringwords.org
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