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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Soaring Spirits International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Care, Mental Health, Philanthropy, Private Grantmaking Foundations, Public Health

Mission: Soaring Spirits builds community. We create, and maintain, innovative peer-based grief support programs that serve a worldwide population. Based on the powerful connections created by shared experience, we endeavor to ensure that no one need grieve the death of a spouse or life partner alone.

Results: Soaring Spirits assessed program effectiveness in a survey of 877 widows and widowers. Respondents who used Soaring Spirits’ programs reported higher levels of each of the following when compared to respondents who do not use any Soaring Spirits’ programs: Resilience, Hope, Personal growth since the loss of their spouse, and Self esteem.

Target demographics: Any widowed person regardless of age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation

Geographic areas served: Worldwide

Programs: Soaring Spirits creates and maintains innovative and life-affirming events, groups, and on-line programs that provide vital access to hope for widowed people everywhere. Our programs include: Camp Widow, Widowed Village, Widowed Pen Pal, Widow's Voice Blog Library, Regional Social Events, You Are Not Alone Outreach, Share the Road Ride, and Widow Dash.

Community Stories

231 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for taking the time to come speak to our class at USC about your organization. Soaring Spirits is giving hope to so many people. Keep doing what you are doing!

Review from JustGive

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has done an amazing thing: it has saved a life. In fact, it has saved many lives. I know that I am here today because of this organization and I am now on the board of SSLF because I believe in it so much. Other widowed people have personally told me their stories and that they, too, wouldn't be alive if it were not for SSLF and the work we do. We support people who find themselves somewhere they never expected to be: widowed and on a very, very hard path. SSLF lets them know that they are not alone and we are here for them. We give unlimited encouragement, hope, strength, moral support, sometimes financial support, and the chance to bond with other young widowed people. And those bonds are instant and strong. This is the most deserving nonprofit I've ever worked with. We give hope. And that's a very big thing to have.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SSLF has helped more people than we will probably ever know. There aren't adequate words to say how they help those in the midst of the most devastating point in their lives to know that they're not alone and they are understood. I would dare to say that this organization has saved the lives of grieving people ..... figuratively AND literally. We have a place to know that what we are experiencing and feeling is normal .... that we're not crazy and that it's possible to survive. It gives us hope to see that someone who is "further out" is doing OK. We definitely need to help SSLF keep growing to keep helping the thousands and thousands of us out there. There are very few organizations for widows/widowers. And that is a tragedy. SSLF needs this grant to address that tragedy and help more people know that it is possible to live again. Live differently, but live happily, too.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Soaring Spirits offers HOPE to those who have lost a spouse/significant other. I found them a year and a half into my journey of grief after loosing my husband. When you experience the forever life changing event of loosing your spouse, this group offers support like no other. They know the anguish you feel and give you the shoulder you need to lean on, allow you to cry and share. I would not have healing without these beautiful people (men and women).

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has been the turning point in my grief healing. This group has an insight to a part of life that no one wants to talk about or deal with, They offer a support without judgment to anyone who has lost someone close. Tears are allowed and never frowned upon. There is always a kind word of encouragement and hugs abound.

SSLF is a group that allows you to accept the pain of your loss and the reality of a happy and content future for yourself.

bfrova

Board Member

Rating: 5

It has been amazing to watch this organization grow and positively impact the lives of so many widowed people. From the face-to-face Camp Widow West and Camp Widow East programs, Widowed Village on-line community, to the Widow's Voice blog. Widowed at a young age, all of the support systems around me were for those much older and none that related to me. I wish this organization had been around years before it was. Amazing organization!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I lost my husband to ALS after a 4 year battle. At the time where was no organization or support system for younger widows. Soaring Spirits and Camp Widow provides so much support and encouragement to widows and widowers of all ages. Widowhood is not one of those groups you want to become a member of, but through SSLF you regain a sense of hope and community. Amazing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I continue to be amazed at the work being done at Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. It has been an amazing gift to so many who have lost their beloved spouses. Keep up the wonderful mission, Soaring Spirits.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known the founder of this organization for many years and deeply appreciate the amazing service Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation is providing to so many women. As clinical director of a nonprofit social service agency, I had the opportunity to see first hand what a well-run nonprofit organization can do to change the world. SSLF is changing the world in such a concrete and wonderful ways. The work of SSLF is so needed in our world. As a mother, I witnessed the great need for an organization like SSLF when my son died at age 31 and left a young widow and two small children. The resources were slim at the time. Today, SSLF is there changing lives!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Death Sucks! The t-shirt says it all. As a widow of long years, I am pleased to find a peer-organization that understands the need for compassion, humanity, and humor in times when all three can literally save lives and mend emotions.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have followed Andrea (andrearemembers) for quite some time and am amazed and astounded at the help, love and support she has received from your Soaring Spirits. I have walked by my Mother's side for 3 plus years since she lost my Dad after 58 years of marriage. Some people would say she is one of the lucky ones, she had a full life with him. Grief is grief regardless of the length of time you had your loved one. I think this soft place to fall for the widows and widowers is such a blessing. Please continue your great work and my God bless you.

Wendy D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor when i was 9 months pregnant with our second child. He died 3 short weeks later when our daughter was 10 days old and our son was 17 months old. I was 38 years old and had no idea where to go to for support even though I live in a big city.

I turned to the internet to search out people like me...young and widowed. I came across SSLF and the Widow's Voice blog and immediately felt a strong connection to the writers and the other widowed people online. I cannot stress enough how much having these connections have helped me in my journey. I never would have found such a supportive and understanding community without SSLF. They have created an organization that provides resources, support and friendships to those of us in this unenviable club. I'm so thankful for their presence!

Katie S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having been introduced unwillingly to the arena of young widows and those facing tragic loss by a member of this organization who is a personal friend, I can speak to the necessity and value of this organization as a vehicle for support, healing and hope. SSLF fills an underserved need....and I, for one, am grateful for their mission and dedication to helping those like my friend journey back to being whole and happy after suffering a devastating loss. My highest recommendation goes to this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSLF and Camp Widow made me feel like I wasn't alone. It took being with other widows to finally not feel like one anymore. It is empowering to be connected to a community of people who have experienced a similar tragedy. It shows us that we can indeed survive, and thrive.

There are no other organizations like SSLF, and no other events like Camp Widow. It fills a unique gap in the care community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There are limited resources out there for the recently widowed, but soaring spirits works extremely hard to fill that void. As a young widower with a baby and a toddler I was, and still am, in a extremely small and unfortunate minority. Soaring spirits connected me, and numerous others, with people and resources that I would otherwise be without. Until you're in such a situation you have no idea how import such an organization really is.

Michelle C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Andrea Row after she and her beautiful children moved next door to me and my family. Andrea and i soon became close friends of which I then heard the story of what had happened to Matt. All I could think of was "How is she getting through each day with such small children and still portrays amazing strength?". As I have gotten to know Andrea she has expressed to me that Soaring Spirits has been a place of comfort and a resource to reach out to other Men and Women going through similar situations. She believes so much in what Soaring Spirits has done for her that she wants to give back and help others by working with Soaring Spirits. We all Love Andrea and the kids and only want the best for her as she approaches each day with such courage and compassion.

Thank you Soaring Spirits for being there for my friend!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I don't like to talk about what happened much, but they let me have my space. There's still so much I can't say because.

That's all.

Norita D.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I got to know The Row Family when their son Jacob was in my class. What a loving family. Our whole school was so sad when we heard of Matt's accident and death. Andrea and her kids have been through so much since this happened. I can see Andrea getting stronger and looking at life in a more postive way...with the help of Soaring Spirits. This is a Foundation that seems to help the whole family when they really need help the most!!!!! Way-to-go. Love you all.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My friend Andrea tragically lost her husband Matt on November 15, 2008. Since that time Andrea has had to readjust to life without him. A life she never planned - raising two amazing children by herself, relocating to a new home, starting a new career. Soaring Spirits has helped her grow, heal and live new experiences. She has attended "Camp Widow" and is excited to attend again this year! I know that she looks forward to the events and time together with other members.

I find it difficult to put into words what Soaring Spirits has done for my dear friend. I believe that it has placed a patch on her broken heart - one that while it probably will never be fully healed - is secure enough to have the smile returned to her beautiful face and that is what Matt (and the rest of her family) is so happy to see. It has been an invaluable tool for her the past couple of years and I am forever thankful to everyone at Soaring Spirits who have helped Andrea on this journey.

Rick H.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

My best friend, Matt, died tragically on Nov. 15, 2008. I lived with the loss (and still do) and witnessed the destruction it had on Andrea and her kids life. My wife and I did what we could, be there is only so much you can do. Since Andrea has been involved withSoaring Spirits I have seen her recover (as much as one can) from her loss and build a new life again. It makes me happy to see her moving on and enjoying her life. Thank you Soaring Spirits!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I feel my daughter-in-law Andrea has received a lot of support and love through Soaring Spirits since the untimely death of Matt. She has attended conferences, met many women living in the same situation and made a lot of friends, which is so meaningful. It matters not how the loss - albeit a long suffering illness or a sudden death, she understands the full impact of losing her husband, friend, lover and is sympathetic and helpful to others in her situation.

I wish there was a Soaring Spirits for Mothers that have lost a child....maybe I should start one!

Client Served

Rating: 4

My sister, Andrea Row, sufferd the loss of her amazing husband and father to her two young children: Sydney (3) and Jacob (6) over 2 years ago. I also lost my brother-in-law, who was every bit the brother - law or no law. Following this sudden and tragic loss, Andrea was fortunate to find the Soaring Spirits Foundation. The Foundation introduced her to a network of caring, supportive people, who have all been dealt a "bad hand", enduring the loss of a loving spouse. I believe it was the compassion and understanding shared by Foundation members which helped Andrea with the greiving process and to find renewed meaning and purpose after her loss. The Soaring Spirits Foundation provided an extraordinary role instilling hope for a better future.

Marcie S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My Husband's cousin Andrea lost the love of her life and father of her children in a work accident, it was a terrible situation that no one should ever have to endure, but there are many people unfortunately who do suffer from the loss of a spouse daily. Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has helped Andrea cope through her loss, by getting her involved with others who have suffered the same loss. She is not alone and has many people supporting her, through this foundation, she wishes to do the same for others, provide support!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you to the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation for all of the help you provide to the widows and widowers out there. I have witnessed all of the good it can do after my cousin lost the love of her life in a tragic work accident and was left with 2 small children at home. She got involved with your organization and was able to connect with people that understood and that were going through similar experiences. Your organization has provided her and continues to provide her with the added comfort and support that she needs after the loss of my cousin! Thank you and please continue the beautiful work you are doing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of our employees, Matt Row, died at work in a tragic accident - it's been difficult on us (as friends), but especially hard on his family. For a wife to lose a husband at a very young age, with two small children to raise is unfathamable. It seems her saving Grace has been in two areas. The strong support from her (& Matt's) family and Soaring Spirits. In reading her blog and in general conversations, I could tell that Soaring Spirits made a difference in her life. Although she is still sad, and missing Matt everyday, Soaring Spirits has helpled her through this very difficult time.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you so much for all the work you are doing at soaring spirits. My husband lost his 1st wife unexpectedly. We attended camp widow last year and my husband was able to connect with so many other widow(ers). We attended workshop about grief and recovery -- it was so very helpful to both of us. We also read widow's voice for help and encouragement that we are not alone in this. Connecting with others ont he same journey helps so, so much -- and soaring spritis has enabled that connection to happen for us and for so many others. We are looking forward to attending camp widow again this year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so glad that programs such as Soaring Spirits exist. When my friend tragically lost her husband, she desperately needed to communicate with people who had walked in her shoes. She was able to find that through Soaring Spirits. As a friend, I can only do or say so much, and without having experienced her pain, it's impossible to know what she needs to hear. I am so happy to see how much Soaring Spirits has been able to help her and how it continues to help her in ways that only they can.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support SSLF and all the amazing things they are doing for widows everywhere.

Sarah P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSLF has changed my life in so many ways. I lost my husband in 2009 after a 2 year battle with cancer. He was 26 when he passed away. I was 27. The devastating loss was just compounded by the feelings of loneliness felt in not having any around me that I could relate to. To be so young and deal with so much is so difficult, and doing it alone makes it almost unbearable. When I found SSLF online through other widows that I met on facebook, my whole life changed. Not only was I not the only widow in the world, but I wasn't the only 27 year old widow whose husband died from cancer. Finally someone to relate to. Someone who knew exactly how I felt. I love SSLF. I see women just like me who have moved forward with their lives and I know it is possible. The support and love that radiates from everyone involved in SSLF is so overwhelming. They are an amazing organization. I hope they can continue to help other lost souls like me.

Gregory R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My Brother Matt died in 2008 in a work related accident. SSLF has helped my Sister in Law Andrea in so many ways I cant even find the words to describe the support and dedication to helping her deal with the loss of her life. Thank You Greg Row

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Soaring Spirits has helped my Aunt Andrea a lot. Since the death of my Uncle Matt, and her soul mate, she has gone to the conferences and being surrounded by people who could actually truly understand how she was feeling. She could laugh with them, cry with them and have a good time. I think this foundation is necessary, many people struggle with the loss of a spouse and I think without a foundation like this, that struggle would be longer and harder.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From what I have heard the organization has helped MANY widowed individuals in their time of need. It is VERY important for an organization like this one to be around because being in the situation of a widower it can be a very scarry time especially if you have no one to share this frightening expereince with. Keep up the good work!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have witnessed the effect that Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has had on a friend who tragically lost her husband. She received outstanding support from those who had actually stood in her shoes. They are there for widows during the worst times, and continue to be there long after.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen and experienced the work that Soaring Spirits does. I am grateful for their efforts and life-changing work.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization- one that serves people in their time of greatest need. I know firsthand that after experiencing the sudden loss of a family member, support from people who've been there means EVERYTHING. These organizations are few & far between. I have seen how Soaring Spirits has helped a friend. After losing her spouse, this organization was there for her. She has begun helping others through this group. One thing that can help with a loss is trying to make something, anything, positive come out of the situation. SSLF has done this for my friend. She has used her pain & experience to reach out toward other widows. I wish no one ever had to lose a loved one, but since that is not reality, I am so grateful this organization exists.

Maia H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Soaring Spirits is an amazing organization. I have personally seen it make a huge positive impact on a friend who tragically lost her husband. I hope I never am in the position to have to use their services myself, but if I was, I know that they would be one of my first calls.

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm proud to be the 200th reviewer, since I think this organization is amazing and really deserves recognition for all the hard work and good that they do in the community and for widows all over the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I support SSLF and am grateful for the services of helping widows and providing them with necessary contacts to aid in the grieving process.

Donor

Rating: 5

I wish there were some way that I could help aside from money, since that's so limited. I hope that SSLF wins.

Donor

Rating: 5

I donated on behalf of all the women in my life, hoping they will never need such services.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped out at the first Widow 5K and only wish that I was able to go again in 2010. The widows there are inspiring.

Donor

Rating: 5

When my daughter lost her husband I was at a complete loss for words. Nothing so terrible has ever happened in my family. I'm so glad she found SSLF to help her through the grief that only another widow can truly understand

Donor

Rating: 5

I am glad that my sister went to the SSLF conference last year. I think it really helped her with the grieving process.

Donor

Rating: 5

My sister was widowed and was in vast need of help and community. I was so grateful that she found SSLF where people understand what she is going through.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support SSLF every year through a well deserved donation. They do so much good for widows in our community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

After our daughter was widowed last year, it was amazing to see how just knowing that an organization like Soaring Spirits even existed had powerfully positive effect on her. When we actually met Michele and other supporters of -- and beneficiaries of -- Soaring Spirits at the 12/4 NYC Event in NYC, we understood even more what an important role Soaring Spirits plays. And she is looking forward even more to the program this August at Camp Widow. Thank you for all you do.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I appreciate all the work of the members of SSLF and their commitment.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I hope SSLF finds a means of increasing funding so that they can help more widows and families in need.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My friend Beth really benefited greatly from this foundation. She asked me to write this review. Thanks SSLF.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My widow match was a life saver and we are now the best of friends. I didn't think my loss could ever have brought me something this beautiful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I live in San Diego and fully support the efforst of SSLF.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can't express enough how much I needed SSLF when I found them online. Thank you, Michele, for all your personal attention and commitment

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know of SSLF through friends and I think their work is amazing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think that helping widows to deal with their loss through community and communication is an amazing idea.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I hope my review can help SSLF to advance their worthy cause

Donor

Rating: 5

As a member of the military I really understand the need for grieving persons to find support in community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended Widow Camp with my aunt and it was really amazing to be involved with the foundation.

Donor

Rating: 5

I donated as a tribute to an uncle who I never knew.

Donor

Rating: 5

I donated in honor of my mother, who cares about all causes for women.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Just lost my husband less than two weeks ago, and SSLF has already been a comfort to me.

Donor

Rating: 5

I hope that my donation and this review help to advance the cause of the SSLF.

Donor

Rating: 5

I donated due to a loss in my family that made it clear how necessary an organization like this one is to our community.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've never been married, but witnessing such a loss in my family was extremely hard. I'm grateful for SSLF

Donor

Rating: 5

I think it's crucial to provide this kind of understanding support for grieving persons.

Donor

Rating: 5

My family lost someone suddenly and it was really hard. I'm glad SSLF is here to help others going through that experience

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know from losing a family member that it's a very difficult time and much support is needed.

Donor

Rating: 5

When I think about how hard it is to lose a parent, I know it must be just as hard to lose a partner. That's why I donated to SSLF.

Donor

Rating: 5

I know someone who lost her husband and it hurts my heart just to think about it. I fully support SSLF.