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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!