Soaring Spirits Founder & Executive Director

When my 39 year old husband died in a cycling accident I didn't know any other widowed people. I spent a full year seeking out other widowed people in order to feel understood, just for an hour or two. Meeting other widowed people changed my life. Knowing that the people I met survived their own losses, and found ways to recreate their lives gave me hope that I could do the same. 

Once I found my community, I wanted to share them with the world. Soaring Spirits programs are designed to create and maintain a community of support for widowed people around the world...we just want folks to know that they are not alone. 

  • published Galentine's Day in Events 2018-01-10 10:21:28 -0800

    2nd Annual Galentine's Day Event

    Come Celebrate Friendship with Soaring Spirits!

    Grab your favorite gal pal for the second annual “Galentine’s Day” Event presented by Soaring Spirits International (SSI).

    This night is all about community, laughter and celebrating the love we share with friends! Bring your ladies out for some wild and crazy fun that supports a great cause. Proceeds benefit Soaring Spirit International - a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides resources, tools and a community for widowed people in the U.S. and worldwide. Since 2008 - SSI has served 3,000,000 widowed people.

    6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. – Red Carpet, Cocktail Reception (cash bar), Great Door Prizes
    7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Live Auction
    7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. – Special Viewing of the movie Hitch starring Wil Smith and Ava Mendes

    Extra Special thanks to our incredible sponsors!

    The Junkyard Cafe', The Maids Home Services, and more to come!



    February 08, 2018 at 6pm
    Studio Movie Grill
    1555 Simi Town Center Way
    Simi Valley Town Center
    Simi Valley, CA 93065
    United States
    Google map and directions
    $20.00 USD · rsvp

  • commented on Happy Birthday to Michele, just one L ... 2018-01-02 17:40:25 -0800 · Flag
    Such beautiful words, Kelley. Thank you again, and again.

  • commented on No One To Zip Me Up 2017-08-16 12:58:06 -0700 · Flag
    Wendy, your courage facing everyone of these fears is inspiring. And I sincerely hope you saw the sign up sheet at the front desk where we offer a “zip up” service at Camp Widow! xo M

  • commented on What Remains 2017-07-13 17:02:00 -0700 · Flag
    Bruce and Cathy,

    I am so glad that this writing meant something to you. It’s a gift to share them with you.

    Long live love!

  • published Sam Dreeben in Advisory Board 2017-04-26 00:06:35 -0700

    Dr. Sam Dreeben

    Sam Dreeben

    Dr. Sam Dreeben

    Associate Director for Research - Resiliency Center

    Read more

  • published Jenny Seller in Our Leadership Team 2017-02-04 15:33:15 -0800

    Jenny Sellers

    Jenny SellersJenny Sellers

    Camp Widow Onsite Leadership Team Member

    Joining us from San Diego, Jenny is our newest member of the Camp Widow Leadership Team.  Having attended her first Camp at just 10 weeks post-loss, Jenny developed a true passion for supporting new widows and widowers who attend camp.  In addition to assisting with the Newly Widowed workshop at Camp, she also manages various offsite events and provides additional logistical help to the Executive Team. 

  • published Tembi Locke in Board of Directors 2016-11-19 15:12:45 -0800

  • published Amy Florian in Advisory Board 2016-10-05 21:27:36 -0700

    Amy Florian

    Amy Florian

    Amy Florian

    Thanatologist, CEO, Speaker, Coach

    Read more

  • published Michelle Dippel in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:04:52 -0700

  • published Barbara Frova in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:04:38 -0700

  • published Janine Eggers in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:03:57 -0700

  • published John Tolson in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:03:34 -0700

  • published Terry Marvin in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:03:12 -0700

  • published Carl Dahlberg in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:02:19 -0700

  • published Greg Roman in Board of Directors 2016-06-14 22:02:55 -0700

  • published Membership in Connect 2016-05-30 17:32:52 -0700


    Alumni, Community Supporters and Friends of Soaring Spirits
    Become a Soaring Spirits International Member Today
    Because Hope Matters!

    *Membership is never required for access to services.

    Soaring Spirits provides innovative programs, such as Camp Widow®, Widowed Village, the Newly Widowed Packet Program, Widowed Pen Pal, and the You are Not Alone Outreach. These unique resources have been lifelines, if not live-saving, for widowed men and women trying to rebuild their lives post-loss. 

    You can help fund and sustain these vital services
    by joining the Soaring Spirits International Membership Program.

    Whether you are one of our many alumni who have experienced and benefited from Soaring Spirits’ programs, a family member who’s witnessed a life reclaimed because of our intervention, or a community supporter who wants to reach out to neighbors in need, your contribution will ensure that our inclusive programs continue to thrive and provide
    resources, community and hope to any widowed person in need.


    The mission of Soaring Spirits is to help widowed people find hope, and to find each other.

    We connect and support over three million widowed people in communities across the United States, and around the world; and in eight short years, have become the worldwide leader in providing grief-recovery resources for the widowed.

    Because we LOVE our donors, giving comes with perks!

    Choose your level of giving now:

    $100 per month or $1,200 annual payment

    • Your loved one will be commemorated on a 4x4 photo tribute tile on our Wall of Love permanent installation
    housed at the Soaring Spirits Resilience Center at Schreiner University. 

    • 10% discount at all Camp Widow stores

    • Soaring Spirits full color membership pin

    $25 per month or $300 annual payment

    • Receive “Hopeful Musings” – A limited edition inspirational book written by Soaring Spirits founder Michele Neff Hernandez

    • 10% discount at all Camp Widow stores

    • Soaring Spirits full color membership pin

    $20 per month or $240 annual payment

    • Receive a signature Soaring Spirits mug

    • 10% discount at all Camp Widow stores

    • Soaring Spirits full color membership pin

    $15 per month or $180 annual payment

    • Receive an inspirational custom hand painted token

    • 10% discount at all Camp Widow stores

    • Soaring Spirits full color membership pin

    Your membership will help sustain the programs of Soaring Spirits and ensure that men and women who are widowed tomorrow will have a community of support available to them from the first moment of their widowhood, and for years to come. Thank you. 

    *Soaring Spirits membership provides an opportunity for our community to support Soaring Spirits programs with a small monthly donation. Membership is never required for access to services.



  • donated 2018-01-21 01:28:46 -0800

  • commented on It Took Me Ten Years 2016-05-20 10:49:23 -0700 · Flag
    Susan, you are doing exactly what you need to do for yourself. No one’s timeline matters but yours. Just know that even as you let the things go in whatever time works for you, the love always, always remains.

  • commented on The Widow Word 2016-03-28 11:38:17 -0700 · Flag
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Martha. I am always fascinated by the ways in which the word widow impacts people..both the ones for whom the word applies and those for whom it does not. And, I love the story of Madame Clicquot!

  • commented on Wearing his Clothes 2016-02-22 17:37:14 -0800 · Flag
    Carla, I so get it, I was so afraid as well. But, I can’t even express how much more comfort I’ve gotten from wearing Phil’s clothes (still!) instead of saving them in plastic. Sending love.

I am the director, and founder, of Soaring Spirits International...and I love the work we do!
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