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 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

    • 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

    • 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

    • Receive a signature Soaring Spirits mug

    • 10% discount at all Camp Widow stores

    • Soaring Spirits full color membership pin

    $15 per month

    • 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. If you would like to join Soaring Spirits as an annual member, please click here

    Please note that membership is never required for access to services.  



  • donated 2019-07-21 03:12:10 -0700

    Recurring Donation

    *All donations are processed in US$


  • commented on It Took Me Ten Years 2016-05-20 10:49:23 -0700
    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
    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
    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.

  • commented on So What Day 2016-02-13 15:31:53 -0800
    Thank you for sharing your story, Lisa. I love that you buy a card each year to honor your love.

  • commented on Touching the Past 2016-01-05 14:24:03 -0800
    I can feel your pain, Morgan. I honor the struggle to find meaning when the obvious and beloved meaning is no longer sharing your daily life. It took me awhile to love the person that grief and death has shaped, and I totally get not liking the changes that grief has handed you without your permission.

    I am sending you love and light today, and just a note to say I hear you.

  • commented on Thanksgiving Through the Widowed Years 2015-11-18 12:51:26 -0800
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Marilyn. I am so grateful to be able to have a part in helping you through one of what will likely be many shifts along this widowed journey. Know that you will never walk this road alone, your love will be beside you every step of the way. I will be thinking of you on Thanksgiving Day.

  • published Sponsorship Opportunity in Share The Road Ride 2015-08-21 20:12:45 -0700

    Sponsorship Opportunity

    Sponsor or dedicate a mile of the Share the Road Ride! Your business, organization or dedication will be featured at the start line for all three of our rides on October 3!

    1 mile $25
    5 miles $100
    10 miles $200
    15 miles $300

    Your business name or dedication will be listed for every mile you sponsor!


  • wants to volunteer 2015-08-07 11:59:16 -0700


    VolunteerAll of our innovative programs are powered by volunteers who spend their time serving our widowed community. Led by our National Volunteer Coordinator, Dianne West, our volunteer team works both onsite, and from the comfort of their own homes.

    Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

    • Widowed Village support team
    • Widow’s Voice blog writers
    • Share the Road Ride and Widow Dash committees
    • Community Outreach

    Onsite Volunteer Opportunities

    • Camp Widow®
    • Soaring Spirits events
    • In the Soaring Spirits office
    • Regional Group Leader

    Our volunteers help ensure that our programs run smoothly, and are consistently available to the next widowed person who needs to know that they are not alone.

    If you’d like to make a difference by becoming a Soaring Spirits volunteer, please fill out the form below.

    Become a volunteer

  • published Donate Now in Get Involved 2015-04-25 13:30:38 -0700

    Donate Now

    Donate NowThank you for supporting the programs, and the mission, of Soaring Spirits with your gift!

    Donations can be made on a one-time basis or you can join our community of recurring monthly donors. Any donation can be dedicated to the memory of someone you love.

    We consider the opportunity to work in your loved one's memory a privilege.  

    One-Time Donation
    Recurring Donation
    Dedicate Newly Widowed Packets

    Donations gratefully accepted by mail at:
    2828 Cochran St. #194
    Simi Valley, CA 93065

    Providing a network of support for the millions of people who will be widowed in the coming years is not possible without your generous gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • published Financials in About Us 2015-04-07 21:50:13 -0700


    Soaring Spirits is committed to utilizing all funding we receive to further our mission of providing support communities for widowed people around the world.

    A full, independent financial audit was completed in May of 2012, and we received an unqualified audit letter. Independent financial audits will be completed at a minimum of every five years, and posted for public review. Our 2016 audit, with a review for each year between audits, will be completed and posted for review by 8/31/2017. Soaring Spirits files an IRS 990 tax form annually, forms can be reviewed via the GuideStar link below. 

    Soaring Spirits has earned the GuideStar Platinum Exchange Seal, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

    Click Here For Details

  • published Board of Directors in About Us 2015-04-07 21:24:46 -0700

    Board of Directors

    Terry Marvin
    Posted by · June 14, 2016 10:20 PM

    Michelle Dippel
    Posted by · June 14, 2016 10:11 PM

    Barbara Frova
    Posted by · June 14, 2016 10:07 PM

    See all posts

  • published Home 2015-04-07 21:11:14 -0700


    You Are Not Alone

    Widowed people created Soaring Spirits because we discovered that connecting with other widowed people made the challenges of surviving a spouse or partner a little easier to manage.

    There is a widowed community here at Soaring Spirits that offers widowed men and women understanding, friendship, inspiration, and encouragement as they learn to live without the person with whom they intended to spend the rest of their lives. 

    Soaring Spirits communities, both online and in-person, are diverse, inclusive, secular, and positive. We share resources, ideas, energy, and most importantly, hope.

    We believe that hope matters.

  • published Question 1? in FAQs 2015-03-05 22:17:27 -0800

    Question 1?

    Full Question?


    Full Answer...

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