The Spirit of a Child Foundation (SOAC) is a national 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that was formed to help strengthen the bonds between parents and their children. SOAC has three co-founders: Sharon M. Wynn, Catherine Sanchez and Cindi Lou Ward who are driven by a deep and heartfelt commitment to make a positive impact for families in need. Their dream and doors to the Spirit of a Child Foundation became a reality on September 1, 2005, when they began the foundation’s mission – “We help families grow stronger.”
The SOAC Foundation will be working to identify and overcome obstacles that all-too-frequently impede the parent-child relationship. These obstacles are numerous and difficult to overcome: poverty; acrimony between the children’s parents; substance abuse or other unfortunate circumstances; violence in homes, on the streets and in our schools. The legacy for our children too often is a new generation of dysfunctional families, attachment disorders, low self-esteem, depression, gangs, teenage pregnancies, school dropouts and so on. The SOAC Foundation strongly believes that children are life’s most precious gifts and that their childhood should be a time filled with joy, laughter, growth and endless possibilities. The root to a healthy child is to nurture the inner spirit with time, presence, gentle encouragement and plenty of love.
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The Spirit of a Child Foundation’s goal is to become the voice for our most vulnerable citizens – children. Our organization strives to identify and combat barriers destructive to parent-child relationships, thus breaking the dysfunctional cycle passed on from generation to generation. By breaking this cycle, parents will have the tools available to love their children, pass along this valuable knowledge, understand the importance of spending time as a family unit and then be able to articulate these ideals of creating a nurturing bond between themselves and their children. Our concentration is funding established successful organizations that conduct programs to ensure healthy parent-child bonds, while occasionally creating our own projects and programs – through partnerships – to confront issues government programs do not currently or adequately address.
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Sharon M. Wynn
A love affair for helping families and children began at a very early age for Sharon. Her first exposure to the improvement of the quality of life for all people was through her beloved grandmother and grandfather. As a child, she and her sister spent a great deal of time with them where they learned generosity, respect and compassion for all human beings. She remembers fondly how her grandparents helped their local community through countless volunteering efforts for organizations, neighbors and family members. Sharon began to see the vision of what would become one of her greatest passions: the importance of building healthy parent-child relationships.
Sharon is one of the four founders of the Spirit of a Child Foundation. She is an accomplished training instructor and product support specialist for a global software company. Her career journey started at the age of 18. She was one of the youngest trainers to be scouted and selected to perform nationwide system implementations. Sharon’s accomplishments extend beyond business time and extensive travel. She recently achieved a degree in business management at Florida State University.
Over the past year, Sharon has transferred her experience in business and volunteering into a national nonprofit organization. “Whether it be in business or at home, the importance of family and children is universal. Many of our youth live immersed in fear with their lives and spirits broken. It’s up to us all to take a stand and create a hopeful future for today’s young people. All of our actions matter and everyone has the chance to make a difference,” explains Sharon. When she does find rare free moments, she loves spending time with her family and friends, yoga, sport activities and curling up with a good book relaxing on the beach.
Cindi Lou was born and raised in New York state where she resides with her husband of 14 years and 6-year-old son. She works full time as a workman’s compensation case manager for a national insurance company.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies, her department was assigned to a newly-created catastrophe unit to process benefits to families of victims who perished in the World Trade Center attacks. Deeply impacted by the stories of grief, Cindi Lou searched for an organization for which to volunteer and reach out to these families. She found that the With Arms Wide Open Foundation was collecting funds for the New York City Orphanage and helping children who lost loved ones in the September 11th attack attend the Olympics. She connected with the executive director, Cindy McNeely, and a friendship was formed. Having a deep commitment to raise public awareness of the importance of healthy parent-child relationships, Cindi Lou joined forces with the three other co-founders of the Spirit of a Child Foundation.
While at home, Cindi Lou enjoys doing artistic crafts and spending quality time with her close-knit family and friends.
Lori was born and raised at the Jersey Shore, where she lives with her husband Cliff and his daughter Kaley. Her joy for children came from being the youngest of three siblings and getting a taste of being an aunt at a very young age. She was also involved with various Catholic Youth organizations after college, which intensified her passion for helping children.
After losing a close friend of her husband’s to Von Hippel-Lindau in 2002, they have both become actively involved in annual charity events for www.vhl.org. In addition, Lori volunteers for her local Special Olympics annual golf charity event.
Lori is an accomplished corporate executive who has helped direct several high-end companies to financial success. In fall 2004, Lori attempted to go into semi-retirement until an old friend and a previous business colleague approached her to start a new division in his firm. She now works full time from home, so she is not away from her family, which she considers her most important accomplishment.
Her other hobbies include worldwide travel and a great day at the beach, but most importantly maintaining a loving and healthy home, which also includes their chocolate standard poodle, Roxie.
After finding a lifelong friend in Sharon Wynn and hearing her talk about dreams for all children to have the chance to live in a loving, nurturing and functional home, Lori was honored to accept the position as director of public relations and to become one of the five board members of the Spirit of a Child Foundation. The SOAC Foundation has all the core beliefs, values and mission that make her involvement so worthwhile and rewarding.
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Brian Rowland, P.A. – Jacksonville, Florida
David P. Healy – Tallahassee, Florida
Neral & Company P.A – Wall, New Jersey
Lanigan & Associates, P.C. – Tallahassee, Florida
Director of Education
Suzanne M. Wynn
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Spirit of a Child Foundation
P.O. Box 13954
Tallahassee, FL 32317-3954
Phone: (850) 728-4255