Roughly 1.1 million people in the U.S. become widowed each year. In 2005, Michele Neff Hernandez became part of that statistic. As a widowed person at age 35, she quickly learned that the widowed population was underserved and decided to change that narrative. She founded the nonprofit Soaring Spirits International (SSI) in 2008, with the simple goal of connecting widowed people and providing them with resources and tools to rebuild their lives post-loss.
Michele Neff Hernandez has been named a Top 10 CNN Hero of 2021. Neff Hernandez is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Soaring Spirits International (SSI), whose mission is simple – to connect widowed people with each other and offer them resources, community, and hope for rebuilding their lives after loss. This is the 15th Year CNN Heroes is honoring everyday people who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others.