Special Opportunities Abilities Relationships

SOAR [Special Opportunities Abilities Relationships] seeks to engage children/students with special needs in regular Sunday program environments corresponding to their age by connecting the child/student with a caring buddy who makes a regular commitment to assist him or her during the program.

SOAR promo FINAL from Spring Branch on Vimeo.

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Our mission and purpose

The purpose of SOAR is to bring faith and life together by facilitating inclusion inside the life of the church for children and students with special abilities and for their families.


  • To create an accepting church environment where God’s love can be expressed to the family impacted by special ability.
  • To partner with parents in developing an appropriate accommodation plan that benefits the child or student with special abilities while working within the policies and resources of the church.

The services of SOAR may be requested by the family or the individual, or the ministry leader(s) serving the individual in partnership with the family.

SOAR does not provide therapy, behavior modification programs, or medical intervention. Medical assistance will be provided in emergency situations through the resources of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad. To the best of our abilities, our ministry servants will strive to follow guidance from, and utilize tools provided by, parents.

SOAR ministry provides …

access and belonging

Access and sense of belonging in our typical Sunday environments for children and students with special needs.

A comfortable environment

Family members of children and students with special needs, comfort with our environments, so they can be free to more fully participate in church life at Spring Branch.

Two ways this is accomplished


A volunteer “Buddy” enters into a helping relationship with the student /child & family so that person may engage as fully as possible in the experience and curriculum on Sundays.


An open sensory room that can be utilized by any of the buddies as the need arises to break away from the typical Sunday morning classroom programs.  Additionally, this room is made available to parents who may choose to utilize it with their children and watch the service remotely.