Songs For Kids Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2007 with the mission to enrich the lives of children suffering from illness and hardship. Over the last nine years, we have integrated musicians into the lives of thousands of kids, with our focus being primarily within the hospital setting. From songwriting in the hematology/oncology clinic, to performing bedside concerts in pediatric intensive care units, to sending musicians in masks, gloves and gowns to perform for kids in bone marrow transplant units. Songs For Kids Foundation has specialized in creating moments of joy in what are times of crisis for kids and their families.
“I have seen personally the positive effects of Songs for Kids for the patients at our hospital. Songs for Kids bring music and laughter to a place where kids might be frightened otherwise.“
- Jami Wolfe, Certified Child Life Specialist, MCGHealth’s Children’s Medical Center
“For the past several years, Songs for Kids Foundation has consistently brought an uplifting sense of joy to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For many of [our patients], this is a rare opportunity to truly come out of their shells and shine. It is a healing experience both for the children and their families who are able to see them enjoy this creative expression.”
- Meryl Franco, Volunteer Services, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston
“Songs For Kids Foundation is one of the most exciting initiatives I have ever seen.”
- Eric M. Robbins, Executive Director, Camp Twin Lakes
Songs For Kids Foundation Programs
Songs For Kids LIVE! - Interactive Concert Programs
Songs For Kids artists perform concerts in all areas of children’s hospitals, bringing the kids onstage with them to sing and become the stars themselves. Our artists engage the kids and their families with live performances of classic children's songs and child-friendly pop songs. These interactive performances always include the kids, their family members, and even the hospital staff as participants, singing and playing instruments along with our artists.
Kids are often confined to their hospital rooms for long stretches of time and Songs For Kids performances allow the kids to not only come out of their rooms, but also come out of their shells. Kids interact with their families and our artists, and parents are able to create shared memories with their children, a rare opportunity during prolonged hospital stays. Children are able to escape the isolation of long treatment and build their self-esteem and confidence by performing in front of a positive and supportive audience.
“Songs For Kids’ ability to empathetically engage with children at various stages of treatment, physical and mental disabilities, and anxiety levels is admirable. I hope to have a relationship with SFK for many years to come.”
- Malissa Morrell, MA, MFTi, ATR, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Songs For Kids Bedside Music Programs:
Our musicians perform bedside with kids in their individual hospital rooms. We serve all age ranges, from newborns to 18 year olds, and on each of the unit floors that we serve, we make sure to visit with every child that is able to see us. Songs For Kids musicians perform songs that the kids want to hear during their visits and encourage them to sing along or bang on drums. For patients old enough to communicate directly with our artists, performances become extremely collaborative, and family members, hospital staff, and even nurses and doctors are encouraged to get in on the act as well while checking up on them.
“Songs For Kids Foundation consistently gets positive feedback from staff, patients and families alike. Songs For Kids Foundation is always collaborative, understanding and flexible. If we could, we would have them here every day”
- Alexandra Field, Family-Centered Care Support Services, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Too often, patients spend much of the day watching television or playing video games while they are confined to their room. We've designed Songs For Kids programs to improve kids’ quality of life during their stays, and offer not just diversions, but genuine connections with our performers. Bedside performances also allow us to tailor visits to each child’s needs. For example, if one of our patients has an interest in learning to play the guitar, our artists can provide that individual attention at each visit.
“That’s the most she’s smiled in two weeks”
- Lisa, parent of Amber, patient at Backus Children’s Hospital (Savannah, GA)
“Songs For Kids performers accommodate all the needs of our young superstars. The kids focus on the music, the attention and the crowd that forms to cheer them on.”
- Beth Collier, MT-BC, NMT, Music Therapist – Board Certified, Fellow Neurologic Music Therapy
Songs For Kids Records – Songwriting & Recording Program:
Songs for Kids producers and songwriters write and record songs with kids during their hospital stays. They collaborate on songs that often touch on their life challenges, and the experience is a great outlet for creativity and self-expression. We emphasize creating songs that are about positivity and overcoming obstacles. The process of songwriting and recording has tremendous value, as kids learn to explore ideas, work collaboratively, and focus on the task in front of them. Our artists and producers devote many hours over multiple days with patients to finish writing and recording their original songs. The kids receive professionally mixed CDs of their songs, which they can treasure and share proudly with their friends and family long after the recording session is over. For some families, these songs become an important part of the legacies of children that have passed on. To learn more about our Songs For Kids Records program, visit www.songsforkidsrecords.org.
"When I started getting chemo treatments, I couldn't get my mind off the horrible tasting chemo. Then I met Songs For Kids, and when they came in, it would brighten my day."
- Nicolas, patient and Songs For Kids Records artist
“Songs for Kids kept me sane while I was in the hospital, l and you guys gave me hope that I would get better by keeping me in good spirits.”
- Nia, patient and Songs For Kids Records artist
While we continue to grow our existing hospital programs and expand our reach to hospitals in new cities, we are now committed to serving these kids beyond their hospital experience. In 2016, we’re launching our first Songs For Kids Foundation Center - a musical activity space designed to fill the large gap in meaningful programs for a young person facing illness outside the hospital walls. It is a common misconception that only kids in hospitals are battling illness - in truth, many of the patients we work with face illness, but spend more time out of the hospital than in the hospital. Often referred to as “outpatient”, these kids will have transfusions, chemotherapy and other treatments at periodic intervals throughout the year. These treatments can be multiple times per week, once a month, or for short intensive stretches.
Working with a small sample size of these kids year round over the years has yielded outstanding results. We’ve included a testimonial from the family of one of these patients, which details the impact of the program.
Further, having a place to congregate and create away from the hospital will allow these kids to explore their creativity in an environment where the primary focus is not on medical procedures and diagnoses. The Center is going to be a “home base” that respects and honors life challenges while fostering a safe sense of normalcy. Kids will be able to be kids, and we will nurture and develop their love of music throughout the year.
As we head into our 10th year, we feel the time is right to lay down our own roots - to build our first Songs For Kids Foundation Music Center. Our goals have come full circle: first, to establish meaningful contact at the hospital, now to continue that experience year-round at our activity center, thus creating lasting relationships with families without the initial constraints of providing patient specific programming within a hospital environment. This space represents a culmination of everything we’ve learned and trained for in a field in which we are on the way to becoming experts: bringing the best out of kids facing illness.
The Songs For Kids Foundation Center will be a musical support system fulfilling a huge need.
Onsite Year Round Programming at Songs For Kids Foundation Music Center
Songs For Kids LIVE! - Interactive Concert Programs
This program will be a direct offshoot of our popular hospital interactive concerts, where Songs For Kids artists perform concerts in all areas of children’s hospitals. We’re going to have a handicap accessible stage equipped with sound and lights. We’ll bring the kids onstage at these shows where they can sing and become the stars themselves. We can plan performances In advance and work with kids over a period of weeks/months to prepare for these regular celebrations.
This is a great opportunity for shared memories, not just with patients and Songs For Kids artists, but patients and their families and beyond.
Songs For Kids Recording Studio
Songs for Kids producers and songwriters write and record songs with kids during their hospital stays. We’ve experimented with “outpatient” sessions at 3rd party recording studios, but it is challenging to consistently depend on scheduling and availability at a 3rd party studio and to depend on it being a safe environment for kids. Having our own studio space will provide comfort, safety and flexibility, and will eliminate the pressure of the deadlines that private studios put on the process. Having control of studio sessions will allow kids to delve deep into the process of recording and songwriting. At our own studio we can screen all of the people involved, and they will all be Songs For Kids artists, well-trained and experienced working with kids. Our songwriting and recording studio will be designed based on our needs and with consultation from several award winning producers and engineers.
We collaborate with our kids on songs that often touch on their life challenges, and the experience is a great outlet for creativity and self-expression. We emphasize creating songs that are about positivity and overcoming obstacles. The process of songwriting and recording has tremendous value, as kids learn to explore ideas, work collaboratively, and focus on the task in front of them. Our artists and producers devote many hours over multiple days with patients to finish writing and recording their original songs. The kids receive professionally mixed CDs and mp3s of their songs, which they can treasure and share proudly with their friends and family long after the recording session is over. For some families, these songs become an important part of the legacies of children that have passed on. At the Songs For Kids studio kids will be able to collaborate with some of today’s top performers, since we’ll have scheduling flexibility we don’t traditionally have in a hospital setting.
Space for private and group music lessons
Songs For Kids Foundation has an expansive roster of professional musicians that sing and play a variety of instruments proficiently. Giving lessons to patients in the hospital has inherit difficulties. There is an unpredictable nature to hospital visits that makes a regular routine with a patient near impossible. Teaching kids outside the hospital will be much more effective and consistent and will allow true progress and results.
Increased scope for Songs For Kids Programs
There are kids with countless special needs that we do not meet in the hospital, but are wonderful candidates to get involved with our musical programs. Whether their hardships are medical or social, our goal is to include as many children as possible. For example, kids with Downs Syndrome or ambulatory challenges may not get the opportunity to work with us at a hospital, but our new center will give these kids a chance to connect with us and take advantage of the programs we offer.
With the Songs For Kids Foundation Music Center, we will have the opportunity to launch many exciting new programs:
- Creating “bands” with kids from our hospital program, and give these kids the opportunity to perform as opening acts for national shows
- Songs For Kids Chorus - for kids who love singing
- Free guest lectures about all things musical
- Songwriting and recording workshops
- Video production, multi-camera set-up in our studio for learning about shooting and editing concert videos.
- Summer day camps
- Birthday parties
- Memorials and remembrances
- End of treatment celebrations
- Performances by national acts at the Center for our kids
- Local youth bands will be able to connect and bond with kids facing illness (they are unable to do so at the hospital because of age restrictions)