Guitarist Corey Bergman is bringing happiness and inner healing to kids in hospitals around the country, thanks to his nonprofit the Ukulele Kids Club. Using music to bring smiles to hospitalized children, the musician has started a program to share music with sick kids. But Bergman isn’t just playing music for kids, he’s creating more joy by teaching children how to play the ukulele themselves with donated instruments.
Bergman’s motivation comes from a tragic personal story of his own. In 2010, he lost his own son to a viral infection. To cope with the loss, Bergman and his wife moved to Miami, and began volunteering at two children’s hospitals near their new home. Bergman would play the guitar for the children, who quickly took interest in learning how to play the instrument as well. Because many kids were hospital bed-bound and small, the guitar was too clunky for them to play. Bergman gave one patient an extra ukulele he had, and the idea for Ukulele Kids Club was born in January of 2014.
The kids he first gave ukuleles to immediately responded positively to the experience. The kids loved learning to play, and the lessons gave them a distraction from hospital life, creating moments of happiness during their struggles. The program has grown to include 85 children’s hospitals, which have received around 500 ukuleles for children to play. Bergman tries to donate 5 ukuleles to each hospital with music therapists, who can take on his role as teacher in hospitals around the country.
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Bergman hopes the program will grow to donate one thousand ukuleles by the end of 2015. You can help make this a reality by visiting the Ukulele Kids Club website.