The Ukulele Kids Club is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit whose mission is, “to harness the healing power of music by promoting and supporting music therapy programs for hospitalized children, by giving away ukuleles to children in need through music therapy programs and sending the children home with the gift of music for life, and by advocating for the benefits of music therapy.”
Pediatric wards are a challenging place to experience for patients and their families. Children who are hospitalized are inevitably forced to mature beyond their years, showing bravery, calmness, and patience. Their parents are watching them weather more stress, pain, fear, anxiety, and frustration than any child should ever have to face. However, children have a superpower: an amazing resilience that enables them to live in the moment and seize new opportunities. Give them an opportunity for fun and they will make the most of it.
Many hospitals offer music therapy to patients of all ages as a powerful tool for coping with their circumstances. Ample clinical research and anecdotal evidence supports the use of music to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation. Depending on the clinical setting, music therapy may consist of passive listening or it may provide opportunities for patients to participate in making music.
Corey Bergman is the founder of The Ukulele Kids Club. His professional music background and personal family experience with hospitalized children inspired him to take on this mission. In his endeavors, he has been involved with the Make A Wish Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and received the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” with a letter of commendation from President Barack Obama for his efforts at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in 2013.
The Ukulele Kids Club is staffed by twelve volunteer board members who handle day-to-day operations, and we are supported by hundreds of musicians and musical groups around the country who organize musical benefits on our behalf. We have 5,688 Facebook followers and 400 people follow us on Twitter.
In January 2014, Corey and Edda Bergman founded the Ukulele Kids Club, Inc. Their mission is to donate ukuleles to children’s hospitals for music therapy programs. Each child who receives a ukulele, keeps it. The decision was based upon his experience at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. He was working with the children by offering guitar lessons and soon realized their enjoyment of the music was great, but the challenge remained with the size of the instrument in their hands. He felt that ukuleles were far more accessible to children of all ages, and easy to transport for any musical therapist to bring with them.
Since launching, thousands of ukuleles have been distributed to hospitalized children nationwide. Since 2014, we have donated more than 3,000 ukuleles to 160 hospitals. The list of hospitals can be found on their website.
The Ukulele Kids Club provides free ukuleles to children’s hospitals nationwide. Each hospital receives an initial donation of five ukuleles. Music therapists in the hospitals work with selected patients and teach them how to play. Each child gets to keep their ukulele and take it home. When the hospital runs out of ukuleles, they contact us and we send another batch.
On April 4, 2016, the Ukulele Kids Club was featured on the NBC Nightly News with Peter Alexander on their Making a Difference segment (see below). Since the broadcast, requests from hospitals for ukuleles have skyrocketed. More than 140 hospitals with music therapy programs are now wait-listed for UKC ukulele donations.