Starting tonight and going through Saturday afternoon, my local radio station is hosting their 4th annual radiothon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and St. John’s Children’s Hospital. They will be broadcasting live from the lobby of the hospital, where there will be volunteers manning the phones and families who have been helped by the Children’s Miracle Network stopping by. I’m one of those volunteers, and looking forward to my 3-hour shift on Saturday afternoon as the radiothon winds to a close.

But I was able to donate my time in another way, as well. Each year during the radiothon, they air personal stories from the people who have required services through the Children’s Miracle Network and the hospital. Most of them are hard to hear, and very emotional. But our community needs to hear what kind of care is available should one of their children fall under dire circumstances. The stories are set to music, usually a popular song whose mood suits the gravity of the story.

This year I asked if there was any way I could contribute musically to the cause, and together we came up with the idea to write songs based on the stories themselves. So I sat in as the families told their stories, during which time I got ideas for the corresponding songs. Out of the four stories I heard, I chose two to set to music. They will be played during the radiothon, and I only hope that the families feel that their songs do their stories justice.

That’s the coolest part of being a music therapist, in my opinion. Not only can you work directly with a child, adult, or group of people, but there are infinite ways to use music therapeutically, reaching a wide audience at the same time. This point was driven home for me at the national conference, which I will writing more about in the coming days.