Casey Bolton Pounds (Amelia and Annabel’s Mom)
"We recently had the pleasure of working with the Sing Me a Story Foundation on a project for our daughters. Our 2 year old, Annabel, is terminally ill, and we were struggling to find meaningful ways for she and her older sister, Amelia (5) to connect. Through Annabel’s hospice team, we learned about SMAS and were very enthusiastic to work with them on a song for the girls. Right away, we received a blank book for Amelia to use for her story. Week after week, she worked with her social worker on filling up the pages with pictures and words and stickers all about Annabel. Once she was finished, off it went to the songwriter - from one artist to the next.
Shortly thereafter, we received word that the song had been recorded and was ready for us to hear it. We really didn’t know what to expect as far as the type of song we would receive. Amelia was only 4 at the time she created the story, so much of it was funny and silly (and sometimes made no sense), but it was all her. I’ll always remember hearing the first few lines of “I Have You Today” and seeing the enormous smile on Amelia’s face as she recognized her own words. Then came the next few lines - that’s when the tears started. The songwriter, Treva Blomquist, managed to take a 4 year old’s drawings and stories and somehow created lyrics that perfectly embodied the relationship of two very special sisters. It’s like she could see inside the soul of all of us who love Annabel, especially Amelia, and she created something unique and amazing for us. Something that no one else could.
I cannot express my gratitude enough for SMAS and what they did for our family. In 50 or 60 years when Amelia’s memory may fail her, she will still be able to listen to that song and remember exactly what it was like to be 5 years old and have the best sister a girl could ask for."
Nick’s Mom, Kathy / Gilda’s Club of Detroit
“I'm Nick's Mom. I'm a Stage 4 Appendix Cancer survivor, and Nick is the second oldest of our five kids. He NEVER liked to write until he started this program at our local Gilda's Club - and now he gets A's in English! We are very proud of him, and I completely love that his story was turned into a song by you!! Thank you!!!!”
Yvonne Marie Glass, MT-BC
"Thank you! My Violin (Amelia's Song) was written for/with my daughter Amelia at Gilda's Club, Nashville. She is cancer free almost 12 years and a spot of sunshine to all who meet her. And, yes, she still plays the violin. In fact, she's thinking about being a music therapist just like her momma! I love the work you do, and especially appreciate that you make it very clear on your site that clinical music therapy is very different than the service you provide. There will never be enough Music Therapists for all of the individuals that desperately need services, and I'm grateful that talented and generous musicians give of their time and talents to serve and bring music to those who will benefit in other meaningful ways."
Kathryn Brooks - Rogers House (Pediatric Palliative Care Organization in Edmonton, CA)
“Dana and Austin,
I just wanted to personally thank you for all the work you both did for Sam’s song. The amount of joy and love that came from this one song was incredible. For the past couple of weeks Sam and his family have been staying at Roger’s House because Sam was nearing end of life.
The Family was constantly listening and singing this song for Sam. They really felt like the song was perfect for Sammy and perfect for their children to show Sam there love. A really special moment that I witnessed was about two days ago. The entire family was sitting outside in the bright shining sun with Sam. I could see them from the window inside that they were trying to take a picture of all 7 or 8 of them. (A selfie that is). So I went outside to go help them with this only to realize that they were all gathered around a very sick Sam singing his song that you wrote. It was so beautiful. Very difficult to hold back the tears.
So Sam pasted away around 7:30 this morning peaceful with his entire family. But I did here that last night when they thought that Sam might pass away, they all sat around him to sing his song to him again.
I just wanted to let you know how special this song really was to them. And how the song was such apart of their journey and way used as a huge way to express their love for him
THANK YOU, THANK YOU,THANK YOU!”
Polly Hurlburt, Child Life Specialist, Hospice of the Chesapeake, Pasadena, MD
"I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Austin, Tom, and our wonderful songwriter Armando of Sing Me a Story. I recently had the pleasure of helping the 7-year-old sister of one of my pediatric hospice patients submit a story to the SMAS website. Austin and Tom were easy to get in touch with and made every step of the process convenient and user-friendly. The young author, Yerini, was delighted to see her story and illustrations appear on the website, and to know that other kids around the world would be able to read her story too. The best part of the whole process, though, was receiving an absolutely beautiful song, inspired by this little girl’s story and written by one of SMAS’s talented songwriters, Armando. Yerini’s mother was moved to tears when she first heard the beautiful song, and Yerini wanted to listen to it over and over again. We were all deeply touched by the obviously heartfelt work that Armando put into both writing and performing this very special song for a very deserving family. Thank you, Sing Me a Story!"
Tara Ntumba, Support Group Director & Therapist (Brooke's Place for Grieving Young People, Indianapolis)
"I just have to thank you - again - for how tenderly you and your songwriters hold this precious kiddos' stories. I can imagine that it is hard when a sad story comes in, but your writers do such a beautiful job of just putting those words to music, and honoring them. It's a whole new way of meeting this kiddo right where he is at his in grief journey - affirming it is OK to grieve, this is your story, and it matters. What an incredible gift."
Margie (Ty’s Mom)
“Love the song that was made for my son. I cry every time I hear it. Ty touched our life in so many ways and we miss him so much. Julie listens to that song all the time. She even wants to play it so Santa can hear it.”
Megan Forshey - Program Manager, Gilda's Club Nashville
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Chris King - Exec. Dir. of Amistad Mission, Bolivia
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Jamie Polen - Songwriter
"There are a lot of different reasons to write songs, and people write songs for a lot of reasons. If a given writer's list of motivations includes wanting to write songs that have the potential to contribute something good and meaningful to the lives of people who need and deserve good things the most, then Sing Me a Story is worth checking out.
I've written a few songs for Sing Me A Story now. Each has taken about a couple hours to write and record. As for the submission process, it couldn't have been easier.
My hope is that when kids hear these songs they get to experience the excitement that comes from creative expression in a whole new way. I want to show them that some guy with a guitar somewhere sat down and spent some time thinking about the thoughts and ideas they wanted to share through their stories, and I hope they get to feel a connection as a result of that collaboration, as well as a sense of pride and ownership of the resulting song."
Aaron Reisman - Volunteer, May 2012
"Working with Sing Me a Story was a great experience for the children at the Kawempe Youth Center. It was a great way to engage them, let them be creative, and see the potential of their creative work. In a place where free thinking, and the creative spirit isn't something taught in schools Sing Me A Story couldn't have been more relevant.
As volunteer working with Sing Me A Story from abroad I couldn't have found them more helpful or responsive. I look forward to working with them in any capacity I can in the future."
Amanda Christmann Larson – Partner Organization
"Sing Me a Story distributes blank journals and crayons to children in orphanages, hospitals and youth programs across the United States and throughout the world, giving the children an opportunity to write. Founder Austin Atteberry sent us 200 journals to take with us to the rural village of Bakpakope, where we will be going in November and December of 2011 for a medical mission trip and to teach English in the neglected school.
With the help of Sing Me a Story, we'll be helping children who have never even owned extra paper to write down their own thoughts, draw their own pictures and to write stories that they would like to tell. When we return, Sing Me a Story will turn their words into songs so that other children all over the world can sing their songs and share their stories. For the first time ever, they will have a voice.
We are so excited to see what the children create, and even more importantly, we are humbled by the opportunity to show these children that they can speak, and that someone is listening."