Founded in 2005, Feel the Music! grew out of our founder’s 9/11 volunteer work. During the 9/11 recovery, musician/singer-songwriter Valerie Ghent volunteered for eight months at the World Trade Center site, meeting 9/11 family members and hearing heart-breaking stories about their families and children.
Knowing first-hand the power of music to positively impact lives, Valerie met with musician friends, Arturo O’Farrill, Bashiri Johnson and Bar Scott, and with NYU Postdoc Director Lewis Aron, Ph.D., to discuss creating a program to bring music into the lives of 9/11 families. Working closely with Steven Knoblauch, Ph.D. and Spyros Orfanos, Ph.D., Valerie developed a grant proposal and in 2005, received funding from the American Red Cross to launch Feel the Music!. Due to the tremendous success of Feel the Music! with 9/11 family members and the extended 9/11 community, Red Cross funding was renewed each year for three years.
During that time period, Feel the Music!, incorporated as World Foundation for Music and Healing, received 501c3 nonprofit status in 2007.
Feel the Music! served hundreds of families in the extended 9/11 community from 2005-2013, bringing music and inspiration to children and adults all over the Tri-State area, Pennsylvania and even Belfast, Northern Ireland. As word of the program’s success spread, we received increasing requests to bring Feel the Music! to clinical and community settings. Feel the Music! began to serve hospital-based program Kids Kicking Cancer at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, senior centers at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, VISIONS Center for the Blind, Project Find and intergenerational arts programs at Bailey’s Café, programs which continue today.