Donation Stories


Inside Out: Accessible Art (Donation: December 2018)

This grant is exciting because it involves both art and music therapy. Twice Upon A String provided two separate grants, so two different groups will have the opportunity to participate. I am so glad to support another program for teens and adults from SOAR (Special Opportunities Available in Recreation). The second group is a local youth group with at-risk teens. Both groups will have the opportunity to create their own functional cigar box guitars! From pouring the paint to putting the guitars together, this project will be really special!

These projects are planned to take place early in 2019. I offered to volunteer on the days these groups meet to help with these projects and hope to share additional photos.



S.O.A.R. Special Opportunities Available in Recreation (Donation: September 2018)

I am so excited about this new grant Twice Upon a String is providing for teens and adults in S.O.A.R (Special Opportunities Available in Recreation). “So You Wanna Be A Rockstar” offers adapted music lessons through Developing Melodies Music Therapy Center.  Participants choose between guitar, ukulele, or piano.

S.O.A.R. is a community therapeutic recreation program serving individuals unable to participate in traditional recreation programs. Leisure, social and developmental skills are emphasized to promote the highest level of recreation participation possible.

This grant is offered in honor and memory of our friend and neighbor Mike Cavanaugh. Mike was very involved with S.O.A.R. In our neighborhood and in the community, he was a friend to all and is dearly missed.


Bluegrass Ambassadors (Donation: April 2018)

This non-profit organization is founded by an inspiring group of musicians, Henhouse Prowlers. Since 2013, the Prowlers have been working as cultural ambassadors with the US State Department and have toured over 25 countries, making stops in the Middle East and Africa.

The band’s focus for Bluegrass Ambassadors is getting cross-cultural music education into schools and bringing music education and instruments (in the U.S. and abroad) where there is otherwise not funding available. Their vision is to “provide unique educational programming that blends global folk music traditions with cultural awareness and understanding.” I support their mission and core value that “education should be available to people of all economic backgrounds, and that music binds us all together.”

To learn more about their work, read stories from their travels, and donate:

Cunningham Children’s Home (Donation: November 2017)

I connected with Cunningham Children’s Home and learned that with a tight budget, their music therapy program did not have funding for needed instruments. This donation is being used to purchase several djembes  (drums) for their music therapy program. I will check back with them to learn what they were able to purchase and share an update!

March 2018: 🎶 Music Therapy Donation Story UPDATE! Cunningham Children’s Home sent me this picture of the djembes they purchased for their music therapy program with Twice Upon A String’s grant, along with this sweet story:

“Recently, several of our kids were practicing their music for an upcoming event. Their voices and drumming got louder and louder as they got into the music. Afterwards, they erupted into laughter. I sat in my office listening to them and thinking how music had given them a special moment to unite in joy. That’s a huge gift for some kids who have lived through difficult circumstances. And it’s a gift you are helping us to expand.”

Catalyst Farms Residential Home for Women (Donation: November 2017)

Catalyst Ministries/ Catalyst Farms is a residential property serving as a specialized supportive services homes for survivors of  trafficking, addiction, and prostitution. Twice Upon A String funded a grant for Art Therapy sessions, art supplies, and a stereo for the women to listen to music.

 The Baby Fold (Donation:January 2016 – March 2017)

Music Therapy
In January of 2016, I partnered with Developing Melodies to bring music therapy to The Baby Fold Residential Treatment Center. The Baby Fold provides a positive living environment and specialized mental health and trauma treatment for children. Creative therapies are highly beneficial as they help the children connect, gain a sense of control and empower them to address the challenges in their treatment. At this time, funds are not available to provide Music Therapy programming in The Baby Fold’s budget.

After the positive results from the first six-week session, I made a commitment to continue funding this music therapy program throughout 2016. This funding continued until the close of the residential program in 2017.

 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Midwest Affiliate (Donation: August 2015)

Kymber(left) with Shelley Lee of St. Jude& Mark Cortesi of Music is the Medicine

Kymber with Shelley Lee of St. Jude & Mark Cortesi of Music is the Medicine.

Twice Upon a String teamed up with Music is the Medicine to buy 8 iPod Touches to donate to St. Jude Midwest for kids to listen to music and take their minds off treatment. Mark Cortesi (co-founder of Music is the Medicine) and I visited St. Jude to deliver our donation.

We received this positive six-month update (February 2016) from Shelley Lee of St. Jude Midwest.

“We truly love the iPods! They are a great distraction for the kids. Music is the one medium that truly transfers our patients to a happier time and place. I ask the kids to play a song that brings back a positive memory of a different place and time. When they close their eyes it helps them to imagine that they are there.”



Gift of a New Acoustic Guitar and Lessons for Molly (Donation: November 2014)

I contacted Music is the Medicine looking for someone they knew would benefit from a guitar, and they helped me connect with Molly. I knew this was a perfect fit when I was told the following about Molly.

“Molly is an 18 year old who has learned to manage through life with the challenges of Asperger’s. Although she will tell you that she doesn’t have a disability but an ABILITY to see the world in a better light.”

When asked what music means to Molly, her response was beautiful!

“Music means comfort and helps me understand the world. When society tries to promote things that are not important, music directs us back to the heart. Music makes me feel relieved, at ease, relaxed and lifted up- like living an adventure movie or getting to be with friends I never met.”

We had a wonderful night meeting Molly and her family and brought Molly up on stage before Chicago Farmer’s show to present her guitar (video above). Since that evening, Cody and I went and watch Molly perform in a holiday play and continue to stay in touch.


 Instruments for McLean County Autism Society (Donation: June 2014)

For the first donation, Twice Upon a String funded the instrument rentals for the McLean County Autism Society’s summer music therapy camp, where 50 children attended. It was wonderful to know this contribution made a positive impact in the community for children and their families.