Friday, March 8, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Healing with Music

Girl Scout Shelby has earned her Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

Inspired by her younger brother, Brandon, who was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer at the age of nine in February 2017, Shelby decided to help other kids who were at the hospital by using music. Her brother was scared and the only thing that calmed him down during his hospital visits was music. Her project, “Healing with Music,” came to life.

“Seeing how music took his mind into a whole different world, made me fantasize about a world where everything seemed good even though everything was not going their way,” she said. “I asked myself if it would be possible to have a wa
y to get more patients to get their minds off of their medical situation.”

“Healing with Music” brought music therapy to the pediatric cancer unit at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her project provided happiness to the young patients by taking their minds off of their medical diagnosis at the time. To help the patients, Shelby brought various music instruments to the hospital to start a form of music therapy. For each of the instruments Shelby brought, she also created a theory book that taught the patients how to play their instrument of choice.

Throughout her project, Shelby learned that everyone is unique and that they react differently to music because of their age, medical condition and personality. She learned how to communicate effectively, how to be patient and problem solve. Shelby also discovered that her true passion is helping others and working with children, a deciding factor in determining her college major.

Beyond Shelby’s involvement, her project will be sustained by the nurses, volunteers and parents at the hospital as Shelby left the music tote filled with instruments and the rhythm booklets. Shelby hopes to bring her work to other hospitals and bring music theory to other young patients.