Customized Songs for Seriously Ill Kids

For JoyRx Music Volunteer Elaina, giving back to the community is a meaningful way to bring Joy to others. At just fifteen years old, Elaina is committed to creating what she calls “a positive domino effect” through her love of music, sharing personalized songs she writes for the children we serve.

Getting Inspired to Volunteer

Elaina was first inspired to volunteer with JoyRx because of her love of music and connection with her community.

“At one of the Oregon Symphony concerts I attended, I read in the program notes about JoyRx and the Oregon Symphony working together, bringing music to children around the country in hospitals,” she said. “JoyRx was an organization I wanted to volunteer at and share my love of songwriting.”

“I wanted to contribute through creating customized songs for children,” she said. “I thought of how healing, calming, and inspiring music can be. There’s something so special about having a personalized song created just for you!”

Bringing Joy to Kids

Elaina’s process is simple but powerful. She uses a template of twelve questions for a child to answer. These questions include information such as the kid’s favorite food, sport, holiday, or animal.

“When I receive their responses,” she said, “I envision their personality while composing and producing the song.”

These aren’t just simple jingles, either. Elaina takes the task seriously, composing beautiful, custom songs for each child.

The Joy of Music

Elaina is co-principal trombone of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, plays tuba in her high school wind ensemble, and performed with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.

“Music has always been an integral part of my life,” she said.

She plays jazz and classical piano and studied at the Royal Schools of Music. She also writes songs and participates in the Young Composers Project, a program that mentors youth composers.

Elaina volunteers with other music-based organizations, too. She founded PoperaPDX, where she performs musical story times for children at libraries and preschools.

“I introduce young audiences to different instruments with sing-along contemporary and classical music style,” she said.

Paying Joy Forward

Elaina understands music’s healing power, and her customized songs perfectly complement our other JoyRx Music offerings. “By playing a song, you can feel less negative and more optimistic. I have the same feeling of hopefulness when I volunteer with JoyRx!”

For Elaina and our other music volunteers, this passion for music means more Joy for children facing extended hospitalizations. “I’m grateful to be able to share my love of music with other children,” she said. “Creating unique and fun moments are small gifts in someone’s day.”


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