Seattle Music Therapy Program Established in Memory of Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell poses for a portrait on July 29, 2015 at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, Calif.
Casey Curry/Invision/AP

Chris Cornell poses for a portrait on July 29, 2015 at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Seattle-based nonprofit Childhaven is establishing a new music therapy program in memory of  late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, thanks in part to a $100,000 donation from Cornell's widow, Vicky, to the organization for trauma-affected children.

The announcement on Thursday (July 20), came on what would have been Cornell's 53rd birthday; the singer was found dead of suicide on May 18 in his Detroit hotel room. Cornell was known to have struggled with substance abuse, and his passing shed renewed light on mental health issues. 

"The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation is excited to join Childhaven to support its extraordinary work impacting the lives of those in need," said Vicky Cornell in a statement. "Chris and I always shared a strong belief in the healing and inspiring power of music, and through Childhaven's establishment of this program, we are able to keep the promise for Chris by continuing to protect the world's most vulnerable children."

All children at Childhaven -- which treats infants up to five years-old -- will receive the opportunity to undergo therapy through the Chris Cornell Music Therapy Program. A form of expressive arts therapy, the treatment uses music as a creative outlet through which patients can express and explore difficult feelings.

"Because of what they've experienced, a lot of children come to Childhaven struggling with anger and other overwhelming emotions," added Brian Vogan -- who runs music therapy at Childhaven -- in the release. "Being able to beat on drums is really helpful for them. Other kids are very shy, and music helps to bring them out of their shell."

The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation was created by the singer and his wife in 2012 to support vulnerable children affected by problems like homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect. The organization previously contributed to Childhaven's music therapy program in 2013.


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