Shawn Mendes announced a $1 million commitment from his Shawn Mendes Foundation Canada to fund the launch of the “Wonder of Music” program on Thursday (Sept. 15). The effort is described as a “comprehensive music therapy program” at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, which will support a variety of music therapy activities, including songwriting, custom lullabies, music education and the creation of original pieces of music set to the rhythm of a patient’s heartbeat.
“SickKids is a very special place to me and my hometown of Toronto, and I’m so honored to support such an important program,” Mendes, 24, said in a statement about the innovative effort at the hospital, which the release noted often serves as many infants’ and children’s first exposure to music. “Music has made such a profound impact in my life and is no doubt a form of therapy to me. I can only hope the Wonder of Music Program will help SickKids patients, families, and staff benefit from its power as well.”
According to the release, Mendes was moved to commit the $1 million on behalf of his foundation after hearing about the SickKids’ music therapy program, in which music therapists work with infants, children and youth via individualized music sessions and songwriting to help the children cope with hospitalization.
“We are so grateful to Shawn and The Shawn Mendes Foundation Canada for their incredible support of SickKids and the music therapy program,” said Carolyn Marshall, a certified music therapist at the hospital. “For many children and families in the hospital, music therapy is an opportunity to express and process a complex range of emotions – such as anger, hurt, happiness, fear or hope – in a creative way. This generous gift will allow us to continue to support our patients through music.”
Toronto-native Mendes, who has a long-standing commitment to SickKids, also announced a new line of Martin guitars made with FSC-certified sustainable wood and recycled materials on Thursday, with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for the Wonder of Music program; a limited amount of the guitars are available on Mendes’ online store.
In July, Mendes canceled his Wonder Tour due to what he said were ongoing mental health struggles.
See Mendes’ post below.