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  • adriennebornemann

All About KEYS....through the eyes of Alexis, KEYS program intern

Hello everyone! My name is Alexis and I am a senior at Utica college looking to

become a certified Child Life Specialist! This summer of 2020, I had the privilege to

complete my internship with the awesome KEYS program! I was first introduced to this

program by watching a presentation of an awesome KEYS employee in one of my

classes. I won’t lie, before this I had no idea what music therapy was and what kind of

work they did. However in the short time I have interned with them, I have already

learned so much!


During my time with the KEYS program, I have done some research for some other

projects about music therapy. In a summary that I wrote, I learned the functions of music

therapy and what its purpose is. Some functions I found of music therapy are it allows for

self-reflection through the use of a variety of music-based activities, it fosters social and

communication skills by making music with others, it helps young people identify how

their thoughts and feelings influence their behaviors, choices, and identity development,

and lastly it teaches young people how to self-regulate and to help them develop healthy

coping skills (American Music Therapy Association, 2019).



One of the first things I did before I started this internship was I did some research on

their page to see what they were really all about! The biggest take away from some of my

research was they love to make smiles! Just as the KEYS website quotes, “The KEYS

Program is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that delivers music, hope and smiles to

children impacted by cancer, and those in need of healing, through music outreach,

education and advocacy. (KEYSprogrm.org)” They also offer some super amazing

programs for the 300+ KEYS kids they serve! One of the awesome programs they offer

are telehealth music therapy sessions! This is where you can spend a half an hour with the

program's music therapist and you can sing and dance to tons of songs, and the best part

is, it's free to all KEYS kids! It is a great 30 minutes to just relax and enjoy some music!

Another awesome program they have is the summer concert series. Every monday night

at 7pm on the KEYS program facebook page, they host a facebook live where a musician

will host a concert for 1 hour dedicated to a special KEYS kid! It is easy to access and

free to watch and enjoy for everyone! This summer, they are also creating a summer

songwriting project! This is where you will spend 3 sessions with the music therapist and

write your own song for the KEYS program CD! How cool is that? One last thing they

offer that I want to mention, was their Smile Experience Family Respite Day! This is a

day dedicated to KEYS kids and their family! It is a cancer free zone where the kids and

their families can enjoy music, activities, food, and share SMILES! The KEYS programs

goal for this day is to not only create smiles, but to make the tough days a little bit easier!

Even if you don’t want to participate in any of the events due to personal reasons, their

website has tons of videos and resources you can watch and use to create smiles!


Throughout my experience with the KEYS program, I have seen some pretty awesome

things that really do bring smiles to everyone. They offer so many amazing things for the

KEYS kids and their families to make tough days a little easier. It has been an honor and

privilege working with this program and even after my internship, I hope to work with

them again some day as I pursue my dreams of being a Child Life Specialist! :)


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