Bedside concerts help hospitalized kids cope

Bedside concerts help hospitalized kids cope

- Josh Rifkind is the guy with the guitar at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta,  giving 8-year old Kelsey Turner her own bedside concert.

"I have not done 'Let it Go' today,” Rifkind says.  “That’s is a record for me."

So, he begins singing the popular song from “Frozen,” and Kelsey quickly chimes in.  Soon, they’re singing a duet.

And, pretty quickly, it's clear Rufkind, who created The Songs For Kids Foundation 10 years ago, will sing just about anything for a smile.

"Everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd, to Taylor Swift, to the ABCs, to SpongeBob SquarePants. Depending on the situation, I will rock anything."

One of the most popular requests?

"I've performed Justin Bieber's "Baby" probably over 1,000 times,” Rifkind laughs.  “Probably more than he has ever performed it!”

"What's pretty amazing,” he says, “Is you come into a child's room to play, and this could be the most difficult or challenging day of their life.”

But music is a language we all understand.  And, within a few seconds, that child in the bed is usually smiling.

"And, just because they're in the hospital doesn't mean they can't rock out with us,” says Rifkind.

"It makes me feel happier,” Kelsey Taylor says.  “I like that he can play on the guitar so well. And he's funny, too."

A few doors down, on the AFLAC Cancer Center floor, Rifkind switches gears for 21-year old Jordan Jacobs, being treated for bone cancer.    He starts playing Sweet Home Alabama, then transitions into a little Bon Jovi.

"It just takes your mind off things,” Jacobs says.  “Let’s you listen to the music.  It takes you back, to memories you have before you got sick."

And Jordan's dad Ken Edwards is smiling, and jamming, too.

"Anytime somebody can do some 70's ad 80's stuff, some Sweet Home Alabama, some Bon Jovi.  I'm definitely happy for that,” says Edwards. “But honestly, when you're in a room 24 hours a day, just having something to break the day up is pretty exciting."

And The Songs For Kids Foundation, made up of about 50 regulars volunteers who now perform in children's hospitals across 5 states, doesn't just offer bedside concerts.    The volunteers work with children, writing music, jamming together, recording songs.  Josh says he was inspired by his dad, a doctor.

"You know, he was my idol for my whole life,” he says. “And I wanted to do something that honored him, but also something that is so much bigger than yourself."

And Songs for Kids is big because of these little moments  of connecting and reaching kids like Peyton where they are.

As Rifkind plays “Wheels on the Bus,” she rocks back and forth in her bed, smiling the whole time. This -- is what keeps Josh Rifkind coming back.  The kids.  The songs.  The sweetness.

For more information on The Songs For Kids Foundation, visit

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