The Seattle-based nonprofit Childhaven announced the establishment of the Chris Cornell Music Therapy Program Thursday in honor of what would have been the late musician's 53rd birthday. Cornell's widow, Vicky Cornell, committed $100,000 to Childhaven to bolster the organization's efforts to help children and their families overcome the effects of trauma.
"The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation is excited to join Childhaven to support its extraordinary work impacting the lives of those in need," Vicky Cornell said. "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."
Childhaven uses various therapeutic methods and early learning programs to help young children develop healthily after facing experiences such as abuse, neglect, domestic violence and chemical dependency. Music therapy specifically gives kids a creative outlet through which they can express and grapple with their feelings.
Seattle musician Brian Vogan, who runs the music therapy program at Childhaven, explained, "Because of what they've experienced, a lot of children come to Childhaven struggling with anger and other overwhelming emotions. 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 Cornell Music Therapy Program will be open to children at Childhaven who are infants up to five years old. The Chris and Vicky Cornell foundation previously contributed to Childhaven's music therapy program in 2013.
Along with helping the music therapy program at Childhaven, the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation was dedicated to assisting child refugees. (One month before the musician's death, the couple toured a refugee camp in Greece.) In June, a posthumous video for Cornell's song "The Promise" – for the 2016 film of the same name about the Armenian genocide – arrived, widening the movie's scope to include recent footage of refugees fleeing war-torn cities in Libya and Syria.
Following the music video's release, a slew of Cornell's friends, including Josh Brolin, Tom Hanks, Christian Bale and Elton John contributed to a short video promoting sales of "The Promise" with all proceeds benefiting refugees and children in need.