Today, I’m thrilled to talk with Jim Newton and Paul G. Hill of Hugworks. They have a Therapeutic Music Entertainment program, that we will learn about.
Mission Statement: Hugworks provides healing experiences for the special needs of children of all ages through performing arts and media.
Founded in 1981, Hugworks (originally Celebration Shop, Inc.) – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – is dedicated to providing emotional support and healing through Therapeutic Entertainment and Music Therapy. President & Founder, Rev. Jim Newton (an ordained United Methodist minister under special appointment to Hugworks by the Bishop of the Central Texas Conference) began by providing programs in a wide variety of settings with youth and young adults, primarily in churches where he led concerts, youth weeks, retreats, and camps. In 1983, Jim was impressed by the tremendous response of children, families and staff at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He had never sung for hospitalized children before, but was invited to do a program there by a church youth sponsor who had lost a child to cancer two years before. Jim had a powerful experience that day and immediately recognized that music could have a tremendous healing impact with children suffering from severe, chronic and life-threatening illnesses. With the blessing and support of the Board, he was soon spending full-time in the children’s healthcare arena.
Since the early ’80s, with the help of individual donations, foundation and corporate grants, and public sale of recordings, members of the Hugworks team have toured children’s hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and special medical camps. They have provided their songs of healing and hope for children and families with medical and emotional challenges throughout North America and a number of foreign countries. In 2004, Hugworks began providing Music Therapy in DFW area children’s hospitals. In late 2008, Hugworks began Music Therapy services at its newly renovated Hugworks Center in Hurst, TX.
In addition, over 130,000 audio cassettes, CDs and songbooks have been produced and distributed to supplement the live programs. Hugworks’ healing impact is multiplied through thousands of Music Therapists, Child Life Specialists, Music Teachers and other healthcare/education professionals who make use of these resources in their work to help ease the pain and fear of their clients/patients/students every day.
With the help of long-time composer and co-executive producer, Paul G. Hill, and producer Noel Paul Stookey (of “Peter, Paul & Mary”), the songs that Jim Newton and the Hugworks team have composed, collected and recorded have garnered a number of prestigious awards. Among these are:
- Parents’ Choice Gold Award
- Parents’ Choice Silver Honor
- Parents’ Choice Approved
- Family Channel Seal of Quality
- American Library Association Notable Children’s Recording
- Parent Council Ltd. Outstanding Production
- Parent’s Guide Children’s Media Award
Additionally, in recognition of our direct service with children and families, Hugworks has received the following awards:
- Children’s Hospice International – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Award for Outstanding Contribution
- Torch Bearer for 2002 Winter Olympics- Jim Newton
- National Pediatric Nursing Association – Humanitarian Award
- American Music Therapy Association – Southwestern Region – Friend of Music Therapy Award
- Texas Association of School Psychologists – Children’s Assistance for Living Award
And most recently, Hugworks’ I Can Be The Best I Can Be song animated DVD received these awards:
- 2009 Omni Intermedia Silver Award – Music Visual Production
- 2009 Omni Intermedia Silver Award – Children’s Production
- 2009 Telly Bronze Award for Children’s Audience
- 2009 Telly Bronze Award for Visuals with Music/Concert
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