Every music fan can describe how they have been moved and influenced by listening to songs that strike a special chord inside them. What if you were able to harness the powerful influence of music to give back and help children in your community who need it the most? Brent Johnson and the Giving Songs organization are doing just that!

Giving Songs is a non-profit organization that provides relief to families that face enormous challenges every day. Visitors to GivingSongs.org can purchase individual songs – or the Giving Songs album – and all of the proceeds help provide assistance to families in need. Many families struggle to find the assistance and support when they’re faced with the tremendous challenge of having a special needs child. Giving Songs and the generosity of music fans everywhere are doing their part to lighten this heavy load!

The mission of Giving Songs is to improve the lives of families with legally blind, multi-disabled children. They provide support and financial assistance to help families address their many unique needs. For more than two years, Giving Songs has been working to relieve the challenges that families of disabled children face every day. Detroit Proud talked to Brent Johnson about how Giving Songs is helping local families.

Giving Songs Board of Directors

Giving Songs Board of Directors: Chris Vanderveen, Jim O’Doherty, Megan Spillane, Jaime Johnson, Brent Johnson, Matt Swindall, Craig Akers

Tell Detroit Proud readers how Giving Songs got its start.

It started with my son, Jack, he’s four years old and suffers from a variety of challenges. Jack has been diagnosed with cortical visual impairment, dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, epilepsy, and microcephaly. Jack has also been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has suffered from seizures. His troubles stem from the hemispheres in his brain not being connected properly.

It has been difficult, we didn’t anticipate these challenges. The activities we had planned for his future were not going to work out. We had to adjust. Giving Songs started because of the activities I shared with Jack. I played the guitar to bond with him, I’d use music to bond with my son. He enjoys it – it’s a big part of our relationship.

Brent Johnson of Giving Songs

Brent Johnson plays guitar with his son Jack

How did your motivation to help others begin?

Raising our son, I realized what little resources were available to people in our situation. My wife and I both worked, and one of us had to quit our job to provide full-time care for Jack. We needed more financial support, and the lack of resources and access to information was very frustrating.

Giving Songs grew from that frustration. It’s been great helping families in ways that I wish my family had been helped. It’s not just handing over a check or paying for a down payment on a vehicle, it’s assisting in the education of families and connecting them with helpful organizations. Families become aware of each other and share resources. It’s an opportunity to learn from each others’ mistakes and allows us to work together to get help and education.

Describe your experience helping other families though Giving Songs.

We’re a young group – we’ve been around for two and a half years. It’s been challenging to get support when you’re talking about what you want or are going to do – now we are doing it! It’s more than selling music and giving people cars, it’s a huge gift and extraordinary fun! Being in a position to give away a down payment on a car is extremely rewarding.

Tell us about the Featured Artist program.

Giving Songs created a 16-song album that features local musicians. You can name your own price – the album is available in digital or hard copy. All of the donations go to supporting families. The Featured Artist program features a new local artist every month. October’s artist was Andrew Sigworth and November featured John Norman and Shawn Wayne Donaldson. The music and our efforts have a natural synergy.

How can Detroit Proud readers support Giving Songs?

It is very easy! They can go to the Music link on GivingSongs.org and enter a donation amount for the song they’d like to download. Their contribution goes directly to help families in need.

They can also “like” us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter – this is the best way to stay informed about Giving Songs. It’s a simple process: artists get heard, families get helped – we’re a lean organization, everything is given back. Everyone is a winner!

To find out more about Giving Songs, including how to donate, visit their website HERE! The site offers free downloads from the monthly featured artists (just enter $0.00 as the purchase price), as well as the opportunity to donate, if you wish! You can also get current updates from Giving Songs on their Facebook page. Get some great music and support an excellent cause!

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