Meet Richard McLaughlin, Our Featured Volunteer from Philadelphia!

17 Dec

Meet Richard McLaughlin, Our Featured Volunteer from Philadelphia!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at St. Christopher and CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? I have been a volunteer for over 10 years

Are you a volunteer guide or musician? Musician

What is your favorite song to play for patients? Five Little Ducks

Have you ever been part of an impromptu jam session with patients or family in a hospital room? My songs are always interactive. Sometimes they sing along and sometimes they don’t.

Do you perform anywhere else besides with MOC? I use my music In my classroom, at church, and I get a gig every once in a while.

What is your occupation outside of MOC? I am a special education teacher in the Philadelphia School District. I’ve been teaching since 1989

Do you have any hidden talents? I am a handyman. I can fix most problems in my house. But I love to paint.

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? I believe that we are all born with a gift or maybe more than one. Mine happens to be the ability to connect to children through music. Honestly, there are some nights when I wonder who gets more out of the program. The healing part of the music goes both ways, and I am blessed to have this gift to share.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Most of the other experiences I’m involved with take a lot of time to see results. When I play for the children, I see immediate results. Sometimes I can actually see changes in the monitors. But mostly, I see the children smile, and they have a good moment during one of the worst times in their young life.

Has your life changed because of your experience with Musicians On Call? I have become more aware of the power of music. It goes some place in the brain that is unique and accessible at any moment. Music truly is a healing power. I’ve witnessed this up close and personal.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? After over a decade of experiences, it’s hard to say what my favorite moment is, so I’ll talk about a powerful one that happened recently.

We were at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. The door was closed and we were going to skip it, but something told me to go in. So I asked the guide to knock. Inside the room the patient was a little girl. The room was filled with 8 or 9 relatives from the parents to cousins. I spoke briefly to the father, and he was so exhausted he forgot peoples names. So, I told him it’s okay, maybe the music will help.

The patient was cooing and making little baby movements. I started playing the ABC/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and she stopped immediately and turned her head to see where this sound was coming from. I smiled and told her how beautiful she is and sang. As I sang the calm spread through the room. It was palpable. Everyone was touched. The father thanked me. And I left the room.

Experiences like this make me stop and think about why I am here on Earth. Musicians On Call is one of the most amazing displays of the reason I am here. If you have the gift of music, don’t be afraid to use it to help the healing process.

Do you want to help us deliver the healing power of music? Apply to volunteer as a guide or a musician today!

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