Our Story

Today the UKC is an international charity that has helped thousands of children around the world to overcome the stress, anxiety and health challenges of serious health conditions. But it started out with the simple idea of giving back, through music.

Jared Bergman (left) and Corey Bergman
Jared Bergman (left) and Corey Bergman

In 2013, Corey Bergman, a life-long musician, began volunteering at local hospitals in Miami, Florida as a way of coping with the tragic loss of his son, Jared. As he played guitar for young patients and their families, he says, “I could plainly see that the act of listening to and playing music, and holding an instrument, has a deep positive effect on a child. All the anxiety and fear of the hospital just fades away and this kid becomes a kid again.”

Then, two developments quickly brought the future UKC sharply into focus. First, Corey connected with music therapists at Miami Children’s Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and others, and gained exposure to the field of music therapy. Through music therapy, certified professionals help patients use music to achieve clinical goals, which in the case of young children might include lowering anxiety and stress, improving vital signs, and a multitude of other results. Second, the simplicity and small size of the ukulele made it seem like the ideal vehicle for music therapy with even the smallest patients.

In 2014, Corey and his wife Edda incorporated the UKC. Its mission was, and remains, to support music therapy for hospitalized children, by giving children a ukulele to use during their hospital stay, and to keep when they go home. Each year, the UKC delivers thousands of ukuleles, to a growing network of more than 200 hospitals in the U.S. and in North America, Europe and Asia.

Giving back, through music – this is the idea behind UKC, past, present and future.

Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) Fact Sheet – July, 2020

The UKC was founded in 2013 by Corey and Edda Bergman. Corey is a musician with a lifelong love of stringed instruments. The organization was founded as a tribute to Corey’s son, Jared, who passed away from a viral infection at the age of 20 in 2010.

  • UKC Vision: Transforming lives through music
  • UKC Mission: We harness the power of music to improve the well-being of children and families around the world. Through ukuleles and music therapy, we give the gift of music for life.
  • As of 2021, the UKC has donated more than 10,000 ukuleles to music therapists and others who directly serve children, primarily in children’s hospitals
  • The UKC supports music-therapy programs in more than 200 hospitals in the U.S. and internationally. The full list of hospitals is located here: https://theukc.org/hospitals
  • The UKC supports programs in several countries outside the U.S.: Canada, France, Mexico, Taiwan and the United Kingdom
  • In August, 2018, the UKC announced its first scholarship program, the Jared Bergman Fellowship in Music Therapy, providing $10,000 in funding for a music therapy fellow, to be implemented at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” – American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005
  • In November, 2017, six ukuleles created and donated by world-famous luthiers sold at auction for $100,000, with proceeds going to UKC
  • The UKC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, based in Lakeland, FL
  • Ukulele Kids Club Inc. is the recipient of the 2016 TEDx Coconut Grove 2016 Hope Award
  • The UKC is the creator of the UKC At Home, an online resource featuring innovative tools and resources for music therapists and music therapy students.
  • The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument, similar in form to a guitar, that made its first appearance in the Hawaiian islands in the 19th century. Its size and simplicity make it ideally suited for children and music novices.
  • UKC on social media