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State Honoree

Melanie Goldstein

Missouri

Melanie Goldstein, 12, of St. Louis, Mo., a seventh-grader at Wydown Middle School in Clayton, organizes hour-long musical concerts by young people each month at senior living centers and nursing homes in her community. Melanie and her sister used to sing and play musical instruments for their grandfather, and noticed how much he enjoyed it – even when he was in the hospital. “Music can be healing and can make people feel much better,” said Melanie. After her grandfather died, Melanie wanted to continue using her music to brighten people’s lives, especially senior citizens without grandchildren. The first thing Melanie did was contact senior facilities to see if they’d be interested in her program. Then Melanie recruited children who played the piano, cello or violin, and other children who could sing. The performances, called “Sunday Music and More,” began in February of 2002, and have been as much fun for the young performers as for their audiences, according to Melanie. “The program makes everyone feel good and happy about themselves,” she said. “I hope that when I am old and frail, children will care enough to play for me,” said Melanie.