Charity Spotlight: Healing Harps

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Posted By on December 29, 2020

Therapeutic Harp Foundation uses an ancient instrument to bring comfort and peace

Organization:

Therapeutic Harp Foundation

Leadership:

Executive director: Kim Sterling-Heflin

Board chair: Rene Kyl

Annual Budget:

$125,000

Origin:

Therapeutic Harp Foundation evolved from Hospice of the Valley’s Integrative Therapeutics Program and has been serving the Valley for 20 years. Delivering the power of live therapeutic harp music in healthcare settings, THF alleviates pain and anxiety and helps improve outcomes where possible. To date, THF has provided live harp music to more than 195,000 patients, caregivers and medical staff in 14 healthcare facilities throughout the Valley and has delivered 1,940 hours of live harp music.

“We are the ONLY certified live therapeutic harp music program in Arizona, and the only one in the U.S. only using harps,” said Kim Sterling-Heflin, THF’s executive director. Why only harps? “The harp is the second-oldest musical instrument in the world — the drum is the oldest — but the harp has the greatest resonance or energy of any other musical instrument,” she said. THF is currently involved with three research projects working to codify the medical effects of live therapeutic harp music.

Known for:

Bringing the power of live harp music to healthcare settings to reduce pain and anxiety for patients, their families and medical staff. “We bring comfort, give hope and offer energy to the patients,” said Sterling-Heflin. “The doctors and nurses are the first to thank us and ask us to bring the harps to their patients … and them as well.”

Employee VIP:

Regional program director Jocelyn Obermeyer, a nationally certified therapeutic harp practitioner, has been bringing live therapeutic harp music to patients, families and medical staff for the past 12 years. She is a member of several prominent local and national standardization and therapeutic musicians’ boards and is a board member of the International Harp Therapy Program.

Challenges During COVID-19:

Not being allowed in many healthcare facilities and reduced funding from healthcare facilities due to COVID-19. THF is also receiving fewer contributions as the public grapples with the fallout from the pandemic.

Ways to Support:

Contributions to THF are welcome, as is help to

expand the program to healthcare-related entities

that would benefit from live therapeutic harp music

such as special-needs schools, assisted-living facilities, etc. The public can also hire the organization’s harpists to play at fundraising events, parties, weddings, baptisms, end-of-life celebrations and more. Call the office to schedule a harpist.

To learn more, go to therapeuticharp.org.

About Karen Werner

Karen Werner is the editor of Frontdoors Media. She is a writer, editor and media consultant. She has interned at The New Yorker, worked at Parents Magazine, edited five books and founded several local magazines. Her work has appeared in Sunset, Mental Floss and the Saturday Evening Post.