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Worldwide Day of Gratitude Showcases How the Arts Can Heal

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On April 30, over 140 organizations across 31 countries came together with student-run organization YOUnison to host the first-ever “Worldwide Day of Gratitude. The day was spent giving thanks through the arts to honor all the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic by posting unique renditions of Bill Wither’s iconic song “Lean on Me.”

Throughout the month of April, education organizations around the world, and various school districts came up with their own ways of sharing gratitude. Culminating on April 30, submissions for #LeanOnUs ranged from music to art projects and even dance routines, showcasing just how impactful the arts can be during this unprecedented time.

With help from numerous music organizations and artists, resources were created to show how anyone could get involved in the day. Teach Rock, and the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation founder Steven Van Zandt created a national sing-along of the song through the help of Sirius XM reaching their 30 million monthly listeners to cap off the day-long celebration.

“We wanted to create something special that anyone could participate in,” says YOUnison founder Andrew Morrison. “Regardless of age or musical/artistic experience, this was a way that we could all participate in a service project bigger than ourselves. We hope that we brought some light to any healthcare workers’ day. As education is in the midst of change, we hope that everybody can recognize how important arts education will be when we go back. These are unprecedented times, and to take away our students’ outlets to express themselves through creativity is taking away an educational right all of our students deserve.”

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