Mission & Impact
A Free Bird’s mission is to empower each child to fly free with the arts.
More than 10,000 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. We believe that access to arts education can help children in their battle against this pervasive disease, in which diagnoses are only increasing year over year.
At A Free Bird, we see firsthand every day how impactful creative expression can be during the hardest time in a child’s life. The arts help them process complex emotions, find joy, and express things they can’t always say in words.
Therapeutic arts have also been found to have numerous benefits to physical and mental health:
- In an examination of multiple studies, researchers found that creative arts therapies significantly reduced anxiety, depression, and pain in cancer patients, and improved their overall quality of life. (JAMA Internal Medicine, May 2013)
- Other studies have shown artistic interventions to improve clinical outcomes, reduce hospital stays, reduce pain and improve moods in patients contending with chronic diseases. (American Journal of Public Health, February 2010)
Beyond the health benefits, arts education gives children something to look forward to during long days at the hospital, as well as a sense of personal accomplishment, a passion they can share with others, and an enduring love for the arts.
A Free Bird was founded in 2008 when multidisciplinary artist Godni Amir witnessed firsthand art’s potential to heal. His voice teacher, Gail, gave up teaching to become the primary caregiver for her husband when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Soon after, she received a cancer diagnosis herself.
Gail’s husband tragically passed away. But Gail herself made a full recovery, spurred on by her passion for music and photography.
Since then, Godni has made it his goal to bring the therapeutic power of the arts to those who have the most to live for: children. Today, AFB programs brighten up hospital rooms, provide entry into performances, and inspire children to express themselves during and beyond their time of treatment.
Recognized by Mayor Bill de Blasio for our positive impact, we work primarily with hospitals and pediatric cancer centers in New York and New Jersey. A Free Bird has operated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization since 2011.