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St. Mary’s Preemies and Their Parents Need Help

The neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, is a long room, where tiny babies stay with their worried moms and dads for weeks and months at a time. When Ellen Papa, found of Richmond nonprofit Music That’s Mine, visited the St. Mary’s NICU recently something profound struck her: There was no sound in the air but beeps and voices – no music at all!

A long-time NICU nurse told Ellen she has seen some parents bring in their own music for their babies, but most of them just sit in worried silence.

Research has shown that music soothes both babies (and parents). The evidence is overwhelming. These babies need Richmond’s help!

The NICU at St. Mary’s is requesting portable CD players, mp3 players, iPods, tiny speakers, music CDs, blank CDs, iTunes cards, and inspirational CDs. Small objects (like iPods) can be put in a baby’s incubator as long as they can be wiped down. Whatever you can donate, they can use.

“My hope,” says Ellen, “is that these precious babies and the people who love them can have soothing music to warm their hearts.”

If you would like to help realize this hope, please email She will provide details about drop-off or pick-up of your generous donations.

Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.

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