Three West Chester University Students Launch “Worldwide Day of Gratitude” to Honor COVID-19 Heroes

Worldwide Day of GratitudeThree West Chester University students who hail from the Wells School of Music and the College of Arts & Humanities are doing their part to recognize heroes who have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic. Through their student-led organization, YOUnison, co-founders Andrew Morrison, Jadon Hertzler, and Chris Swantek, have launched the “Worldwide Day of Gratitude,” a global coming together through the arts, on Thursday, April 30.

Morrison, a Music Education and Saxophone performance major says, “Worldwide Day of Gratitude honors all of the first responders, frontline healthcare workers, and all those who are putting their lives on the line to keep people safe. Music has long served as a unifying force during challenging times. There are many ways we can all show our gratitude, but we believe music provides a unique healing power.”

For Worldwide Day of Gratitude, teachers and students of all ages, as well as the general public, are invited to learn and share the iconic Bill Withers song, “Lean on Me,” which has become a rallying cry for the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheet music authorized by Hal Leonard Corporation, as well as sample lesson plans and thought starters for participation are available at Participants are encouraged to download the materials, then record and share their unique versions on YouTube and post on social media channels using the hashtags #LeanOnUs and #DayOfGratitude. West Chester University audiences are also asked to tag with #ArtsAtWCU.

Morrison adds, “Music students in grades K-12 are losing their final Spring concerts and end-of-year competitions. The loss is felt even more by High School Seniors. While we cannot replicate these experiences, we believe that understanding the value of service is essential within any music and arts education. By bringing everybody together for a single day, we can all take part in a service project so much bigger than ourselves. Service is an essential component of the lifelong musical experience, and right now is the perfect time to emphasize that.”

Worldwide Day of Gratitude has attracted the attention and collaboration from the leading organizations in music and education, including Arts Ed NJ, Australian Society of Music Education, CMA Foundation, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Conn-Selmer, D’Addario Foundation, Vandoren, Drum Corps International, Grammy Museum, Grammy Music Education Coalition, Hal Leonard Corporation, International Society for Music Education, John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, Kappa Kappa Psi, Little Kids Rock, Music Education Council (United Kingdom), Music First, Music for All, Music Service Learning, Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, NAMM Foundation, National Association for Music Education, Noteflight, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Save The Music Foundation, School Culture and Climate Initiative, SEL4NJ, Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab, Spanish Society for Music Education, SpreadMusicNow, System Blue, Teach Rock, The Lewis Prize, USBands, WGI, and Yamaha.

Schools and organizations can learn more and sign up at to be featured on the page as a supporter/participant in the campaign leading up to the 30th. Participation is encouraged to show unity. 

About YOUnison - Created by music students for students, YOUnison’s main objective is to positively influence the future of music education. YOUnison empowers students to achieve musical excellence based on self-directed learning, creativity, and collaboration. Their mission is to redefine lifelong individual development through music, leadership and social-emotional learning, and to create a world full of well-rounded individuals through music education.


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