Honoree Spotlight

Jourdan Urbach: Changing the World Since the Age of 7

Since the age of 7, Jourdan Urbach knew that he possessed valuable skills that could one day change the world, most especially for children in need. It all started with a visit to the intensive care unit at Beth Israel North Hospital in New York where Jourdan met children afflicted with extreme neurological disorders. He vowed to help these children in any way he could and later returned to play his first concert for the young patients.

On the Ground
Jourdan Urbach – 2010 Youth Award Honoree

Impact to date:

$5.1 million for 12 life-saving surgeries, 1,000 cochlear implants and 2 pediatric clinics.


To support pediatric divisions of hospitals and medical organizations through in-hospital concerts and gala benefit Concerts for a Cure all across the world.

Words of Wisdom:

“When I was 7 years old, I was a passionate idealist. Some things don’t change.”

“The giggling and clapping that followed were enough to keep me playing for the children of the 10th floor [of Beth Israel] for the next 12 years,” said Jourdan during his presentation at the 2010 TEDxYSE: Unleashing Young Social Entrepreneurs.

He discovered that music could aid in the process of healing after seeing one of the patients move his hand to the music as though conducting an orchestra. This small spark of hope was enough for Jourdan to become dedicated to help these hospital-bound children.

By the age of 9 he founded Children Helping Children, a nonprofit that raises money for hospitals and other medical organizations to fund home health care for child patients and global neurological disease research. Shortly thereafter, he founded Concerts for a Cure and began traveling across the country with other musicians to play music and raise money for pediatric neurological care and research.

In 2010, Jourdan received the prestigious World of Children Youth Award for his extraordinary dedication to sick children across the globe. He used his Award to purchase nine beds for a pediatric malaria ward in Ghana, where there are so many children suffering from malaria and dysentery that many have to lie on the floor while awaiting care. Since their purchase, these beds have given warmth and comfort to about 1,000 children every year.

He also used a portion of his Award grant to fund a therapeutic music program at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital for pediatric bone marrow transplant patients, having realized that these children needed special attention since they are often in the hospital longer than other patients. Music therapy has been proven to help patients manage pain, boost their immune systems and reduce anxiety levels. Through the use of 20 music players and a live group of musicians visiting bedsides three times a week, approximately 129 patients have benefited from music therapy every year since the beginning of the program.

Today, 20-year-old Jourdan is still a violin virtuoso as well as a neuroscience researcher and award-winning charity organizer, proving to the world that youth have the power to create real change.

“When I was 7 years old, Jason and the children of the 10th floor [of Beth Israel North Hospital] taught me to think bigger, harder, and more compassionately,” Jourdan said. “They inspired me to turn Children Helping Children from an organization into a movement in medicine and music.”

Since starting Children Helping Children, Jourdan has raised a total of $5.1 million that has funded 12 life-saving neurosurgeries, 1,000 cochlear implants, pediatric clinics in El Salvador and the two World of Children-funded programs.

But he didn’t stop there. Three years ago while attending Yale University, he funded the International Coalition of College Philanthropists (ICCP) to bring together other like-minded young people who are passionate about making a difference. At the end of its first year, ICCP raised $40,000 to build a clinic in Ghana, start a Multiple Sclerosis Society chapter in Connecticut and fund various international projects in third world countries. This year, Jourdan was again honored for his efforts as a Jefferson Awards “Globe Changer” (being one of only four people awarded under the age of 25) and with a 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award.

Even though he is now an adult, Jourdan still holds the same unstoppable drive that his 7-year-old self had, pushing him to continue to work tirelessly for children in need around the world.

“When I was 7 years old, I was a passionate idealist,” admitted Jourdan in his TEDx presentation. “Some things don’t change.”

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