First responders and healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic will be honored on April 30 as part of “Worldwide Day of Gratitude,” a global virtual gathering organized by a student-run organization, YOUnison.

Music has long served as a unifying force during challenging times. 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 emerged as a rallying cry for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting April 14, 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.

“The effort put forth by the first responders and healthcare workers has been incredibly inspiring to so many around the world,” said Andrew E. Morrison, co-founder of YOUnison, a student-centered community empowering YOU to achieve musical excellence based around self-directed learning, creativity and collaboration. “To show our gratitude, teachers, students, and people of all ages can use the power of music and the arts to unite to honor these amazing heroes.”

Morrison, a 2017 graduate of Watchung Hills Regional High School in Somerset County, is a junior at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. The organization involves students from some 25 other universities, and its leadership team includes several other Watchung Hills graduates.

“In ordinary times, music can open our hearts and lift our spirits,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod. “During these difficult days, music has the power to provide comfort and connect us with others. It is the universal language. I can think of no better way to honor the heroes of this pandemic, and I salute the young New Jerseyans who have undertaken this project.”

The 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, Berklee Student Government Association, CMA Foundation, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Conn-Selmer, D’Addario Foundation, Drum Corps International, Grammy Museum, Grammy Music Education Coalition, Hal Leonard Corporation, International Federation of Musicians, 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, Vandoren, WGI, Yamaha and YOUnison.

To access sheet music and sample lessons, and to learn more about YOUnison, please visit More information about YOUnison is available here.