Company: Purple Songs Can Fly, Texas Children's Hospital
Location: Houston, Tex.
Aaron Kaufman started out wanting to teach music and art in China, but though he couldn't find what he was looking for overseas, he did finally find the right fit -- in the New York Times.
The aspiring musician and recent graduate of Carleton College read about Purple Songs Can Fly, a non-profit that brings music to young cancer patients, and called the director of the program, based at the Texas Children's Hospital.
Though the organization didn't have an official internship program, Kaufman managed to arrange a position jointly funded by the hospital, Carleton, and outside donors for the summer of 2008, and he's back again this year.
"It's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done musically," Kaufman says. He plays music for cancer patients, who range in age from seven to 20, and helps them write and record songs in the hospital's music studio. And Kaufman says the music therapy works. He recalls the example of one girl who was in severe pain and constantly moaning, but finally relaxed at the sound of his music. "It's taxing," he says, "but at the same time very rewarding."
Though Kaufman will start paying the bills with a full-time job as a business analyst at Target's Minneapolis headquarters this fall, he won't be abandoning his music career: He's already self-published an album on iTunes.
NEXT: Dana Kittrelle, age 21