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Following an early 2020 trip with Compassion to the Dominican Republic, Grammy-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin felt God telling him to use his musical talents to inspire and encourage youth around the world.

Watch: Kirk shares why he chose to get involved with The Compassion Youth Choir

In late 2020, Kirk began working with Compassion International to create The Compassion Youth Choir to encourage and inspire youth to develop their musical talents and pursue their dreams. More than 120 youth throughout the 25 countries where Compassion serves responded to the call for auditions. Kirk was so moved by the talent and passion of these young artists that he decided to accept everyone who auditioned into the choir.

Watch: Kirk shares what his goal is for the choir members

Choir member Yshara, 11, from the Philippines says, “I’m very excited to be part of the youth choir, to show everyone my talent in singing, and to be with other singers from different places.”

Maria, 18, from Nicaragua adds, “My favorite part was to hear Kirk’s testimony and his words of motivation and inspiration—that if you can dream about something, you can reach it in Christ Jesus.”

“I feel extremely happy to be selected,” says Kakama, 18, from Uganda. “I feel God has blessed me so much, beyond what words can explain.”

Through virtual rehearsals, Kirk worked with these youth over the past several months. He provided vocal coaching, answered questions about his life and musical career, and even taught the group some dance moves. The result of these sessions was the re-recording and re-release of his song “Lean on Me”, which is now available for purchase and streaming, with proceeds going to help more children living in poverty through Compassion’s ministry around the world.

Watch: Kirk shares why he chose Lean on Me as the song to record with the choir

Kirk says, “It was such an honour working with so many young, talented and gifted kids from across the globe! I’m grateful to the team at Compassion International for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity. It’s unbelievable that a song like this still resonates with so many people. I pray this version provides a little hope for the people across the globe.”

Meet the choir members

Take a virtual trip around the world to meet some of the youth who had the opportunity to sing with Kirk Franklin.

Kakama, Uganda

Yshara, Philippines

Stream, purchase and share Lean on Me ft. The Compassion Youth Choir today.

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Compassion Canada

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