Miss A Columnist

Amanda Ivarra is a graduate of Texas A&M University. After graduating with a degree in Health, she moved to Austin and started working for a national non-profit organization. She spent 5 years coordinating community events and programs. After leaving the organization, she started to focus on her creative pursuits. Currently, she is working on developing her own jewelry line. Writing has always been a hobby for Amanda. For most of her life, she’s kept journals. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to take her writing public and began blogging and guest blogging. The one thing this girl can’t live without is music. Not really one to sing or play an instrument, she just loves music. Perhaps, it’s the songwriting that she admires so much or a good beat that she can dance to. Whether she’s attending a concert with friends, hanging out with the guys watching sports, volunteering in the community, hiking or visiting the newest places in town, Amanda lives to enjoy life. But, nothing brings more joy to her than being able to make someone smile or laugh!

Recap: Austin’s Music For The Soul 2012 To Benefit Kids In A New Groove

It was a special cause that brought Michael Franti and Spearhead to The Long Center on Thursday, September 20th.  The band headlined Music for the Soul 2012 benefiting Kids in a New Grove (K.I.N.G.), a non-profit organization that provides private one-on-one music mentorship to kids in the Texas foster care system.

Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove

Franti’s personal experience as a youth in foster care brought special meaning to his concert performance that night.  He was born to an Irish-German-French mother and an African-American and American-Indian father in Oakland but was later adopted by a Finnish-American couple who raised him along with their three biological children and another African-American son.

Music is very personal to Franti, but he seems to have created a sound and a message that resonates with everyone—an inspiring blend of hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock.

Franti says, “Music is something you can’t hold in your hands, smell it, taste it or even see it, yet somehow just coming together and feeling these little vibrations that tickle our eardrums can somehow lift us all up out of our most difficult moments in life to unimaginable heights.”

Photo Credit: Michael Franti and Spearhead

Through a connection with music, K.I.N.G. works to provide the lessons and tools needed for a successful future among the youth in the Texas foster care system.  As part of their music mentorship program, students take a variety of music lessons, perform an annual recital and have the opportunity to make live recordings in a professional recording studio.  Students are also presented with a brand new musical instrument which they earn from practicing and meeting program goals.  All of this is provided at no cost to the student or foster family.

Despite a difficult youth, music fills the hearts and minds of students with the hope and possibility of a brighter future.  As K.I.N.G.’s mission states, “lessons become a lifeline to a better future.”  So far, over 350 Texas youth in foster care have benefited by building confidence, making lasting friendships, improving grades and attending college.

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