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!

Kids In A New Groove And Austin Bazaar Music Set To Amplify Austin

Recently, Kids in a New Groove staff members saw one of their very own musicians perform in a local, televised band contest and make it to the semi-finals.  It was a huge success for the non-profit organization that provides music lessons and mentoring to Texas youth in foster care.

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

The goal of the organization isn’t to produce talented musicians but to teach kids long-term skills like goal-setting and confidence.  Seeing kids use those skills in life is the organization’s main triumph.

Through private weekly music lessons and one-on-one mentoring, Kids in a New Groove provides 52 individuals in our area’s foster care system with the tools and support they need to become successful individuals.

“Our kids do gain long-term skills out of our programs.  One of the biggest things, I think, is confidence and understanding that they can have something of their own that they can succeed with,” says Karyn Scott, Executive Director of Kids in a New Groove.

Through constant support, the organization encourages kids to earn their own brand new instruments by meeting program guidelines and improving their skills.  Kids perform in annual recitals and also have the opportunity to go into a professional recording studio and make a live recording.

The organization’s music teachers do more than provide music lessons.  Kids start to see that somebody cares about them, believes in them, and encourages them to succeed.

“[Kids in a New Groove] is the only mentorship program of its kind in the United States that specifically trains music teachers to work with youth in foster care,” says Scott.  “Our teachers understand the challenges these kids face, and they understand what an important role they play in their lives.”

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

Often times youth in foster care are shuffled around during a brief period of time. Kids in a New Groove provides kids with instruments and skills that they can take with them from one placement to another.  They also strive to provide consistent, music mentorship through the various placements.  So, if a child is transferred into a new area, then the organization works to place that child with another music teacher or, if possible, keep them with the same teacher.

Through its work, Kids in a New Groove is changing some very grim statistics on youth in foster care–statistics that give no hope of a successful future to kids in foster care.  More than 20 percent of youth end up homeless and on the streets and many more will be incarcerated within the first two years of leaving the foster care system.

On March 4, 2013, Kids in a New Groove will participate in Amplify Austin, Austin’s first community-wide giving festival.  From 7 p.m. on March 4th until 7 p.m. on March 5th, our community is challenged to raise $1 million for 330 Central Texas non-profit organizations.  To amplify things and help generate support for Kids in a New Groove, Austin Bazaar Music, a worldwide provider of musical instruments based in Austin, has pledged to donate two brand new guitars for every $1,000 the organization raises.

“Austin Bazaar has always been great with being a source of new instruments for us.  That’s why we’re really excited about having them be a part of this campaign,” says Scott.

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

(Photo Credit: Kids in a New Groove)

There are approximately 1,600 youth in foster care in Austin and the surrounding areas, so the goal is to raise $16,000 within the 24 hour period–$10 for each child.  If this goal is met, then an additional 16 children in foster care can receive free music mentorship and brand new instruments this year.

The organization is also hosting a contest via its Facebook page.  Donors will be eligible to win a brand new Squier by Fender Acoustic Guitar and Pack with Strap, Gig Bag and Tuner donated by Austin Bazaar Music.  Please note that all donations during this time must be made through Amplify Austin’s Kids in a New Groove link.  For more details and updates, make sure you visit the organization’s website and Facebook page.

WHEN: Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7 p.m. – Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7 p.m.

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