Care2Rock, a new virtual music lesson social enterprise, has teamed up with Texas CASA for our Computers for CASA program to provide free music lessons for foster children and youth.
Texas CASA championed a bill last legislative session, SB 78, which gives CASA programs access to Texas’ state agency surplus computers to distribute to children and youth in the foster care system served by CASA. The computers distributed to the children are theirs to keep wherever they go. Care2Rock will be offering free lessons on their site to the youth who have received computers through this program.
Children in the foster care system tend to experience multiple foster placements and schools, which means they lose their teachers and peers – and their band or dance instructors, for example – with each move. But with Care2Rock, they get to keep the same teacher everywhere they travel. Lisa Briggs, Texas CASA Program Management Specialist, explained the importance of giving these children consistency, and the chance to participate in normal childhood activities like music lessons.
“Playing an instrument and taking lessons is a normal thing to do, and in the abnormal situations our kids are put in they need to be offered what other kids are offered,” she said.
Founded by CEO Karyn Scott, Austin-based Care2Rock is a unique intersection of technology, music and social enterprise. In addition to offering these children a chance to feel more normal, the science behind the impact of music on helping traumatized children is “very encouraging,” Scott said, explaining that music can “actually heal damaged neural connections.”
“I have worked with kids in foster care for many years and have personally witnessed the transformation that music lessons can bring, along with allowing an emotional outlet that can be very healing for kids in foster care,” Scott said. “It is my goal to connect kids in care to this healing outlet.”
On May 3, Care2Rock hosted a launch event during National Foster Care Month at The Townsend in Austin. Local musician Suzanna Choffel performed at the event, and many other advocates for the program, including Briggs, were in attendance. Briggs was also given the opportunity to speak at the event.
“It was nice to be invited to show our partnership with them and for them to recognize that a big need in the system is to give kids normalcy,” she said.
Care2Rock aims to provide their students with more than just musical abilities by agreeing to mentor children in the foster care system at no cost. Students of any age are paired with skilled music teachers that are hand-picked and screened to ensure a safe learning environment for the children. The one-on-one online music lesson platform offers a variety of instruments to choose from, and if you can’t find the one you want, the site allows you to submit a unique request. They also offer songwriting and singing lessons.
Partnering with Texas CASA gives Care2Rock the chance to touch the hearts of children that otherwise wouldn’t have access to the program. The partnership will first be piloted with two local CASA programs to ensure that the program is the best it can be, and then, Care2Rock hopes to take it statewide.
“CASA’s unfailing commitment to kids in foster care is inspiring,” Scott said. “If we can bring computers to kids in care – and then bring them into music lessons through these computers – we can truly change children’s lives.”