As we close out National Foster Care Awareness Month, I want to thank each of you of your support of Kids In A New Groove’s Foster the Music campaign! Foster the Music was created as a way to bring more visibility to youth in foster care and how we, as a community, can empower them to transform their future through music mentorship.
Separated from family, exposed to abuse, trauma, and/or neglect; Moving placements an average of six times before aging out of the foster care system; and faced with daunting statistics: 25% chance of becoming homeless by age 25; 42% chance of being convicted of a crime; less than 50% chance of graduating high school and 4% chance of obtaining a college degree. In 2015, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 427,910 children were living in the foster care system, 27,895 of those in Texas; 1,536 in the Austin metro area. All facing the same statistics, all scared and wondering whom, if anyone, they can trust.
National Foster Care Month was first established in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Since that time, it has helped the nation recognize the work of foster families, social workers, community organizations, and others who are improving the lives of young people in foster care — and encouraged communities to participate in efforts to support these children.
At Kids In A New Groove, we strive to combat these negative statistics by offering each youth in foster care free, private, weekly music mentorship. Dr. James Catterall of UCLA completed a study showing “students who studied music and the arts had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records and were more active in community affairs than other students.” He also found that “students from poorer families who studied the arts improved overall school performance more rapidly than all other students.” In both 2015 & 2016, 100% of eligible seniors in the KING program graduated high school; 95% of those graduates pursued higher education or enlisted in the military. Through our program, students develop the ability to affect positive change through the power of music, and discover they can break the pattern that follows youth in foster care.
We could not continue our work without the support of our sponsors and community. Your confidence in our organization and the lasting impact we strive to make each day is an inspiring reminder of the generous community we live in. On behalf of our students, mentors, Board of Directors, and staff, thank you for making Kids In A New Groove’s first Foster the Music campaign a success! Together, we can brighten the future for more youth in foster care!
-Laura Wood, Executive Director