Keep up with Sparks!
Sparks Hosts Chipotle Night Out
Huge thanks to everyone who joined us for Chipotle Night Out on June 21!
One of the attendees mentioned, "This is so much fun - we should do it again!" Another said they didn't expect so many people to show up. Not only that, but several attendees stayed for nearly 2 hours. As a result, Sparks reached its goal; because of YOUR support, we were able to receive 33% of the proceeds from the night's sales.
Have an idea for Sparks' next event? Email us!
New Podcast Episode with Hogg Foundation
Sparks for Success! recently teamed up with UT Austin's Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to discuss the traumas experienced by children of inmates and how Sparks For Success is helping them build their resilience.
Check out the podcast episode here. Sparks' introduction begins at 3:20.
Mental Health Day with Austin Achieve Schools!
Sparks for Success! recently partnered with Austin Achieve schools during their Mental Health Day to help kids with pre-STAAR test anxiety by providing therapeutic, music-based activities. Four classes of children were assigned to participate in Sparks' "music room" and enjoyed activities from waving scarves, to following the beat of a song using djembes (hand drums), to using their imagination while dancing and learning hand motions. These activities reinforced important SEL (social-emotional learning) skills like emotional regulation, listening, and following directions.
Sparks received the following note from the event coordinator: "Wanted to take a moment to thank you again for volunteering your time and energy to our Mental Health Day on Monday! You went above and beyond to make your station an engaging and enjoyable experience for our scholars."
Your continued support of Sparks makes these types of partnerships possible for us to reach even more students!
Sparks Celebrates World Music Therapy Week
Sparks for Success! celebrated World Music Therapy Week from April 10-15, 2023, by recognizing our wonderful music therapists who work with our Sparks kiddos. A few of the skills they teach the students through the use of music are impulse control, turn-taking, identifying and expressing emotions appropriately, and interacting positively with others.
Anita Swanson, Ph.D., MT-BC
Dr. Anita Swanson has served as a practitioner and professor of music therapy for over two decades. She has written several journal articles, book chapters, and a book about music therapy treatment. Anita frequently presents across the U.S. and internationally. Currently, she is serving as President of the World Federation of Music Therapy.
Anita is frequently on the move, having made 11 cross-country transitions. This is her second time to live in Texas, and she is putting down some Lone Star roots.
Adrienne Banks, LMSW, MT-BC
A Board-Certified Music Therapist and a Licensed Master Social Worker, Adrienne has professional experience working in hospice, in-home therapy for children and adults with developmental disabilities, and in the child welfare system. She has had the joy of being a music therapist with Sparks since 2019, both in-person and virtually. She also works as a professional cellist and adjunct cello instructor at Abilene Christian University.
Julliana Castaneda, MT-BC
Julliana is a board-certified Music Therapist from Chicago, IL. She is the owner and founder of Entera Music and Wellness, a small private-practice company based in Chicago. Julliana is passionate about facilitating bilingual music therapy services and believes in using the power of music to empower and encourage individuals to be their most authentic selves, in and out of the therapy setting.
A fun fact about Julliana is that she loves Star Wars and went on a solo road trip to Colorado last year!
Brianna Rzeznik, M.A., MT-BC
Originally from western Massachusetts, Brianna holds a Masters in clinical mental health counseling with a music therapy specialization from Lesley University. She has worked with elders, individuals with disabilities, children of all ages, and individuals receiving inpatient psychiatric care.
A classically trained violist, Brianna has performed in orchestras and in chamber ensembles throughout the northeastern United States, but now favors more improvisatory styles such as bluegrass, blues, and funk.
Igniting a Spark during Amplify Austin 2023
A big thank you to everyone who donated to Sparks for Success! during Amplify Austin 2023! Because of you, Sparks for Success! received a matching donation and is able to help even more kids benefit from music therapy classes! If you missed being able to contribute during Amplify Austin, you can donate here.
Early Giving for Amplify Austin 2023 has begun!
Join Sparks for Success! in making a difference in the lives of our students through supporting our Music Therapy program. Your donation will help provide group therapy sessions in Central Texas schools and facilitated by our Board-Certified Music Therapists. You can help change the trajectory of a child's life so they can reach their full potential.
Sparks for Success! Receives a Grant!
The WoodNext Foundation has awarded Sparks for Success! with a generous grant to provide Music Therapy sessions to more children during this school year. The WoodNext Foundation prioritizes the areas of Mental Health and Homelessness that Sparks addresses as we work with our students.
All of us at Sparks for Success! are grateful to The WoodNext Foundation for their support of our students.
2022 End of Year Matching Challenge
Thanks to everyone who donated to Sparks' end of year matching challenge, we were able to receive the matching funds!
Help Sparks for Success!
Sparks for Success! begins our 7th year working with underserved children. These children suffer from traumas such as family incarceration and homelessness. They often get left behind because they are misunderstood or do not have services aimed at their difficulties.
Sparks for Success! provides free Music Therapy, helping our students learn critical life skills and tools for success in school and in life. Our goal is to help end generational poverty and incarceration for kids who often get left behind.
Please consider helping us serve more children as we begin a new school year.
Guitar Center Music Foundation!
Sparks for Success! has been greatly blessed this fall. The Guitar Center Music Foundation awarded Sparks with a generous in-kind grant to supply all the instruments we need for our Music Therapy (MT) sessions.
This had been a particularly difficult time due to the pandemic. In the past, Sparks collected our instruments at the end of the school year to sanitize and store them for the following year. However, since March 2019, we were sending instruments to our students’ homes as all MT sessions were held utilizing tele-health and children were attending school on-line. As a result, we had completely depleted our inventory.
Sparks for Success! receives a grant from Learn All The Time!!
Learn All The Time (LATT) has blessed our Sparks students with a grant to support Out of School Time into the summer months!
This grant is helping support Sparks’ 2021 Summer Pilot Program
Sparks for Success! partners with LATT and the Andy Roddick Foundation who offer support services for the work we do with our students and their families. In addition to our school-based Music Therapy programs, Sparks also provides home-based Music Therapy that reaches the whole family–siblings and adult caretakers!
Sparks for Success! Partnership Spotlight
Hello all, Lindsay Razzaz here, CIS’ Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships. With incredible enthusiasm, I want to share a small nonprofit making a mighty impact in our school communities! Sparks for Success! uses music therapy to promote healing from the traumas of parent incarceration. Music, an international language, is sometimes the key young children need to unlock life experiences, scale internal walls created by trauma, and begin an expressive journey of renewed self and healing. In the words of Dr. Debasish Mridha, “Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”
This is your chance to make a positive impact on impoverished youth!
Please consider a gift to Sparks for Success! to help us offset these additional unforeseen expenses. Sparks wants to continue these weekly videos throughout the summer and into the school year. You can support literally hundreds of children through this project.
Most helpful is to have the security of monthly contributions. By choosing this option you will help Sparks know what we can do for our children. Sparks for Success! is grateful for all contributions.
Thank you in advance for supporting our children through these difficult days.