Care2Rock CEO Karyn Scott speaks about the power of music.
By Lauren Jones, Photo by Annika Franco
Imagine learning to play a musical instrument from a professional without having to leave the comforts of your home. Care2Rock, a newly launched mobile platform led by CEO Karyn Scott, founder of the music-and-mentorship nonprofit Kids in a New Groove, offers just that.
While Scott doesn’t hail from a musical background, it was her years working for the Travis County District Attorney’s office that placed her on her current path. As a prosecutor, Scott saw the difficulties foster children face on a daily basis. So, Scott put her passion and belief in the healing power of music to work by starting Kids in a New Groove, providing free, private music lessons for Central Texas foster children. With more than 400,000 children in the foster-care system nationwide, she felt called to help those in need.
“It was wonderful seeing the changes…[and]how far kids could come,” Scott recalls. “They were getting adopted and graduating high school.”
While the program has continued to flourish nine years in, Scott is excited for her latest venture, Care2Rock.
“It can be difficult to scale a nonprofit and reach new kids,” Scott says of her years with Kids in a New Groove.
Thus, she kept asking herself, “How do I impact even more kids across the country? How do we connect more people?”
With Care2Rock, Scott has been able to connect disenfranchised youth throughout the country with triple-vetted music teachers.
“Care2Rock recruits teachers across the country to come teach on our site. … [When they] sign up, they volunteer to work with a foster child as well,” she says. “It’s great for paying customers to learn music, but also for foster children to take lessons for free. And if they move homes, they can stay with their teacher.”
Care2Rock asks its teachers to volunteer as music mentors for children in foster care every week for a minimum of a year.
If a match can’t be made right away, Care2Rock instead makes a donation to its nonprofit partners, including Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, One Simple Wish and Foster Angels of Central Texas.
“We offer a lot of flexibility for teachers,” Scott says. “For hardworking musicians who need to fill a couple of hours on their schedules, this is a great way to do so. We have teachers from Cuba, Nashville, Argentina, etc.”
To date, the organization has more than 120 teachers listed on its website, teachers who are just as passionate about the mission as Scott.
“The type of teachers we draw are the ones that are very excited about giving back and the unique opportunity we offer,” she says.
Care2Rock recently partnered with Texas CASA to provide foster children with laptops in light of the passage of the Computers for CASA bill, which will provide access to the state’s surplus computers. Scott believes the passage of this bill will be life- changing, as foster children will now be able to easily take lessons online.
While the business is still in its formative years, exciting times lay ahead. Care2Rock was recently granted seed funding through venture-capital firm Pipeline Angels, which has invested more than $4 million in women-led for-profit social businesses. Word-of-mouth has also led to early success.
“People come from all over,” Scott says.
Currently, Care2Rock is running a limited program called Sounds of Summer, through which those who sign up for lessons can get a free guitar. Scott is learning guitar herself through the website and is happy to experience the fruits of her labor firsthand.
Scott is also looking forward to getting professional musicians involved with Care2Rock, hosting events and continuing to spread the word about how people can help children in foster care.
To learn more or book a lesson, visit care2rock.com.