Contact: Fred Bosse
Austin University Area
Shoal Creek Saloon
909 North Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX  78703
United States of America
  Tonight our speaker will be Cynthia Smith from Sparks for Success.  Sparks for Success! was founded to support children affected by parental incarceration.  Research paints a dismal picture for many children of inmates who, along with their family members, are overwhelmed by their circumstances. While working with students, they've realized that a holistic approach is necessary to change the trajectory of our children away from generational incarceration.
  Sparks for Success helps students develop the life skills of discipline and perseverance by teaching them to play an instrument and giving them group music instruction. By incorporating Music Therapy into a program and creating a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) environment, students will progress both academically and socially.  For more information, see

  Cynthia founded Sparks for Success! in 2016 after serving for three years as the Texas branch Director for an out of state organization, also serving children of inmates. The issues we were seeing for the children we work with in Central East Austin caused us to realize a different model is necessary if we want to have a real impact on ending intergenerational incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. This ignited the spark that has become Sparks for Success!

  Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Business Administration. She has studied piano at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, the University of Delaware, the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg, and The University of Texas at Austin, and studied business administration at St. Edward’s University (Austin).

  For more than 40 years, Cynthia’s teaching career has encompassed private piano lessons, class theory, and general music classes. She has also directed children’s choirs throughout that time. Her experience includes working with children in early childhood development through music. On the business side, Cynthia was the Director of Administration and Operations for 19 years for the RGK Foundation. Throughout the years she has served on several boards and has been active as a volunteer in her community.