Mixing Soul-Jazz-Funk with Brain Injury

What’s music got to do with brain injury? To Stephanie Rooker…everything. Radford, Virginia native Rooker has been in New York building her presence in the music industry since 2004, but it’s not all song & dance to this “soul-and blues-crooning wonder" (C-ville: Charlottesville Arts & Culture).

The tragic loss of Rooker’s younger bother in 1997, as a result of a brain injury, made an indelible mark upon her family as well as hundreds of thousands of people throughout the state of Virginia. When Fran & Greg Rooker, Stephanie’s parents, founded a non-profit organization in 1998, they initiated a domino effect of brain injury activism. The Jason Foundation, named for their son, sprouted Brain Injury Services of SWVA to provide case management and independent living skill services for brain injury survivors in a 22-county area in Southwestern Virginia. The Rookers pushed legislation, which generated state funding for brain injury, and established the nation’s first Center for Education and Human Services in Acquired Brain Injury at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

As they say, the apple never falls far from the tree…

After the release of her debut CD, Tellin You Right Now, to a packed house at New York City’s Cutting Room in March 2008, Stephanie Rooker brought her band down to her home state for the first time to perform a “hometown CD release party" at 202 Market in Roanoke. In honor of March being Brain Injury Awareness Month, Rooker collected donations at that show and raised more than $400 for Brain Injury Services of SWVA. That summer, her band returned for their first tour through Virginia, gracing the stages of IOTA in Arlington, Ashland Coffee & Tea, Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville, and Floydfest 7, as well as appearing on the “Saturday Morning Show" of Roanoke’s WDBJ7. At each show, Rooker passed a tip jar for a local brain injury organization. By the end of the tour, she had raised more than $1,400 for organizations throughout the state.

Rooker continues to support the cause of brain injury by partnering with local organizations and using her performances to raise awareness of brain injury as well as funds for the organizations that support victims of brain injury. To date, her performances have generated nearly $4,500 in donations.

Stephanie Rooker has partnered with the following

Brain Injury Services of SWVA (Roanoke) -- http://www.bisswva.org/
Brain Injury Services, Inc. (Northern VA) -- http://www.braininjurysvcs.org/
Brain Injury Association of VA (Richmond) -- http://www.biav.net/
Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery (Harrisonburg, VA) - http://www.c2bir.org/
Virginia NeuroCare (Charlottesvile) -- http://www.vanc.org/