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Local foster kids get studio tour from this Zac Brown band member
John Driskell Hopkins, member of the Zac Brown Band, plays a banjo while giving local foster kids a tour of his private studio on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

It’s not every day that a kid meets a famous musician, let alone gets a tour of their private studio. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, John Driskell Hopkins, one of the founding members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, showed three foster kids the magic behind his recording studio in Atlanta. 

Hopkins let them see Brighter Shade Studios’ control room and explained how the recording process works. 

The kids, ages 11-15, received this opportunity through the AMPED Kids Foundation, which has served the Hall County area for more than a year. The organization is a 501(c)(3) under the umbrella of the Georgia Community Foundation and offers free private lessons to kids ages 7-18. 

The nonprofit currently has 43 enrolled foster children and teenagers. The nonprofit is financially supported by local community members and partnerships with organizations, including the John Jarrard Foundation.

When the three lucky kids entered Hopkins’ studio, April Rooks, the foundation’s director, said they lit up with excitement. 

“The kids were elated to be able to see all the different rooms of the studio and the equipment,” she said. “They asked a lot of questions about the different picture they saw on the walls. They just thought it was so cool to see all the Grammy Awards and guitars he had.”

Before the kids left, Hopkins gave them all T-shirts and some of his Christmas CDs.

“John was generous and did so well with the kids,” Rooks said. “He has the biggest heart.”

Tuesday’s studio tour marked the first experience of the nonprofit’s SHINE Program. 

Rooks said the program provides song-writing workshops and studio tours to the members of AMPED Kids. 

“SHINE offers different ways for them to be able to gain skills and explore their talents, and ultimately shine in who they are,” she said. 

For more information about AMPED Kids, visit