Jessica Craft, Founder and CEO of Rock to the Future discussed this original program that supports positive youth development and economic empowerment through free, student-driven music programs for Philadelphia youth. Operating in areas that are underserved with enrichment opportunities, Rock to the Future works with the community and the youth participating to create programming that is compelling and fun for them. Thanks to donations and grants hundreds of students participate annually in-school, after school, and during the summer in schools, community locations, and now, in the re-entry programming, within juvenile justice facilities.
She described the basics, there is no cost for students to participate, they receive an instrument and supplies, transportation to and from the classes and meals. No auditions required and beginners are welcome. The program is student-driven – youth lead their creation and collaborations and are included in decision-making and taught by trauma informed professional musicians.
With a focus on original songwriting, peer collaboration, and live performance the program offers pathways to professional careers as well as mentoring, academic, college and grades readiness, paid internship and skill development opportunities. Students gain self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment, cooperation and patience, abilities they will be able to apply to their studies now and their goals in the future.
Programs are provided in English and Spanish. Rock to the Future also addresses the needs of the students at home, with support for family through connections with resources like health, housing, and food security.
Learn more at RocktotheFuture.org