Rock to the Future (RTTF)

1. Describe the project a STAKE Grant would help you accomplish (100 words):
Rock to the Future (RTTF) provides free music education to underserved Philadelphia youth. Using music, our programs ignite passion and creativity, support academic achievement, and improve self-esteem. A STAKE grant would help Rock to the Future provide youth with a brighter future through music by funding the purchase of new music equipment for students in our MusiCore after school program. Our program teaches underserved youth how to write and play music, encourages collaboration in the form of a band, and provides venues for students to perform. These experiences build self-esteem, teach teamwork, and provide motivation to stay in school.

2. How will you use the grant toward the realization of your project? $800 is your imaginary budget (50 words):
RTTF needs a new PA system to amplify sound for student performances and practice. A quality, portable PA system (approx. $400) will allow RTTF to hold band practices and performances for more youth. New instruments such as electric guitars (approx. 3 for $400) instills pride and encourages students’ musical learning.

3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal) (100 words):
Jessica left her job to begin Rock to the Future in 2010 after being awarded The Turning Point Prize of $15,000 from Women for Social Innovation. RTTF began with 13 students in a single after school program and now operates four programs that serve hundreds of youth annually with free music education programming. The capacity of the MusiCore afterschool program grew to serve a maximum 35 students in 2013-2014. Additionally, Rock to the Future expanded programming to serve over 300 youth with monthly Saturday workshops at The Free Library of Philadelphia, summer camps, and new in- school MobileMusic workshops.

4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community? (100 words):
Budget cuts continue to remove music from Philadelphia schools, which is detrimental to the success of the 93,000 Philadelphia youth who live in poverty. Music education can improve academic performance, social skills and more while inspiring hope in the future. Rock to the Future is providing life-changing programming that motivates at-risk youth to flourish creatively while providing them with skills for 21st century success. We believe that this type of positive intervention with at-risk youth using music not only builds commitment toward the goal of high school graduation but also creates young leaders in Philadelphia.