Mission + Vision
Rock to the Future supports positive youth development and economic empowerment through free, student-driven music programs for Philadelphia youth in under-resourced neighborhoods. We serve more than a thousand children, teens and young people annually in-school, after school, and during the summer in schools, community locations, and in the juvenile justice system. We envision that all youth in Philadelphia will have access to the life-changing benefits of our transformative music programs.
Rock to the Future's unique program model focuses on equity, strengths-based youth development, centering youth voices, and an extensive network of strategic partnerships.
♪ Located in areas impacted by disinvestment and systems of oppression including under-resourced schools, community locations, and juvenile justice centers
♪ No cost for students to participate
♪ No auditions required - beginners are welcome!
♪ All instruments and supplies provided
♪ Meals and transportation provided
♪ Support provided in English and Spanish
♪ Focus on original songwriting, peer collaboration, and live performance
♪ Student-driven - youth lead their creation and collaborations and are included in decision-making and program design
♪ Designed with trauma informed approaches, restorative practices, and anti-violence strategies
♪ Pathways to professional careers - mentoring, academic, college and grades readiness, paid internship and skill development opportunities
♪ Supporting the whole individual and family through connections with resources like health, housing, and food security
♪ Supporting the re-entry process for youth in incarceration and intervention
♪ An official diversion program for the City of Philadelphia
♪ The only provider in the city to offer intergenerational music programming for youth to learn with a trusted adult in their lives
♪ Dozens of free performances annually bring community together to celebrate the achievements and talents of Philly youth
Research shows that learning music has dozens of positive benefits for youth. Take a look at our Impact Report and you can read the various studies and benefits here.
We know the magic of music is incredible and we see it in the students we serve every day:
♪ Improvements in social emotional learning (SEL) skills like self-awareness, relationship building, communication skills, and responsible decision making
♪ Improvements in executive functioning skills like goal setting, time management, and personal accountability
♪ Growth in confidence and self-expression
♪ Development of technology and workplace-readiness skills
♪ Building school and community pride through celebrating youth accomplishments
♪ Reduced peer conflict by breaking down barriers by bringing students from various neighborhoods together
♪ Since our founding in 2010, we are proud to report that 100% of graduating MusiCore After School students have gone on to post-secondary education
We recognize the increase in crime in Philadelphia and support crime reduction in multiple ways:
- Youth from various high-need neighborhoods come together in a safe space during vital after school and summer hours to create and collaborate
- Youth learn restorative practices and conflict resolution skills to improve peer communication and provide alternatives to anger and aggression
- Our programs incorporate “dream building” for youth to visualize themselves in positive ways, and we provide the support needed to recognize those dreams
- We support economic empowerment through paid opportunities for teens
Educational and Workforce Readiness
We believe that professional career paths are essential for life-long well-being:
- 100% of graduates from our after school program pursue professional career paths: college or trade schools
- Graduating students receive a scholarship and a laptop to support their post-high school career and education plans
- Annual college and trade school visitation trips for middle school and high school students; Help with the FAFSA (financial aid) process; Trade and college application support; Scholarship writing support
- Technology and digital inclusion support through learning to use computers and other technology
- Paid internship and skill development opportunities for teens
Working and thinking restoratively promotes strong relationship building and understanding, and so there is less need to resort to sanctions and punishments to try to ‘manage’ behavior.
We recognizes the presence of trauma and acknowledge the role trauma may play in an individual's life. We design our programs and classes to be flexible for individual needs and support healing from trauma.
Rock to the Future (RTTF) was founded in 2010 as a volunteer organization to support positive youth development through community-based music programs in neighborhoods that have been deprived of funding and resources. Beginning in Kensington (North Philadelphia) with 13 students in MusiCore After School, enrollment rapidly grew, and the observed impact was immediate as students continued to return day-after-day. Rock to the Future now serves hundreds of students in grades 3 - 12 from under-resourced zip codes through in-school, after school, and during the summer at no cost to participants. Rock to the Future has completed 2 strategic plans and is currently guided by a strategic plan with support from staff, volunteers, board members, students, and partners in 2019.
A song only works when everybody plays their part. We foster teamwork to ensure that when our students take the stage, it’s not how well they play, but how well they play together that matters.
Dedication and hard work apply even after the set is over. Our programs teach students skills to help them grow in school and life.
It takes guts and grit to take the spotlight. Stepping on stage requires the support and freedom to take risks, and we work with our students to feel confident to explore beyond the scales.
We champion the diverse voices of our community. Rock to the Future makes a formal promise to improve our culture, practices, and approaches to uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization — knowing it requires sustained commitment, courage, and optimism.
Living life to its fullest means owning your solos and expressing yourself. Creative expression is the true soul of music, and we encourage students to discover their unique identity.