“When I found out Rock to the Future was here, I was really happy. I was honestly like ‘my life has been saved...’ My guitar helps me more than anything else does. I feel like I can talk with my guitar. I can talk by strumming and moving my fingers, I don’t even have to open my mouth to say anything.” - Chanel, Rock to the Future Student
"I’m very appreciative that my mom inquired about this program for me. I wanted to show myself and my mother something different when it comes to self expression. It’s really hard in society to express yourself as a young black male. Music and poetry keeps me at a level of peace where my feelings are just being released through words and emotions." - RTTF Student
"Rock to the future has helped me achieve my academic goals by allowing me to take individual time alone to work on college and career preparation. They have helped me by empowering me through motivational conversation and separating me from stressful environments. When I come to the after school program it sets me free."
- MusiCore After School student
“I’m most proud of how I’ve grown socially, and as a person... When I came to the program, I was very shy. I was very shy, and I was very quiet. I had a lot of trouble making friends, but being here helped me get over it. It helped me become more confident - I never would have performed on a stage! And I’ve made lots of friends... I know I love learning about music. I want to give music education to kids. I think it would help a lot of kids in the situation I was in - being shy and quiet, and not being able to open up. I think I would be a really good music teacher!"
- Alexus, alumni
"When I first came to Philadelphia, I never felt welcomed. I had just moved from a beautiful island called Puerto Rico to this reckless city with frustrated folks. Music has always been a big part of me and when I came here I was so depressed and homesick I could not even lift my guitar up. I tried playing and singing but it came out sloppy and my voice was never the same. This just made me even more depressed to the point that I did not want to do music at all unless I was back home. When finally started school I did not feel good at all. It wasn’t until my senior year came that I actually got used to living here. One day after I got out of school I see these people putting these drum kits and I wondered what could that be. After a few minutes of hesitation I finally build up some courage to go up to them and ask. That was the day RTTF first got introduced to me.
When I started my piano lessons and actually started playing music again, I felt so incredibly blessed that I found Rock to the Future. Rock to the Future was the key to a door that was waiting to be opened as I started to fit in. I felt more at ease once I was part of something so, well, me. They have opened a door to my future, that music is just a part of me that has always been there, just waiting to come out. They have helped me with my college to do list. I am forever grateful for this opportunity and I will always cherish it. Wherever I go, I will always have RTTF in my heart."
- Camilla, alumni
“I first became involved with Rock to the Future in 2015 and have worked with the organization ever since, although my role has changed throughout the years. What has kept me involved are the tangible effects I’ve witnessed. I have been amazed to see shy introverted children, who initially struggle to even look people in the eye, transform into confident, vocal, expressive ROCKSTARS! Coming from environments that can sometimes be harsh, aggressive and violent, we provide a space where kids feel safe, supported, and loved.” - Team Member
“With the gun violence at an all time high in the city of Philadelphia all help is needed, and “The Rock,” which the residents call it, came in with no hesitation to provide programming. All this good work with no cost. You just don’t find that type of commitment nowadays. Residents can’t wait until programming day to work on new music they are exploring with. Rock to the Future came through for our children.”
- Ronald Fuller Juvenile Justice Services Center
"We are honored to partnered with Rock to the Future in the mission to ensure that all students in Philadelphia have access to music education and a creative outlet to express their voice! We have been thrilled to work along side the dedicated team at RTTF through their growth not only to serve more students, but as leaders in providing culturally relevant music programs for kids that might not otherwise participate in school programs. Rock to the Future is a key ally in the efforts to make Philly as model city for music education!"
- Frank Machos, Director of Music Education for the School District of Philadelphia
"We feel so fortunate to have been able to add not only one, but two music classes to our program this summer! Each week, it was a joy to watch campers learn new things about singing and making music, and they were so visibly proud of their work. Our “littles” loved telling us about the songs they learned to sing, and our older kids were eager to have us listen on the last day of camp to the music they’d produced -- every song was incredible. Thank you for supporting our youth in expressing themselves through music and practicing or discovering new talents. We won’t forget the lasting impact that you’ve made this summer on the youth we serve."
- Sharee Devose, AntiDrug and Alcohol Crusaders
"Rock to the Future has been an incredible partner for us at the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP). We work with youth who come into contact with the justice system, and RTTF has been thoughtful, accepting, dedicated and extremely supportive of youth who have a criminal justice experience. Every single person at RTTF is passionate and invested in seeing young people thrive. We at YSRP are grateful to partner with RTTF to support youth in Philadelphia."
- Lauren Fine, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project
"For those of you that know my kid and I, you know that it has been a long, hard road for my son. I fought for my kid every step of the way--diagnoses, programs, support classes, therapy--you name it, I've done it. After I dealt with his education, I decided he needed to be fulfilled. Basically, I wanted to feed his heart and soul. When I read Rock to the Future’s ad in the neighborhood paper, I knew that was the place for Ethan. He had beaten The Beatles: Rock Band in record time, so I knew he had drums in his soul.
I met Jess and Josh at their house after sending them a letter pleading with them to take in my son. I realized they had no experience teaching a kid like Ethan and I was afraid he would be rejected. While the first year was a smidgen tough, at least socially, Ethan developed musically and would talk to other kids.
Fast forward to today and my kid is an amazing drummer, holds a steady B average and is at this very moment at the Vans Warped Tour with his friends …his friends from Rock to the Future!
Jessica and Josh Craft, along with the entire staff at Rock to the Future, have taken young lives and filled them with music. According to Ethan, his life will be music. He has told me that's what his future holds.
Ethan and I recently did an interview at Rock to the Future. After Ethan was done, I was called up to sit beside him. I leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Ethan, is it alright for me to talk about autism? I won’t if you don't want me to.” He said," it’s alright, Mom, go ahead."
I want you to really get this—I told them Ethan’s whole story, but then it hit me as it did everyone. Ethan and I just started to cry, and we were soon joined by the other people in the room. Because of Rock to the Future, I know my son has a future filled with friends and music. He will work at a job he will love --something that I’ve worried about for years. Will my boy be alone? How will he go through life? Will he be happy? Will he work and live in the way that we all can? Will he have love? These questions have kept me up for nights. Now, however, I know he’ll be fine. I am not afraid anymore. That’s what every parent wants. That was Rock to the Future’s gift to me.
I can’t begin to describe the moment I had I realized that he'll be okay. Rock to the Future has given Ethan tools to build a future. He will graduate from high school, he will go to college and he will have what everyone deserves to have in life.
For all you're doing with our kids, thank you Rock to the Future. ROCK ON!"
- Karen C., parent