5 Questions with Khemist, Music for All Ball’s Headliner

Rock to the Future received the opportunity to pick Khemist’s brain. Khemist is the headlining performer for our upcoming Music for All Ball. This year, we celebrate what it means to be “Born to Shine”. For Khemist, it includes “acknowledging the great people who raised me and all that they have overcome.”

We believe that through the transformative power of music, economic empowerment, and resource support, we cultivate pathways to brighter futures — because every young person deserves the chance to shine Join us in celebrating our students’ shine at our annual fundraiser, Music for All Ball, on April 20, 2024, at World Cafe Live. Buy tickets here.

Read our interview with Khemist below – and then promptly head to your favorite streaming service and listen to his latest work. Trust us – you will be floored.

MusicWithMe: Our New Intergenerational Music Program!


We’re thrilled to share the exciting news that Rock to the Future is launching a groundbreaking initiative – MusicWithMe!

Made possible with the generous support of PECO, this program is not just about music; it’s about bringing generations together through creativity and connective community support.

At Rock to the Future, we believe in the power of music to create pathways to peaceful ecosystems and holistic wellness. That’s why we’re introducing MusicWithMe, an intergenerational music program designed to foster bonds between youth in grades 2-12 and their trusted adult companions. Our inaugural program kicks off with monthly drums and percussion workshops, creating a rhythmic space for shared learning and creative expression. After a successful pilot program, we’ve added new dates for our MusicWithMe workshop!

Registration is open for our upcoming March, April and June workshops! Sign up as a pair here.



Classes will take place at the North Philly location of NoMo Foundation (New Options, More Opportunities) at 925 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA.

MusicWithMe invites pairs of one adult (18+) and one student (grades 2-12) to join our free monthly workshops. These sessions, held one Friday a month, offer time slots from 4-5pm (grades 2-5) or 5-6pm (grades 6-12) based on your student’s grade.

No musical experience? No problem! MusicWithMe is all about breaking barriers. We provide the instruments, the beats, and even snacks for our participants. It’s a unique opportunity for Philadelphia’s youth and their designated guardians to learn together while creating new memories.

Ready to join the fun? Simply register as a pair here. Keep in mind that space is limited – sign up today!

Music for All Ball Performer Spotlight: Sam Rise

Rock to the Future is absolutely thrilled to introduce you to Sam Rise –  a remarkable talent who’s not only shaking up the music scene but also making a profound impact on the world around them. The musician is a rising star with a heart as big as their voice and a passion for creating music that resonates within our community. Recently, Sam was named a 2023 Pew Fellow and a WXPN artist to watch as a Black Opry Residency Artist.


Sam Rise is more than just a talented musician – they’re also a fierce advocate for social justice. With a deep commitment to using their platform for good, Sam fearlessly tackles important issues like LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, and mental health awareness through their music and activism

Drawing inspiration from a rich well of musical influences, Sam Rise’s sound is a delightful blend of soul, pop, and indie vibes. At the heart of Sam Rise’s music lies the art of storytelling. Their lyrics are raw, honest, and deeply introspective, offering listeners a glimpse into their innermost thoughts and emotions. Sam’s eclectic taste shines through in their music, creating a sound that’s uniquely their own.

We got the chance to sit down with them recently and pick their brain. Here’s a clip from the interview, where we’ve asked Sam what it means to be “Born to Shine”!


Excited to experience the magic for yourself? Sam will be taking the stage at Rock to the Future’s Annual Music for All Ball, and trust me, you won’t want to miss it. So grab your friends, dust off your dancing shoes, and get ready to move to the infectious energy of Sam Rise.

Ready to join us for an unforgettable evening of music and community? Click here to buy a ticket or support Rock to the Future. Let’s come together to support music education and celebrate the incredible power of music to change lives. Use code “SHINE” for $45 off. 


See you at the Music for All Ball on April 20, 2024 at World Cafe Live!

Buy tickets here!



Stay in touch!
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| Music for All Ball Website

The Most Impactful Gift You Can Give This Season

T’is the season to give, and as many of us begin our pursuit of gift buying, it is essential to remind ourselves of the impact of generosity.


Generosity, much like a boomerang, initiates with the act of giving to others. This simple gesture not only brings joy to the recipient but also fosters feelings of love, acknowledgment, and value. The beauty of generosity lies in its boomerang effect, a cycle that completes as you, the giver, experience a profound sense of fulfillment.

At its core, generosity is a key to happiness and fulfillment, turning this season of giving into one filled with warmth, camaraderie, melodies, and the aroma of freshly baked cookies. Our collective acts of generosity create a ripple effect of goodness, truly making it the most wonderful time of the year. 

Your generosity serves as a beacon, reminding those in need of the inherent goodness in the world. When you extend your generosity to make a lasting impact and change lives, the boomerang effect can be so substantial that it might just leave you awe-struck.

Rock to the Future understands the power of generosity. We offer free music, mentoring, and college/career readiness programs for Philadelphia youth who might not otherwise have access. Our students acquire skills that resonate throughout their lives. We believe that the magic of music, coupled with the enchantment of the giving season, inspires youth to realize and achieve their dreams.

This season, we invite you to give the most unique and impactful gift—Give the Gift of Music. By donating to Rock to the Future, you become part of a mission dedicated to providing opportunities for Philly youth to thrive and rock. Your gift reverberates through time, helping us offer free programs that enrich the lives of our current and future rockstars.

So, in the spirit of the season, give the most meaningful gift—Give the Gift of Music by donating below.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” - Hamilton Wright Mabie.

We’re calling on you to BE AN INSTRUMENT FOR CHANGE!

Rock to the Future's fundraiser poster. Two girls single with title Be an Instrument for Change

 

Music has the power to change lives, and at Rock to the Future, we believe in harnessing that power to create brighter futures for young individuals in Philadelphia. Our mission goes beyond music. It's about empowering youth to thrive, dream, and succeed.

With that being said, we're thrilled to announce our latest initiative, the "Be an Instrument for Change" campaign! This campaign is more than a fundraising effort. It's a movement that seeks to transform the lives of the youth we serve.

 

"This program showed me how to just be out there, be determined, be eager be hungry...  this program has it’s fun, but it’s also a very professional environment. We have days where we learn about different colleges, trade, scholarships and ways to get those scholarships...Ways to get into a career. These opportunities gave me pathways to look at giving me a clear thought of where I want to be. Everyone has a target and that’s bettering ourselves and our community and I am very thankful to have this community!" - Rock to the Future Student

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At its core, this campaign aims to raise $100,000 to support our mission. The funds we collect will directly benefit our programs in four crucial areas:

Expanding Access: We're committed to reaching more young hearts by establishing new locations in Philadelphia's under-resourced neighborhoods. Music should be accessible to all, and we're making that a reality.

Supporting Peaceful Ecosystems: Our justice program now serves 60 youth in incarceration each week. We're strengthening our re-entry pipeline, offering youth anti-violence and conflict resolution training, and providing a pathway to a peaceful future.

Bolstering Economic Empowerment: We're deepening our college, trade, and career readiness programs and offering paid workforce and skill development opportunities. We aim to equip young people with the tools they need to succeed professionally.

Strengthening Holistic Wellness: We're building strategic partnerships with organizations that provide essential services like food, housing, healthcare, and more to address the diverse needs of our youth and families. It's about nurturing well-being on every level.

 
Rock to the Future Students on stage

 

Your support matters more than you can imagine. It's the fuel that powers our programs, nurtures dreams, and transforms lives. By joining us in the "Be an Instrument for Change" campaign, you become a catalyst for making dreams come true.

Every donation brings us closer to our $100,000 goal. But it's not just about the funds. It's about the hope and opportunity you provide. It's about being the change, helping young individuals heal, grow, and succeed.

 

Rock to the Future students on stage

 

Every contribution, no matter the size, is a stepping stone toward our goal. Remember, all donations made before December 31 will be matched, doubling your impact!

Be An Instrument for Change! Donate Today:

Rock to the Future students Happy on stage

 

 

Please help us reach more supporters by sharing this campaign with your network. Together, we can create a harmonious future for the youth we serve. Thank you for being a part of our journey and for empowering the dreams of the youth we serve. Together, we can be the change.

 

Rock to the Future’s Impact Report Reveals Pathways to Brighter Futures

Rock to the Future students Happy on stage

Every number in our impact report tells a story, but beyond the figures, it's essential to reflect on the profound meaning of "impact." For many young individuals in Philadelphia, access to after-school and music education programs isn't just about learning chords or scales; they are the keys to unlocking potential, nurturing dreams, and fostering the growth of young minds.  For Rock to the Future, impact is our driving force. It's the heartbeat of our mission, as we aim to support lifelong wellbeing for youth, by providing a supportive and safe space for students to chart their pathways to a brighter future, and embrace the power of music to heal, inspire, and guide them.

 

"About two years two months into program, she passed. I lost my therapist, my supporter, my best friend, my mom, dude. When I tell you I was down in the dumps, I couldn't get out of bed half the time but I came here and I felt rejuvenated. I felt life breathed back into me. I come here to Rock to the Future, and I feel like I'm with my mom. I feel like Rock to the Future is a gift from her and I wouldn't be here without you guys. I've learned that it is good to have people by your side who want to see you win. That's a beautiful thing and that's something not a lot of people have." - Student

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We are thrilled to share with you our latest impact report, "Guiding Pathways to Brighter Futures through the Power of Music." In this report, we delve into the impact that Rock to the Future has had on the lives of young people, exploring how our programs are designed to support pathways to peaceful ecosystems, pathways to economic empowerment, and pathways to holistic wellness. Here are some highlights: 

 

A Year of Growth and Exanding Access: We are proud to announce that we have served a remarkable 800 students (300 more than last year!) from high need zipcodes, representing 55 schools.  

Paid Opportunities for Students: Empowering the Future:  Through our partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network's WorkReady program we’re thrilled to share that more than $46,000 was distributed to our students for participating in creative skill development sessions. 

Supporting Transformation at the Juvenile Justice Service Center:  We expanded program to serve 60 youth, boys, providing creative outlets and also strengthening our systems to support reentry into community. 

Rock to the Future students Happy on stage

 

In the Spotlight with the Bacon Brothers, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift: One of our most exciting achievements this year was recording and debuting a song with the Bacon Brothers. Kevin Bacon then invited us to be featured on the Kelly Clarkson show to share our story! Later that season VisitPhilly selected us as a recipient to receive $26,000 and invited our students to perform as the official welcome gift for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, a gift they wanted to impact musical journeys in Philly. 


Investing in Futures: Perhaps the most heartwarming statistic of all is that 100% of our Musicore graduates are pursuing college or trade school. We provided scholarships and laptops to support their dreams, and we're incredibly proud of their accomplishments.

 

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This impact report is not just a collection of data; they are the stories of young people whose lives are transformed by music, mentorship, and community. As we invite you to explore our full impact report, we hope you'll join us in celebrating these achievements and the pathways to brighter futures that we've collectively forged. Together, we can continue to make a difference, empowering more young individuals to reach their full potential and harmonizing lives through the transformative power of music.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. We couldn't do it without you.

Our Graduating Seniors are Ready for the Future

Graduation is a time of celebration and new beginnings for high school seniors. However, for many talented and driven students in underserved communities, the path to higher education is filled with obstacles. 

 

“Rock to the Future got me out of a very dark time of my life. About two months into my program of last year, my mom passed. I lost my therapist, my supporter, my best friend, my mom, dude. when I tell you I was down in the dumps, I couldn't get out of bed half the time. I came here and I felt rejuvenated. I felt life, I just felt it breathed back into me. I come here and I feel closer to her.I feel like Rock to the Future is a gift from her and without her, I mean, I wouldn't be here and without you guys, I wouldn't be here either.” 

- Graduating RTTF Senior 2023 

 We recognize the critical opportunity that music plays in building trust and bringing youth through our doors to rock out. And while we have our young people in our music programs, we also support students on their journey towards college, trade school, and post-graduation success.

 

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Rock to the Future breaks down barriers and empowers students to reach their full potential. Through college trips, guest speakers, application and scholarship writing support, access to essential resources, personal encouragement, and the Higher Education Fund - which provides laptops and scholarships for graduates – we aim to make higher education more accessible and attainable for deserving students who may not have the financial means or support network to pursue their dreams. Our student pursue careers in education, technology, business, music, culinary arts, and so much more. 

“Rock to the Future opened my eyes to possibilities. I got to go to Temple. That's how I got to decide that I wanted to go to Temple, thanks to the trip that we had here.” 

- Graduating RTTF Senior 2023

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Through our Higher Education Fund, graduating seniors receive a scholarship of up to $1,500. These scholarships help alleviate the burden of up front costs such as tuition expenses, textbooks, and other educational expenses. By removing financial barriers, we enable students to focus on their studies and fully engage in the college experience. With your support, we will expand the reach of these scholarships and provide opportunities for even more deserving students.

In today's digital age, having the right tools is crucial for academic achievement. Our Higher Education Fund also provides graduating seniors with brand new MacBook, ensuring they have the necessary technology to thrive in college and beyond. These laptops become powerful tools for research, online collaboration, and accessing educational resources. By donating to our fund, you directly contribute to a graduating senior's ability to excel in their studies and successfully navigate the digital landscape of higher education.

The impact of the Higher Education Fund goes far beyond financial assistance and laptops. By investing in these students, you are investing in their futures and the future of our communities. Our graduating seniors break the cycle of limited opportunities and create positive change in their lives and communities. Through higher education, they gain knowledge, skills, and networks that can lead to rewarding careers, economic mobility, leadership roles, and the ability to give back.

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To support our Higher Education Fund and make a difference in the lives of graduating seniors, please visit https://givebutter.com/RTTFYES  today. Your generosity can help shape a brighter future for these deserving students and our community as a whole.

Together, let's empower and uplift the next generation of leaders and change-makers.

 

Special thank you to the Katz family for their substantial and continuing support of our Higher Education Fund in memory of Martin Katz

Rock to the Future Pride Statement

June is Pride Month, a time set aside to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ Community. It is great to use this time to reflect on how far we as a nation have grown in recent years, to celebrate the resilience of queer community members in the face of injustices, and encourage queer people to be their authentic selves. While the LGBTQIA+ community has a lot to celebrate, it is important to recognize that the fight is not over. 

Pride began as a protest. On June 28th 1969, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn. This started a 6 day long protest that ignited the LGBTQ rights movement across the nation. It is famously known that the first brick was thrown by Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of color. This rebellion was a stand for dignity, respect, and for queer people to be afforded the rights of every other American. 

With anti-LGBTQ bills sweeping the nation, specifically anti-trans bills aimed at children, and a rhetoric of “Don’t Say Gay'' echoing louder and louder, it is important now more than every to stand beside our friends and family members that are part of that community to let them know that they are seen and valued. Pride is a time to highlight the push for progress, the struggles that remain, and the joy, beauty, and infinite contributions of the queer community. 

We strive to create a safe space where all members of our community feel empowered to be their authentic selves. We want everyone to know that Rock to the Future is not afraid to say gay. We stand with the LGBTQ communities not just in June, but year round. 

In honor of Pride Month and the Stonewall Anniversary, Rock to the Future is making a $250 donation to the Attic Youth Center, a local nonprofit that supports LGBTQ youth. We ask that you consider making a donation as well. 

Thank You, 

Jessica Craft 
CEO + Founder

Music for All Ball is a Resounding Success

Rock to the Future "Plays for Peace" at Music for All Ball

Raising $110,000 to Support Peaceful Ecosystems for Philly Youth

In a world often marked by discord and division, the universal language of music emerges as a beacon of unity and healing. This is precisely what Music for All Ball achieved in its latest milestone event. With the resounding theme of "Playing for Peace" and a star-studded lineup of performers, including Rock to the Future students, The Bacon Brothers, Sug Daniels, Natasha Felder, Reef the Lost Cauze, and emcee Quentin Miller, this extraordinary gala wasn't just a celebration of music; it was a testament to the power of harmony and the commitment to change lives. In this blog, we'll take you on a captivating journey through Music for All Ball's remarkable successes and the transformative impact of "Playing for Peace."

Raising $110,000 for Change: Music for All Ball hit a high note by raising an impressive $110,000, a testament to the collective belief in the power of music to change lives. These funds will be instrumental in expanding programs to areas impacted by violence and within the Juvenile Justice Services Center, offering a lifeline to youth who deserve a brighter future.

The Resounding Theme "Playing for Peace" Unveiled: Playing for Peace" encapsulated the evening's purpose — to use music not only as a form of entertainment but as a means of advocating for peace, unity, and positive change. The theme underscored Music for All Ball's mission to address the challenges of violence and unrest in our communities, offering a message of hope through music.

 
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A Star-Studded Lineup:  Rock to the Future Students took the stage, showcasing their dedication and the transformative power of music education. Philly legends,  The Bacon Brothers, graced the event with their presence and their hit "Philly Thing," produced in collaboration with RTTF students, further amplifying the evening's message of unity. Rising local talent Sug Daniels mesmerized the audience with their soulful melodies and a commitment to positive change. Board member Natasha Felder lent her support and talent, contributing to the evening's atmosphere of inspiration. And local rap legend Reef the Lost Cauze brought his unique voice and energy to the stage, adding to the diverse musical tapestry of the event.

Gathering for a Purpose: Music for All Ball provided an exceptional opportunity for supporters and music lovers to gather and connect with a shared goal — to make a difference through music. Attendees had the chance to network, collaborate, and find common ground, reinforcing the idea that music can bridge divides and foster unity.

 
Rock to the Future family attends Music for all Ball and pose with guitars.

 

Music for All Ball's triumphant celebration of "Playing for Peace" serves as a reminder that music is more than just entertainment; it's a powerful force for change and healing. With an impressive fundraising effort of $110,000, this event has set the stage for transformative programs in areas impacted by violence and within the Juvenile Justice Services Center. The star-studded lineup, including Rock to the Future students, The Bacon Brothers, Sug Daniels, Natasha Felder, and Reef the Lost Cauze, illustrated the diverse and unifying power of music. As we reflect on this remarkable night, we are reminded that when we play for peace, we harmonize hope, and together, we can create a better world through the universal language of music.

 
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Special thank you to all Music for All Sponsors for believieng in the Magic of Music with us and for helping to make this year's Music for All Ball one to remember. Thank you: Sixdegrees.org MOR Wealth Management, John and Adele Cummins, Justamere Foundation, Circle Thrift, Nexa, Rob and Stacey Katz, EisnerAmper, The Mastermind Coop, Ceisler Media, Brolik, Russo Music, Port Richmond Bank, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

 
Save the date for our next Music for All Ball, happening Saturday, April 20, 2023 at World Cafe Live. Interesting and sponsoring or supporting this event? Contact our Institutional Relations Manager at Sophia@rocktothefuture.org.
 
Relive the night and check out all of our Music for All Ball photos HERE.
 

Rock to the Future Goes to Hollywood! The Kelly Clarkson Show

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The Kelly Clarkson Show and Kevin Bacon Show Support for Philly-Based Non-Profit
 
 
On a recent episode of the Kelly Clarkson Show, Philadelphia's Rock to the Future had a special appearance, featuring the organization's founder and CEO Jessica Craft, co-founder Josh Craft, program alumni Jared Smith, and Nia Collins-Davenport. The organization provides free music programs for young people, and their appearance on the show highlighted the positive impact that their programs have on the youth of Philadelphia.
 
Actor and musician Kevin Bacon, who is a long-time supporter of Rock to the Future, also made an appearance on the show. Bacon's involvement with the organization includes collaborations on music projects and upcoming performances.
 
Rock to the Future's programs offer music education, mentorship, and social services support, all at no cost to over 700 youth in Philadelphia. Their offerings include guitar, bass, drums, piano, music production, original songwriting, and live performance. By providing safe spaces for students to learn and create, the organization helps build social and intellectual capital, life skills, and personal well-being.
 
Rock to the Future's appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show and the support of Kevin Bacon showcase the organization's commitment to empowering young people through music.
 
As Kevin Bacon notes, “the goal isn’t to make them the next rock stars, but it’s to make them feel like the next rock stars.” The Bacon Brothers’ Six Degrees initiative shines a light on organizations like Rock to the Future, inspiring others to support their own communities.
 
“We’re proud to partner with Rock to the Future and help spread the word about their impact on young lives in Philadelphia,” said Kevin Bacon. “We hope this song and our collaboration will inspire others to learn more about the organization and support their mission.”
 
As the organization continues to grow and expand its reach, it is clear that their programs have a positive impact on the youth of Philadelphia. We can't wait to see what exciting collaborations and performances are in store for Rock to the Future in the future!
 
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