Rock to the Future - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Rock to the Future

A free after school music program in North Philadelphia teaches students to rock their way into a brighter future

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    Rock to the Future is a non-profit organization, offering students free music lessons, after school Monday through Friday. They also put a strong emphasis on academic success. NBC10's Rosemary Connors spent an afternoon there. (Published Saturday, March 3, 2012)

    They're beginners, but they practice like pros.

    Students, ages 9-14, meet after school Monday through Friday at St. Michaels Church in North Philadelphia, to learn how to rock.

    "This program is giving them an opportunity that they would otherwise never had," said Jess McKay, founder of Rock to the Future.

    McKay, 26, founded the non-profit organization after quitting her job at an investment firm in Center City. Rock to the Future provides free after school music education to students who are accepted. Once in the program, students can stay until the age of 18.

    Students who come after school get private music lessons on their choice of instrument, including guitar, drums, or keyboards.

    "I like keeping the rhythm and tempo, I like being the backbone of the band," said Andrew Carter, student.

    Rock to the Future teaches more than just music and also puts a strong emphasis on academic success.

    "When I first came here I was a 'C' in Math and now I'm an 'A', a high 'A'," said Carter.

    In order to stay in the program, students must maintain a 'B' average in school, according to McKay.

    The non-profit has been around for two years and depends on fund raising and donations to keep it going.

    Rock to the Future recently was awarded a grant from the Spruce Foundation for $5K. "The more you have the more you can do," McKay said.

    For more information about Rock to the Future, click here.

    To learn more about the Spruce Foundation, click here.