January news & updates

January 18, 2023 | Issue 23

Outcomes Team Meetings

PECAN – January 19, 2023

High School Graduation – January 24, 2023

Whole Child Initiative (Kickoff) – February 8, 2023

Convener Meeting

Convener Meeting – February 10, 2023 (in-person)

ROC the Future is hiring!

Work with the Whole Child Initiative. Apply today!


Message from the Executive Director

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Dear Friends,

Happy new year and welcome to 2023! 

When my dad was a young boy, he took a road trip with my grandfather to Washington D.C. to attend the 1963 March on Washington. 

The road trip was spur of the moment. My grandfather, who was passionate about civil rights, told my dad to hop in the car because they were going to be a part of something important. On the way there, my grandfather explained the significance of the pivotal moment in American history they would soon encounter. There would be no sitting on the sidelines. This was something they would need to experience for themselves. 


Meet our New PECAN Co-Chairs

Meet Janice Kpor


My name is Janice Kpor and I am the parent of three children, two of whom are scholars in elementary school and one who is currently attending RIT. I am a graduate of RCSD and obtained my bachelor’s degree at St. John Fisher University in Sociology and African American Studies. I’m currently working on a master’s in public health.


I am an active advocate for educational access and social justice. I am a member of PLAC and a PLTI alumni, cohort 10 class of 2023. I also co-chair the Urban-Suburban Parent Advisory Council. I’ve been a Pillar of Hope member as well as a volunteer with many community organizations and events. 

I primarily work with people with developmental disabilities (OPWDD) and social services. I’ve worked with many nonprofit agencies and am currently employed by the Community Place of Greater Rochester. 

I have always advocated for the enrichment and support of all students. It is my hope that we educate scholars in a way that they become thinkers in society. 

Meet Caroline McClendon


My name is Caroline McClendon, and I am an active parent with four children in the Rochester City School District. My community engagement includes participation in the alumnae chapter of my sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., where I serve as the Adopt-a School Coordinator for NYS.

In my role, I help local chapters adopt schools or classrooms to support teachers and students throughout the year. I am currently in leadership roles at two new non-profits in the Rochester community geared towards youth, scholarship, mentorship and compassionate care management.

Parent Blog

Modeling the Process: Teaching My Children to be Good Stewards of Their Community

By Kearstin Brown-Warren

Children are immensely intuitive little sponges. They watch you when you’re not looking, make surprisingly wise remarks when you least expect, and imitate what they see you do out of admiration, or perhaps, intrigue. Just when you’re wondering if they ever pay attention to anything you say or do, you realize just how much they’ve studied you. They can even be constructively critical of you, or maybe they offer quite mature and sage advice. All this because you’ve modeled it. I hope I have so for my boys. My hope is that they see my compassion for others born out of my own challenges and accomplishments in life. I pray they follow.

Read More
Network News

New Facilitator's Guide for the Youth Leadership Coalition

ROC the Future Alliance and SpreadKarma Collective have published a Youth Leadership Training Guide that will direct the curriculum for year 3 of the Youth Leadership Coalition. This new facilitator’s guide includes:

• What is Leadership 101?

• Understanding the Leadership Compass

• Leading with Your Voice

• Fundamentals of Youth Advocacy 

• Mobilizing for Change 

The next training session is February 12, 2023.

For youth interested in joining the YLC, nominations are still being accepted. For more information, please contact Kilolo Moyo-White, Family and Community Engagement Specialist, at [email protected]

Register for C.O.R.E.

To date, we’ve had 61 ROC the Future Alliance members participate in C.O.R.E. Module 1. This includes 25 Conveners, 12 members of the High School Graduation Outcome Team, 6 PECAN Parent/Family Partners, and 10 members of the Whole Child Core Team, and the RTFA Backbone Team. Thank you all for your commitment and thoughtful participation! 


C.O.R.E., which stands for Community Onboarding & Reboarding Experience, is a customized learning series that will help us approach the collective work of the Alliance with more alignment. C.O.R.E. was founded because building a foundation of shared understanding is a critical step toward systems change and transformation.

In C.O.R.E. Module 1, we are building relationships & trust, deepening our understanding of racial equity, and moving toward the mental model level of systems change. 

If you are still hoping to participate in Module 1, register here for our next session on January 23rd from 9-10:30am via Zoom.  

Attend the High School Graduation Outcomes Team Meeting

High School Graduation Outcomes Team (HSGOT) Co-Chairs, Shawanda Evans & Nicolle Haynes, and the RTFA Backbone Team, are currently collaborating on the agenda for the next High School Graduation Outcome Team meeting. The HSGOT meets next on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, from 6-7:30pm. Contact Shawanda Evans & Nicolle Haynes to be added to the calendar invite and to receive a zoom link.


At the January 24th meeting, we will dive further into the process of determining strategy in one or more of these areas: graduation rates, attendance rates, and the freshman high school experience. We look forward to seeing you!

Attend the January PECAN Meeting

We want to get your input on priorities and goal setting for the upcoming year. Join us for the next PECAN Public Session on Thursday, January 19, 2023, from 6-7:30pm via Zoom. 

Register Now

2023 StriveTogether Offerings

StriveTogether is pleased to announce their 2023 offerings. Learn more by exploring their offerings in this overview deck. All Network offerings are developed to support progress along the Theory of Action. Some offerings that have pre-selected cohorts will be chosen as early as January 2023, so indicate your interest in those offerings here.

Read More

A Whole Child Perspective

By Sara White-Smith

By 2032, we envision that Rochester will be A Whole Community for Whole Children. That would look like a city that values children and their families and prioritizes them in every way possible to ensure they thrive.

The Whole Child Initiative seeks to reimagine the systems that affect Black and brown children and families and is centered around the voice of our parents. We are creating spaces for parents that are intentional, welcoming, and attentive to the needs of families.

Our parent/family partners recently completed a system mapping exercise. Systems mapping is a powerful tool for understanding and changing complex systems. This exercise allowed them to see where their needs and wants overlap in their various roles, and then target those identified areas for improvement. Furthermore, systems mapping has helped our parent/family partners to identify their role as an individual within the community and the support they need to be successful. Our parent/family partners will be leading this exercise throughout the community with other parents and systems partners in the coming months. 

The School Readiness and Early Grade Literacy Outcomes Teams have combined to become the Whole Child Outcomes Team. We invite you to attend our kickoff meeting on February 8th from 10:30am-12:00pm at Bivona Child Advocacy Center.

For more information, contact Sara White-Smith, Whole Child Initiative Director, at [email protected].

Upcoming Events & Resources

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