Summer news & updates
July 22, 2021| Issue 7
News from StriveTogether
Registration open now: 2021 Cradle to Career Network Convening
Every year, StriveTogether brings the power of our national movement to one city for three days of connecting, learning and creating change. Registration is open now for the Cradle to Career Network Convening in San Antonio, Texas, October 6-8, 2021. Plan to register early to secure your spot — space is limited.

  • Cradle to Career Network members and their partners who register by August 10 can lock in the discounted registration fee of $780.00. On August 11, the registration fee will increase to $995.00.
  • Due to reduced capacity, registration is currently limited to Cradle to Career Network members and their community partners. If capacity allows, registration will open more broadly next month.
  • Hotel rooms will be blocked at the San Antonio Hyatt Regency. Plan to book your room early to secure your spot.
Build Back to Last: StriveTogether Annual Report 
We know change is possible because we have seen it. Communities across the country are #ProvingItsPossible to change systems and build a stronger future. Learn about this national movement in StriveTogether’s latest annual report which features an article on Rochester’s collaborative effort to pull police officers from RCSD schools.
New ROC the Future Team Member
Welcome our New Family and Community Empowerment Manager
Willie Robinson, Jr. is our new Family and Community Empowerment Manager. Prior to joining ROC the Future, Willie served in various capacities working with youth and families and has a corporate background.

While employed at Xerox Corporation, he managed four community outreach programs: Xerox Science Consultant Program, FIRST Robotics Program, Xerox Community Involvement Program, and Xerox School/Work Partnership Program.

During his tenure at Action for a Better Community, he worked as an Employment Specialist with the Milestones program helping to train and employ disenfranchised youth and young adults. During a short period at the University of Rochester, he worked with the Hillside Work Scholarship Program as well as the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Program.

He also served as the coordinator for the Office of Parent Engagement with the Rochester City School District. He had the pleasure of working with a group of dedicated and committed parents who established the RCSD Start Strong Program, Family Affair in the Park and a fatherhood program called Men of Action Network.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Technology from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Nazareth College. In 2019, he was recognized as the Distinguished Health & Wellness Professional of the year at the Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards.

Willie celebrates 34 years of marriage with his wife, Cynthia, and they have two adult children and a four-month-old grandson.
Engaging Parents and Students
Parent Co-Powerment: PECAN on the Move

PECAN has had a phenomenal year and things are just heating up for this group of active and engaged parents. To add to their success, our workshop proposal, Parents ARE the solution: Creating CoPOWERment, has been accepted for the 2021 Cradle to Career Network Convening in San Antonio. This workshop will be co-led by the Family and Community Engagement team along with parents.

Read more about PECAN's accomplishments that have made the biggest impact in 2021.
Centering Youth Voice: Youth Leadership Coalition 

Last month, students from the inaugural cohort of the ROC the Future Youth Leadership Coalition completed a 9-month training session facilitated by SpreadKarma Collective from Baltimore, MD. The Youth Leadership Coalition started from the vision of Kilolo Moyo-White, ROC the Future's Family and Community Engagement Specialist. Leveraging a national partnership with SpreadKarma Collective, educational consultants Kellie Brown, Rashida Ford and Sherman Barksdale worked closely with Moyo-White to develop a "Train the Trainer" Youth Leadership Curriculum.

Read more to learn how these students are preparing to be the next generation of future leaders.
Blog Submission: How to know if you’re an elitist parent leader
By: Kearstin Brown-Warren
My understanding of an elitist parent in the City of Rochester certainly doesn’t correlate with others’ definitions and opinions. For instance, I assumed that my decision to enroll my children in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) would disqualify me from being classified as a stuffed shirt. But, naw. Being a college-educated Black woman with two young boys matriculating through Rochester’s public school system who dares to speak up for marginalized voices over and over again makes for an elitist parent. 

I can dig it. I’ll claim it.

If you’re like me with a skewed reality of what elitism is in the RCSD, allow me to introduce myself and how this whole highbrow status relates to me. I hope you’ll be inspired. 
ROC the Future in the News
RCSD students now eligible for Wi-Fi hotspots through 2022
By: WHEC News 10NBC

For families in the Rochester City School District who are looking for a boost in internet connection, Monday was the first day they could be eligible to do just that.
The district says families can now apply to take home a free Wi-Fi hotspot for every RCSD in the household. RCSD says the hotspots will give students 50 gigabytes of data through June 30, 2022, courtesy of donations made by partners to the school district.

The devices provide more data than the previous 10-gigabyte MiFi pads that were given throughout the district’s hybrid and remote learning plans.
Affordable housing steps up to bridge digital divide with Community Classrooms | Opinion

By: Jolie A. Milstein and Roger W. Brandt
Special to the USA TODAY Network

The coronavirus pandemic increased the need for reliable and fast internet access and exacerbated the existing digital divide — highlighting the fact that far too many lower-income residents in communities of color lack the connectivity required to succeed in today’s virtual world.

There are signs that may soon improve, with both the state and federal governments undertaking significant efforts to invest in broadband affordability and accessibility. This is an encouraging long-term development, but many in Rochester still need short-term help. At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, when the majority of interactions — from health care appointments to education — were forced into the virtual space, Rochester residents needed better online access right away.
Community Updates
Volunteers in the EMMA/Beechwood neighborhood are needed to help build a new playspace at Grand Ave. Park. Work is available for volunteers of all levels of skill and ability.

When: Wednesday, August 11, 2021 to Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (morning volunteer shift) and 1:30pm - 4:30pm (afternoon volunteer shift)

Where: Grand Avenue Park
250 Grand Avenue, Rochester, NY 14609