Children’s Institute to host ROC the Future staff

Beginning in April 2021, the Children’s Institute will host ROC the Future’s backbone staff. The Children’s Institute was chosen following a request for proposal process on anchoring ROC the Future’s staff as it moves toward the next stage in its evolution.

Since 2013, the Children’s Agenda has served as host entity for ROC the Future, following Monroe Community College’s hosting of the organization since its inception. In each of the last seven years, ROC the Future has grown considerably, officials said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Children’s Agenda over the past seven years. We look forward to the continued strategic relationship with TCA as they are a leading voice within our collective work to build capacity for advocacy and policy change, which are critical elements necessary to change systems so that they work better for all children,” said Jackie Campbell, ROC the Future Alliance director.

ROC the Future is a member of the StriveTogether network, a national movement impacting the lives of 13.7 million youth. A core outcome of RTF’s work is systems-level change, which StriveTogether describes as developing shared accountability; implementing a comprehensive data system and continuous improvement processes to facilitate data sharing; co-developing solutions with the community; and aligning resources around evidence-based strategies.

“We are so pleased to be invited to build upon the excellent foundation the Children’s Agenda has provided ROC the Future as host agency since 2013. As a founding convener, Children’s Institute greatly values ROC the Future’s unique effort and capacities to drive collective impact solutions with parents, practitioners, and other child-serving organizations that strive for academic growth,” said Ann Marie White, executive director of the Children’s Institute. “We are poised to expand our ongoing support in practical ways as a backbone organization of ROC the Future, while we continue to lean in together as a body of conveners to obtain greater equity in educational outcomes for every young person.”

Since 1957, the Children’s Institute has been committed to strengthening the social and emotional health of children, through a whole-child approach. The nonprofit’s work through collaborative initiatives with a variety of health, education and human service organizations has helped make progress on issues impacting children in the community.

Children’s Institute’s experience with data sharing and building data systems well positions and accelerates ROC the Future’s move towards systems-level change, agency officials noted. This presents opportunities to align with their Center for Continuous Improvement to reach beyond the early education/childcare arena and amplify RTF’s efforts to lift organizational practice change necessary to reach the systems level. ROC the Future brings expertise and value in the area of community engagement and engages parents and community members as co-developers of solutions and decision-makers. This ongoing and evolving work for RTF is a necessary element of systems change work.

ROC the Future is an alliance of leading Rochester-area institutions and community partners that promotes alignment and focuses community resources to improve the academic achievement of Rochester’s children.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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ROC the Future, Common Ground Health to build community playground

KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit that works to ensure every kid and community have access to quality playspaces, has selected ROC the Future to lead a playground project here.

A playground sponsored by KaBOOM! (Photo courtesy of KaBOOM!)
A playground sponsored by KaBOOM! (Photo courtesy of KaBOOM!)

ROC the Future, in partnership with Common Ground Health’s Healthi Kids Initiative, is one of the three StriveTogether communities that will work with KaBOOM! to design a community playground that will help close racial and socioeconomic gaps in kids’ access to great places to play. The partnership will build the civic infrastructure through a project model that brings diverse residents and organizations together for youth.

“Every kid deserves a safe, amazing place to play. ROC the Future believes in the value and importance of play to support cognitive and social building skills for children,” said Jackie Campbell, ROC the Future Alliance director. “We are more than thrilled to be selected for this playground project to support children and look forward to breaking ground at a future site in the city of Rochester.”

Increasing access to safe places to play in Rochester is the cornerstone of the PlayROCs campaign at Common Ground Health, officials said, and the KaBOOM! grant will further the collective mission to make Rochester a “playful city.”

“We can all agree that play is an essential part of childhood, and all kids should have opportunities to play as a matter of their human right,” said Lysa Ratliff, vice president of partnership development at KaBOOM! “Research shows—what many parents know—that children learn through play. The more time they have to play outside with their peers, the more likely they are able to grow essential social, physical and cognitive skills that are so important for their future success. We are proud to partner with StriveTogether to bring this vision to life.”

ROC the Future and Common Ground Health will work together to recruit 200 volunteers in the community to join staff and partners in the design, planning and installation of the playground before September 2020. The process will kick off with “design day,” where kids and families will meet to create the design specifications for an innovative, custom play space.

The process will culminate with a day where hundreds of volunteers will build the playground. In between, partners and volunteers will work on a grassroots campaign to raise local matching funds and engage with elected officials and community leaders.

“StriveTogether shares the belief with KaBOOM! that the well-being of communities starts with the well-being of kids,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “Creating shared spaces fosters community pride and helps close the racial and socioeconomic gaps that deny many children great places to play. Local change is possible when the community unites around a common vision for families and kids.”

KaBOOM! is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer