Dear Friends,

My name is Brian Lewis, and I am thrilled to serve as the new Executive Director of the ROC the Future Alliance.

It seems right that I begin this role when so many of us are celebrating the holidays. Like many of you, I am filled with gratitude and appreciation as I reflect on the challenges and successes of this past year and as I get to spend some special time with my wife and 8-month-old daughter. I am looking forward to our past family traditions like putting up decorations and listening to and dancing to holiday music and creating new traditions like picking out a tree with our baby girl.

While we are in a mode of celebration and appreciation in our household, I can’t help but think about what the future holds for my baby girl. As ROC the Future has shown in the release of our most recent State of Our Children report, there are many steep and systemic barriers that have the potential to hold our children back and not allow them to reach their fullest and limitless potential.

Together, we have work to do to ensure that all our children are reading and doing math at grade level and are graduating high school on time and ready for college and career. We have to ensure that our community’s youngest individuals have the resources and tools needed to survive and thrive from childhood into adulthood. We must come together, share power and resources, and be creative and innovate if we hope to turn the page on the problems of our past and usher in a brighter and better future for my daughter and for all the children and families of this city.

ROC the Future employs a collective impact approach and utilizes StriveTogether’s theory of action. We use this approach and tool because we know that we must work together to co-develop solutions with our parent/family partners and be intentional about their involvement in every step of the process.

We are proud of this work as we cultivate a shared community vision, use data to inform decision making, engage in collaborative action and ensure investment and sustainability. We believe that if we continue to engage in these efforts, we will see improvement in outcomes for the young people of Rochester.

Some of our recent accomplishments include:

  • 61 ROC the Future Alliance members have participated in Community Onboarding & Reboarding Experience (C.O.R.E.) Module 1.
  • Year 3 of the Youth Leadership Coalition.
  • Staffing the Whole Child Initiative. Check out openings.
  • 1709 children, ages 12 months to 5 years, received GROW screenings in vision, hearing, dental, Body Mass Index (BMI), motor, speech, developmental, social emotional, with 956 referred for one or more identified need for additional care.
  • Championing teacher pipeline work to ensure diverse representation in the faculty and staff serving our scholars.
  • Reboot of the High School Graduation Outcome Team.
  • Engagement with the Rochester City School District and updates from Dr. Shelly Jallow.

I encourage you take part in the work of the Alliance and be a part of the growing movement to change systems and create more equity for the children of Rochester.

Thank you for trusting me to enter this role and for allowing me to work with you all as we seek to improve outcomes for the Children of Rochester.

Until all the children are well,
Brian Lewis