Behind the Scenes of Stories that R.O.C.K.

Behind the Scenes of Stories that R.O.C.K.
A look at the series from behind the camera
By Hayley Walker, Marketing & Development Coordinator

When Curt, our Executive Director, asked for my thoughts on doing some type of campaign showcasing R.O.C.K.’s impact on the lives of past participants and supporters, I was all in. I immediately gravitated towards to idea of storytelling—which is an important part of what I do at R.O.C.K.—because stories have a special, unmatched power in the work that we do. We met with Swati, one of our Board Members, and together the three of us brainstormed and discussed how to best make this project a reality. Thus, Stories that R.O.C.K. was born.

While I’m not new to the nonprofit sector or to youth sport programs, I am fairly new to the Visitacion Valley community. Over the past several months, I have made it a priority to get to know our community, our participants, and the schools we serve. Every community or neighborhood is unique, and Vis Valley is beautifully so.

Filming the interviews of alumni, staff, and supporters for Stories that R.O.C.K. has been an eye-opening experience for me. Curt often provided me with background information on each of the individuals we interviewed—when they started attending R.O.C.K., which housing projects they lived in as a child, where they currently work or study. I thought I might have trouble keeping track of the R.O.C.K. alumni because there were so many scheduled for interviews, but I was wrong. Every person that came through our doors stood out as a unique, admirable individual as I learned their stories. Each had a distinct experience, personality, and narrative to share. I met so many souls that were positively impacted by R.O.C.K., and I finished each interview feeling grateful to be in their presence and to work for an organization that has meant so much to so many people.

There were, of course, some recurring themes throughout our filming that reflecting the harsh reality of many children growing up in Visitacion Valley: exposure to violence at a young age, parents or guardians working long hours to make ends meet, peers succumbing to the negative influences around them. But there were even more common themes that emerged to confirm R.O.C.K.’s lasting impact on our participants: the fond memories of Saturday programs, the sheer joy that came from going camping for the first time, the volunteers and staff whose words encouraged them to follow their dreams—and still do. While many of our alumni faced the hardships that are all too common in our community, they are all resilient, strong, and grateful for R.O.C.K.’s presence in their lives. As one of our alumni, Maya, explained, “R.O.C.K. was one of the programs that was there for me through my whole life. My whole life, since I was four until this day coming back, and I can’t say that about anything else.”

We’re excited to share Stories that R.O.C.K. with you.