ROCA receives COVID-19 funding from Lewis Prize for Music

The Revival of Cultural Arts in Brownsville was selected from more than 600 organizations nationwide to receive $25,000 in funding from The Lewis Prize for Music as part of its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The fund invests in youth music organizations and their leaders to facilitate positive change through access to music education.

A total of $1.25 million will be awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development organizations that have adapted and responded to the pressing needs of the young people they serve amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the United States, a press release by ROCA reads. ROCA is the only youth organization in Texas to receive the award.

“Each of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients, including ROCA, provides young people with opportunities to learn, perform and create music while also serving their immediate and unique needs around food, transportation, mental health and academic,” the press release reads.

Revival of Cultural arts aims to reach families and provide them with creative spaces that cultivate artistic talents with a holistic and inclusive approach to teach artistic skills. It also strives to enhance their capacity to make healthier life choices, thereby gaining experiences that contribute to more positive lifestyles and overall quality of life.

“Our ROCA family is very blessed and grateful to the Lewis Prize for Music for their partnership during this uncertain time. This funding will allow us to acquire instruments, needed equipment for our music programs, as well as to support our efforts to continue our community outreach and engagement,” Hilda Ledezma, chief executive officer and founder of ROCA, said.

Daniel Lewis, founder and chairman of the Lewis Prize for Music, said in the press release that the organizations and leaders chosen to support in these times play a critical role in the lives and communities of the young people they support.

“Access to music enriches the social fabric of our lives,” Lewis said. “In the face of the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and racial injustice across the country, Creative Youth Development organizations are devoting all of their resources to uplift both the creative and material well-being of young people and their families.”

ROCA said they remain committed to continue teaching music and the COVID-19 pandemic has not derailed their focus of getting students to continue their music education. They are implementing distance learning where students are experiencing a different interaction with their instructors through mediums like digital platforms, phone calls, home visits and pre-recorded videos.

“We find peace in the midst of it all knowing that our team has quickly embraced the challenge of doing something innovatively artistic and effective,” Ledezma said.

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