ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new after school program in Rochester is aiming to teach kids new skills…The kinds they don’t necessarily get in school. But what makes “Operation Go” different is not just the skills they teach -But the transformational mentality they teach as well.
Founder of Operation Go Justin Ortiz originally started the program in 2012 under the name “Generation Outreach,” describes the program as “basically teaching kids a trade and a career at an early age.”
But these are modern-day trades. This year in a ten-week program, they’re tackling a class a week. This go-around, it’s sneaker design, app development, video production, music production, graphic and clothing design.
“(These are) things that kids are interested in, but don’t have a platform to create,” Ortiz said.
After the ten-week class, each student leaves with a tangible product that they produced -And even an e-commerce platform for some. This kind of experience is something that teacher Rashad Scott wish he had when he was young.
“I only started doing video production three years and I’ve gotten very far now, to where I’m teaching a class for students, but had I been their age starting video production,” Scott said. “Who knows where I could be now?”
And now, they’re powered by President Obama’s non-profit -My Brother’s Keeper.Director of Youth Services for Rochester, Dr. Jason Willis.
“It’s really aimed and targeted at young boys and men of color, ensuring that they have targeted resources, ensuring that they have dynamic programming,” he said of the programming.
Right now, they’re teaching all these from the ninth floor of the One East Ave building. Before each class, they recite a series of affirmations, all meant to encourage positive thought; and to shift the paradigm from consumers to producers at a young age.
“They got to see it, they got to experience it.” Ortiz said. “Now, to them, it’s possible. These things are possible. Before they just have never seen it.”
Operation Go plans to reach more areas in the city, creating multiple hubs, as well forming corporate training pipelines for their students.