Jen Baron, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Rock Santa Barbara (pictured left along with board Vice President, Marla McNally Phillips), was recently honored by the Association for Women in Communications, Santa Barbara Chapter (AWC-SB) at their holiday party December 5th, 2018. She was presented with the Lois Phillips Founders Award for her efforts to help girls find their voices and become more confident through music. AWC-SB plans to adopt Girls Rock SB as their 2019 Nonprofit of the Year.
Baron attended Antioch University Santa Barbara as a returning adult undergraduate student while also juggling single parenthood and a full-time job, and graduated in 2013. “I can’t even tell you how nervous I was that I wouldn’t be successful,” she wrote in an email. While at Antioch, a professor urged Baron’s class to design their dream jobs. She envisioned a nonprofit that used music to spark creativity and instill confidence in girls. In an interview with Audiofemme.com, she said, “So I had this idea, but knew nothing about running a non-profit. I googled “rock camp for girls” and ended up finding Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp For Girls in PDX; I immediately contacted them to find out more information. They introduced me to the entire Girls Rock broader community. Seven years later, we’re the largest Girls Rock program in the world.” When she launched the first summer program in 2012, one hundred girls attended. Today, the organization has grown to a community of more than 4,000 students who participate in after-school programs as well as day camps and sleep away camps during the summer.
“The award is so special to me,” Baron wrote. “When Lois [Phillips] told me she was honoring me with the Founders Award and I learned she had founded the AUSB campus, I cried because I truly feel that it is because Antioch and I were such a good fit that I was able to start Girls Rock. Antioch was so supportive and let me be my creative self.”
photo by: Arna Bajraktarevic