BA student Jen Baron is in her final year at AUSB, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts while mastering social media as a dynamic work-study intern for the Summer Writing Institute. But even more impressively, Jen also happens to be the Executive Director for Girls Rock SB! – a non-profit organization that builds self-esteem and encourages self-empowerment in young women through music education, collaboration, and performance.
“It all started my first quarter here,” explains Jen. “I was taking Educational Foundations, feeling nervous to be a returning college student. The emphasis that Antioch places on social justice completely floored me! I walked out of that class feeling confident, focused, and very inspired to create something wonderful for our community. I’m a musician, so merging music with social justice seemed like a perfect fit!”
AUSB’s unique independent study curriculum gave Jen the opportunity to research and learn many different facets of what goes into creating and managing a non-profit. Subsequently, in 2012, she founded Girls Rock SB! Earlier this year, the organization launched its first fundraiser in February, sold-out music and dance performance at the Marjorie Luke Theatre that raised money for summer scholarships.
Starting in June, Girls Rock SB! will hold its first summer camp in Santa Barbara, for girls ages 7-17 at Adams Elementary School. With four 1-week sessions, this music-filled day camp supports girls to become rock stars by exploring, creating, and expressing themselves in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Participants choose one instrument to focus on for the week: drums, bass, guitar, vocals, or keyboards.
Workshops at the camp may include screen-printing, songwriting, self-defense, zine-making, recording, image and identity, and more. Guided by inspirational and talented female mentors (many of whom are professional musicians), girls learn to work together while having fun. Each day at lunch, a guest artist will perform and interact with the campers.
Says Jen, “I am thrilled to bring this important appreciation for the musical arts to the Santa Barbara community… I find great inspiration in working with youth and helping girls rock out!”