5 Questions With: The Founder of Project: Rock for Autism
Steve Toth is a New Port Richey resident and USF student who organizes local bands to raise money for a local resource for people with autism.
As a Gulf High School student, Steve Toth combined his love of music and a group member's love for his younger brother with autism to create "Project: Rock for Autism,"a series of benefit concerts that, since 2008, has raised more than $10,000.
Toth, a New Port Richey resident and freshman and civil engineering major at the University of South Florida, has kept Project: Rock for Autism alive, despite having fulfilled International Baccalaureate requirements for volunteer work in high school.
The money goes to the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF (CARD) to be distributed to families. Toth is planning a concert for this fall, though the date is to be announced. Bands are typically local bands from around the Tampa Bay, including his own, Worst Case Scenario.
Last month, Toth won the WEDU Be More Entrepreneurial ‘Rising Star’ award, presented by West Central Florida's leading PBS station, WEDU. The award is given to an individual younger than 30 who has distinguished her or himself by using entrepreneurial skills to build a successful nonprofit project.
Patch: What is Project: Rock for Autism and how did it get started?
Toth: PRFA is a series of benefit concerts that have collectively raised about $10000 for the USF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
Patch: Where does the money you raise go and how does it benefit people?
Toth: The proceeds have funded programs that help local families in the Florida Gulf Coast with kids of all range in the autism spectrum.
Patch: Why did you decide to continue this fundraiser beyond your IB requirements?
Toth: It got started as a community service project for my high school IB program, and it started to gain attention from the media and become a major success, so I felt the need to continue the project, and another show is currently being discussed for this year. We hope to get even bigger bands this year to draw large crowds and help the event gain more popularity. "
Patch: How do you feel about receiving the WEDU Be More Entrepreneurial ‘Rising Star’ award last month?
Toth: I was nominated for the Be More award by CARD, and made it through as one of the five finalists, but didn't really expect to win. It was great to showcase my work in front of many important TV and radio personalities as well as higher ups from local businesses and corporations that could potentially sponsor the event or help spread word.
Patch: How can people get involved with your benefit concerts?
Toth: People can get involved by telling anyone they know about the event, or to follow our page on Facebook for updates as soon as they happen. We're also looking for sponsors that would give monetary grants or donations in return for acknowledgement in the media outlets and at shows. We'll be looking for volunteers for running different aspects of the show on the day of, but nothing will be known about open positions until a date much closer to the show.