Tocarra Eldridge Executive Director of Still I Rise

Tocarra Eldridge, Executive Director of Still I Rise
Interviewed and written by CM
Photos by Laura Lind Photography

Consciousness Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Tocarra Eldridge, the Executive Director of the progressive nonprofit organization Still I Rise. This organization has been very instrument in the community by making a positive difference for the citizens and giving a voice for youth and young adults. Here is what Tocarra Eldridge had to share with the readers about this wonderful initiative.

CM: You are the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Still I Rise. Would you like to tell us a little about this initiative?
Tocarra Eldridge: Absolutely. Still I Rise is a dynamic and innovative leadership development non-profit organization that empowers youth and young adults to create a positive and healthy change in society. Still I Rise provides youth and young adults with stimulating programs, events, seminars and engagements, educating them in areas including health, arts, ethics, life skills and entrepreneurship.

CM: What does your background consist of?
Tocarra: I hold a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Roosevelt University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice where I attended Governor’s State University. I worked for the Department of Treasury at the Internal Revenue Service for several years and also in the educational field.

CM: What inspired you to want to pursue this organization? 
Tocarra: What inspired me was having a strong enthusiasm regarding giving back to the community. I always had a passion for working with the youth. I worked in the educational school system for several years and feel as though I have a responsibility to make a difference in younger people’s lives.

CM: You recently coordinated Still I Rise:  Youth Entrepreneur and Leadership Workshop. Would you like to elaborate on that?
Tocarra: This was an exciting event that was held at the Kankakee Public Library’s Auditorium, which allowed the youth to obtain positive messages from significant individuals such as SamIam the MC, the comedian Big Keef and a whole host of great speakers and performers. The ultimate purpose of this event was to provide a fun, practical, informative, and positive workshop for youth, while encouraging them to make their goals and dreams a priority. There were give-aways, prizes and a free lunch served from Olive Garden and Dales Pizza. The youth had a platform to share their voice and walk away with a ton of valuable information. We had a great time!

CM: Besides this program, what are some other Programs that the organization offers?
Tocarra: We offer a Just Write Resume Program that provides youth and young adults with resume writing tools and techniques to brand and position themselves to be selected for premier jobs. We offer an Art and Culture Program that provides youth and young adults with opportunities to learn, refine their artistic abilities, utilize holistic approaches, and explore the impact artists have on society while participating in seminars and class sessions. We offer a Health and Wellness Program that educates youth and young adults about health and wellness and the impact individual health has on the overall community. Under this Program, we coordinated our 1st Annual Healthy for the Holidays seminar last December where we partnered with Walgreens and the local hospital facility Riverside Medical Center. We fed over 100 people.  We had a wonderful turnout.

CM: Still I Rise also organized a Stop the Violence Event, an event that counteracted violence in the community. You brought out significant individuals and celebrities who helped support the cause.
Tocarra: The Stop the Violence Event provided a fun, entertaining and positive experience for area teens, while encouraging them to continue putting their education first. The event promoted messages of peace and nonviolence, informed teens about how violence affects our environment, promoted better decision making skills and also showed teens alternative options as opposed to resorting to violence.

CM: How can people found out more about Still I Rise?
Tocarra: Visit to learn more about our programs and latest happenings. Also email us at or contact us at (815) 414-9614.

CM: Does the organization accept donations?
Tocarra: Yes. We are Tax-Exempt. We accept Gifts of Cash and Gifts of Stock. An individual, group, organization or company can make an online donation to Still I Rise at or by writing a check or money order to Still I Rise office: Still I Rise - 475 East Court Street, Suite 2113 - Kankakee, IL 60901. Also please feel free to email us at or via telephone at (815) 414-9614.

CM: Would you like to add anything in closing?
Tocarra: We would like to thank all of our supporters, sponsors, donors, volunteers and board of directors, and all of those who have contributed to making Still I Rise a success. And thank you for this great interview.

For more information about Still I Rise please visit:


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