Facebook manager Dave Steer describes himself professionally as a “unicorn”. “I’m right at the intersection of public policy and communications,” he says. “For the last 15 years, I’ve worked on programs that build trust online. My focus here is kid/teen safety, areas such as bullying, privacy and security.”
We had stopped by the Facebook campus in Menlo Park to talk to him about a different kind of program for kids, his long time philanthropic involvement with the nonprofit organization Little Kids Rock, which will be holding its second West Coast benefit at the Facebook campus on Saturday, Nov. 9.
“It was about 10 years ago that I met Dave Wish, who founded Little Kids Rock,” says Dave, who is a member of the organization’s San Francisco Bay Area Council. “I thought he was on to something inspired. Stats show that young people who play an instrument are more likely to go on to college.”
An elementary school teacher, Wish had grown frustrated with the lack of musical education funding at his school. Today, Little Kids Rock is the leading nonprofit provider of free lessons and instruments to underprivileged children in U.S. public schools. The organization has served nearly 250,000 students at over 1,700 schools in 25 cities nationwide.
“This year Little Kids Rock is giving its Livin’ the Dream award to James Hetfield, who Metallica’s frontman,” says Dave. “Facebook’s chef Josef Desimone, who died tragically a few months ago, was a big Metallica fan. So this year’s event is really in honor of Chef Josef.”
Dave started playing guitar when he was 13 and was a big Van Halen fan. He’s hoping to pass on his appreciation for music to his six-year-old. “I think kids will find this event tremendously exciting,” he says. “They’ll get to see other kids on stage performing.”
The performing kids at this year’s Little Kids Rock are from Highland Elementary in Richmond and San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley Middle School. Tickets to the Little Kids Rock Rockin’ the Bay event are sold out but you can still support Little Kids Rock by bidding on some auction items at www.charitybuzz.com/lkr.