Rocketown of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
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601 Fourth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Organization Details



A place for all young people that offers HOPE and changes futures through Christ's love.

Offering Hope | Changing Futures


Rocketown was founded in 1994 by Contemporary Christian Music artist Michael W. Smith in Franklin, TN. In response to the Columbine massacre in 1999, Michael and the board were inspired to grow the scope of programming by moving to the heart of downtown Nashville, thereby reaching at-risk teens in the Nashville area.

In a nutshell, Rocketown is a drop-in "student center" where marginalized teens and young people from low-income communities can find peace, purpose and possibilities away from the influence of gangs and drugs. It is a safe place for teens to be themselves and come to know the love of Christ, without the judgement or shaming often experienced in traditional ministry settings.

The first of its kind in the Southeast, Rocketown offers many activities to empower young people to succeed in life. Young people are attracted to Rocketown because of the free recording studios, Tennessee's only indoor skatepark, art and dance classes, coffee bar, music venue, block parties, raves, talent shows, eSports and more. What they discover is new friends, free mental health services, volunteer opportunities, Rocketown's Assisted Meal Program (RAMP), emergency food assistance, social/emotional learning groups, discussions around current events such as inequality and social in justice, and positive adult mentors to help to them thrive in today's culture.

All young people are welcome at Rocketown, and all programs are FREE, except the skatepark which has scholarships so nobody is denied access. Rocketown is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to shaping lives offering HOPE to the next generation through Christ's love.


Young people will be given a PLACE to find purpose and possibilities at no cost. Rocketown is celebrating 29 years of offering HOPE to the next generation through Christ's love. This continues to be at the forefront of all activities and programs.

COUNSELING: Through our partnership with The Memorial Foundation, HCA Foundation, CIVIL, and The Counseling Center, a counselor is on site to provide counseling opportunities to teens. Ninety four percent (94%) of youth in social and emotional learning groups report a 30% improvement in symptomatic distress, interpersonal well-being, and social role satisfaction. Ninety three percent (93%) of youth engaged in counseling services at Rocketown indicate that their knowledge about healthy relationships has increased, as well as their ability to participate in healthy communication with their peers.

RAMP: Rocketown's Assisted Meal Plan provides a nutritionally balanced, freshly prepared meals to teens, Monday-Friday. A free weekly family dinner meal is offered at Rocketown on Thursday evenings for all young people and their families. During the past year, Rocketown served or delivered over 9,000 meals to young people and families in need.

OUT-OF-SCHOOL PROGRAMS (aka Rocketown Productions): Rocketown is open any time young people are not in school and connects with youth through creative and culturally relevant events, programming, and outreach. During the "danger hours" from 3-6pm when kids are most likely to become victims of or involved in violent crime or experiment with drugs, Rocketown volunteers and staff are providing caring support and guidance for young people.

Thanks to increased outreach efforts in high schools and nearby communities, Rocketown continues to see out-of-school program attendance increase significantly. Development of programs during these times is driven by student interest and needs. Some of these include cooking, dance, recording studio usage, eSports, skateboarding, talent shows and more. Because Rocketown is a drop-in student center, teenagers vote with their feet every day. Therefore, programs and mentors (volunteers and staff) need to remain culturally relevant as needs and interests change. Many young people walk, bike, skateboard or ride public transportation to get to Rocketown.

Our partnership with the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools has been a remarkable journey, fueled by collaboration, creativity, and a passion for learning. In 2023, Rocketown was recognized by the Academies of Nashville and MNPS as the Experiential Learning Innovator of the Year amongst its 365 community partners!

NURTURE INTERESTS: Community partners, volunteers and staff focus on interests of our youth so they can excel on developing their God given talent. Opportunities are provided through programs and services to explore their interests and talents, and grow in their gifting. This includes providing opportunities for success as future community leaders.

RELATIONSHIPS: Rocketown programs, services and leadership operate with an intentional focus on building relationships that will last a lifetime. Meaningful relationships are created between youth and mentors, and among a community of their peers. The ultimate goal is for every young person to feel that they are a part of the Rocketown family.

DEVELOPING HOPE & PURPOSE: Rocketown desires for the next generation to come to know and experience the love of God in a personal way and to find hope and purpose for their lives. Volunteer and staff mentors help youth learn to handle the challenges of life by listening attentively and providing counsel that draws on our own life and faith experiences. We will be intentional in assisting youth to discover and embrace their identity as children of God and develop their individual gifts and abilities. As a part of their community of faith, we will encourage students to use their gifts to serve others.


PRAYER PARTNERS give us strength and perseverance. Please consider keeping Rocketown in your prayers.

MONTHLY DONORS sustain organizations. They provide the cash flow needed to support operations and provide stability so that the focus can be on the mission of the organization to which someone gives. Rocketown would like to ask you to consider becoming a monthly donor. It is an easy process, and no amount is too great or too small. Please visit our website to learn more

VOLUNTEERS We could not reach more than 2,200 youth each month without an army of dedicated volunteers. Rocketown needs volunteers like YOU! If you are passionate about investing into the lives of young people, please contact us about how to get involved. More information can be found at

IN-KIND DONATIONS: Creative learning equipment (e.g. digital cameras, video production and photography equipment and accessories,). Additionally, our annual AUCTION always is in need of items big and small. Anything from gift cards to vacation packages and other experiences. Go to to see a wish list of auction items.

CEO Statement

At Rocketown, we firmly believe that investing in the next generation is crucial for the long-term success of our community. Our vision is to create a space of Peace, Purpose, and Possibilities where youth can thrive. Guided by our core principles of Attracting Youth, Building Relationships, Connecting with Needs and Interests, and Developing Hope and Purpose, we are dedicated to meeting young people where they are and empowering them to fulfill their destinies.

To attract youth, we organize creative and culturally-relevant events, programs, and outreach initiatives. Our ministry-minded staff and volunteers establish genuine connections with young individuals, offering them caring support and guidance to foster a sense of belonging within our Rocketown family.

Building relationships is at the heart of everything we do. Our programs, services, and leadership prioritize the intentional cultivation of meaningful connections. We seek to foster strong relationships between youth and Christian mentors, as well as within a community of their peers, ensuring that every young person feels valued and supported.

We recognize and address the unique needs and interests of our youth. By providing resources, programs, and services, we aim to empower them to develop their God-given talents and explore their passions.

At Rocketown, we aspire to cultivate hope and purpose in the lives of the next generation. Our ultimate goal is for young people to experience the love of God on a personal level and find meaning and direction for their lives. We listen attentively and offer counsel based on our own life and faith experiences, helping youth navigate life's challenges. Through deep relationships, we strive to identify and fill the gaps along their journey, supporting them in achieving their dreams.

In embracing our mission, we are committed to investing in the future of our community by nurturing and empowering our youth. Together, we can create a transformative environment where young individuals can discover their potential, embrace their purpose, and make a positive impact on the world around them.

Board Chair Statement

Dear Rocketown Community,

As the Chair of Rocketown's Board of Directors, I am honored to address you and share our collective commitment to empowering and supporting the youth in our community. It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I serve alongside a dedicated board, staff, volunteers, and supporters who share a common vision for the success and well-being of our young people.

Rocketown holds a special place in my heart, as it is a beacon of hope, inspiration, and opportunity for the next generation. We firmly believe that investing in our youth is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic decision that will shape the future of our community. With this understanding, our board is deeply committed to providing guidance, oversight, and strategic direction to ensure that Rocketown continues to flourish and make a lasting impact.

Our role as board members goes beyond mere governance. We are advocates, ambassadors, and champions of Rocketown's mission and values. We strive to create an environment where innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity thrive. Together with our talented staff, volunteers, and community partners, we seek to nurture an atmosphere of support, encouragement, and growth for all the young individuals who walk through our doors.

We recognize the challenges and opportunities that our youth face in today's rapidly changing world. Therefore, our board is dedicated to setting strategic goals, fostering partnerships, and securing the necessary resources to enhance and expand our programs and services. We continuously evaluate our impact, ensuring that we adapt to the evolving needs of the youth we serve.

I am immensely proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together, but there is still much work to be done. As the board chair, I am committed to fostering open communication, collaboration, and transparency within our organization. We will continue to seek input from our stakeholders, listen to the voices of our community, and make informed decisions that align with our mission and values.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated staff, tireless volunteers, generous supporters, and the entire Rocketown community for your unwavering commitment and belief in our mission. Together, we can create a future where our youth are empowered, inspired, and equipped to reach their full potential.

Thank you for your continued support and trust in Rocketown's vision. We look forward to embarking on this journey with you as we shape the lives of young individuals and contribute to a brighter future for our community.


Ben Claybaker
Chair, Rocketown Board of Directors

Service Categories

Primary Category: Youth Development  - Youth Centers and Clubs (includes Boys/Girls Clubs)- Multipurpose 
Secondary Category: Recreation & Sports  - Camps 
Tertiary Category: Religion- Related  - Christianity 

Areas Served

Youth throughout Middle Tennessee participate in Rocketown activities, programs, counseling, meal plan, and events.

TN - Davidson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Sumner
TN - Williamson
TN - Wilson
TN - Cheatham
TN - Maury