I’m sure by now everyone is familiar with RISE – one of the Collette Foundation’s local partners, which provides scholarships and mentoring to children of currently and formerly incarcerated parents in order to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, crime and addiction.
I’ve just received a letter from my friend and main contact at this amazing organization. On this crisp Fall day, she gushed about one of the summer initiatives. RISE’s 3rd Annual Summer Enrichment Program was a huge success. Over the 7 week Saturday Enrichment program, 36 RISE students actively participated in a variety of activities from 9:30am to 2pm. The weekly program provided RISE students with a safe and fun place to continue learning beyond the school year. This year, students participated in workshops designed to strengthen their academic involvement, self-esteem, practice creativity and self-expression, and build their knowledge of health and wellness.
Activities included yoga, karate with a black belt instructor, visits from a police officer — with his horse! — as well as a reptile show. The Saturday Enrichment program gave RISE scholarship recipients and mentees the chance to experience fun new things together. One of the goals of RISE Enrichment Programming is to foster a sense of community among students, and Summer Saturdays are doing just that. The Summer Saturday Enrichment Program is a place for RISE kids to form positive relationships not only with each other, but with RISE staff too!
With the Collette Foundation funding, RISE was able to hire five Teen Leaders this summer. Bianca, Nadia, Francheska, Niah and Kazre were hired to lead workshops, provide support to students, and act as positive role models for the younger students participating in the summer program. Lizzie Lydon from RISE explained that they were a huge help! The summer job opportunity gives teenage RISE students valuable work experience and helps them to start building their resumes for college applications and other employment.
Our partnership with RISE has been very rewarding. Through mentoring programs, the summer enrichment programs, organizing events like taking the kids to a Pawtucket Red Sox game, and volunteer efforts at Christmastime and other times of year, we feel so connected to these kids.
As we look to our next initiatives, I am just excited the summer project went so well. These kids deserve it.