RISE – ing

The new year has started and the RISE program is back underway. RISE stands for Raising Individual Success through Empowerment. High school students in RISE take part in paid internships, are paried with a mentor and feel the pride of holding down a job. Also, RISE participants go on college tours (see photo) and Commons provides help and guidance on selecting and applying to colleges.

Here are some great before and after stories that shows the power of work and discipline:

“Before the RISE program, you could say that I was literally a couch potato. I was not active. Everyday I would just wake up and watch television.” This students increased his GPA FROM A 1.8 TO A 2.97 and he started at Northern Illinois University this Fall!

Here’s another:

“Before RISE I Would REALLY slack off in school …. I would constantly look for a job, but constantly prayed not to find one. I was Lazy.” Now, he is attending University of Illinois Chicago on two scholarships.

We are keeping in touch with last year’s RISE graduates, so they can return to mentor future students. Although generation cycles of poverty seem so entrenched, all it takes is a commitment to education to create a positive cycle with a momentum of its own.