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RISE: Be a Friend, Be a Mentor!

“During the new mentor training, we learned about the 10-block radius, a term that refers to kids who grow up in the inner city and are limited to experiences within their own neighborhoods and never get a chance to venture outside that zone. That concept really hit home when I took T to the East Bay Bike path. He was so amazed by the peace and quiet of the bike path. He told me it must be the nicest place on earth! I thought it was such an everyday outing, but to T, it was like being transported to a whole new world. Later that day, when I dropped him off at home, I thought: here’s his apartment, his school is across the street, the rec center and afterschool programs are right down the block, and his church is there too. It made me realize how important mentoring can be in opening a child’s mind to new places and experiences. I feel lucky to be able to play that role in T’s life.” – RISE mentor

geiana-and-magda: RISE mentorOn any given day, more than 4,300 Rhode Island children have a parent who is incarcerated.

Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE) reaches children of currently and formerly incarcerated parents and helps them change the course of their lives, through educational opportunity and mentoring.  RISE is Rhode Island’s only organization that focuses on the needs of children with incarcerated parents.  With RISE’s winning strategy of quality private education and mentoring, 180 Rhode Island kids are beating the odds and succeeding through high school graduation and beyond.  Working with thirty-five private schools across the state and a group of committed sponsors, RISE students are thriving in competitive academic environments and participating in their school communities through sports, the arts, and volunteer work.

The Mentoring for Academic Success program provides support in the form of a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.  Currently, about one hundred RISE students are matched with mentors who serve as positive role models and friends. Mentors and mentees attend sports events, visit museums, go bowling, explore the outdoors, and just spend time together.  A mentor’s one-year commitment of just six hours per month makes a world of difference for a child at risk.  Mentored children have higher grades, better school attendance, and healthier self-esteem than their non-mentored peers.

Make a positive impact on a child’s life: become a RISE mentor.

RISE seeks volunteer mentors for children ages 7 to 14 enrolled in our program. These are terrific kids whose families have indicated that they would like a mentor. RISE mentors and mentees enjoy an exceptional support system, which includes a complete and comprehensive training, monthly activities (sailing, ice skating, golf, barbecues, athletic and event tickets, and much more), and networking meetings.

Mentoring with RISE is a fantastic way to cultivate existing interests while introducing a young person to new people and places. Interested candidates complete an interview and screening process that includes reference and criminal background checks. All mentors complete a comprehensive initial training session.

For information on mentoring, or to request a mentor application, email Liza Manchester at lmanchester@RISEonline.org  or call 421-2010.

Melissa Brusso lives in Pawtucket, R.I., with SportsDad, daughter Stretch, 11, and the Little Man, 8. She spends her time fund-raising for Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE), schlepping her children to one or another sports practice or game, cooking and baking, and trying valiantly to keep up with domestic tasks. She can be reached at mdbrusso@yahoo.com.

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1 comment
  • I was fortunate enough to work as a tutor with RISE students when I was an Elementary School Teacher. It was a fabulous program to work with, and the kids were amazing.