Rockwood Intercultural Student Experience

Rockwood Intercultural Student Experience (RISE), launched in 2013, helps middle-school aged youth in Rockwood achieve school success and positive community engagement. In engaging youth before they enter high school, RISE addresses the root causes of disengagement and provides students the supports that lead to successfully completing school and continuing on to further education and employment. As a program of the Center for Family Success, RISE enables a wrap-around family support model in which both youth and parents can easily access needed supports.


Each year, RISE serves at least 100 youth: 50 middle school youth identified as experiencing chronic school absenteeism and/or at risk of violence or gang involvement with intensive services, along with their families, and an additional 50 at-risk youth per year with enrichment activities.

The RISE staff working with youth are located directly onsite at the H.B. Lee and Reynolds Middle Schools, and are able to connect with youth at school and help youth engage in supportive out-of-school activities through the SUN schools and other programs.

All 100 youth engage in:

  • Pro-Social Activities/RISE Club give youth an opportunity to participate in sports, life skills and leadership class, community service, school-based or other activities. These are a protective factor for youth school success, and help youth to develop social competencies, academic mindsets, positive peer and adult relationships and positive identity. Youth can participate in weekly groups at SUN community schools (HB Lee and Reynolds). Advocates play a critical role in encouraging youth to join in activities and supporting their continued participation.

The 50 youth in intensive services also engage in:

  • Advocacy/Case Management at least twice-weekly: case management, problem solving and on-site school support. Advocacy provides youth with a focused means of addressing barriers that can impede academic attainment.
  • Academic support after-school by linking to after-school academic supports through SUN community schools, with support from the Advocates, to directly increase skill levels and support completion of grade levels.
  • Navigation Assistance to access needed services either at Pathfinders/Center for Family Success or through a partnering provider. Services may include mental health counseling or support groups, legal advice, etc. Ongoing staff assistance will assure that youth and families are able to successfully participate in and complete needed activities.

RISE features a strong family component; parents of RISE youth are served via programming at the Center for Family Success.

During the school year, RISE offers youth activities after school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm and Wednesdays from 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Summer hours for RISE are from 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm Monday – Friday. All programming includes meals for youth.

RISE staff recently sat down for an interview with MetroEast Community Media’s television show Community Hotline: