RYSE is an organization to programs and practices that reflect our commitment to justice and equity. This commitment applies not just to our youth members but also to how we support and compensate our staff. We have grown fast over the past few years from four to 35 staff and have not focused enough attention on this area.
RYSE creates safe spaces grounded in social justice that build youth power for young people to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities
RYSE was born out of a youth organizing movement initiated in 2000 in response to a string of homicides amongst youth near Richmond High School that galvanized students to take action to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in the community. Students organized vigils and community forums with over 1,500 youth and community members, met and worked with local officials and stakeholders on a comprehensive assessment of youth-identified priorities and solutions, culminating in the RYSE Youth Center (RYSE), which opened its doors on October 18, 2008.
RYSE’s primary strategies to influence change include: (1) create programs grounded in racial justice and oriented towards systems change and system transformation, (2) involve young people in all levels of organizational design, program implementation and evaluation, (3) develop integrative strengths programming that allows for multiple points of entry and engagement while still feeling like “one program” both on and offsite, (4) incorporate popular education in all aspects of RYSE programming, (5) utilize media, arts and culture in all aspects of programming, (6) build youth capacity to outreach, engage, advocate for and develop program design based on harm-reduction, restorative justice, and trauma-informed best practices, and (7) utilize cross-sector, cross-community collaboration.
Now five years old, RYSE is serving just over 1,750 members, ages 13-21. RYSE offers programs in media, art and culture; leadership and organizing; education and career; community health and wellness; and youth justice and supports for system involved youth and we strive to ensure that young people continue to be the drivers of program design and implementation.