RISE Program: Nebraska Success Stories

Success stories from RISE

May 17, 2019

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” - Colin R. Davis


The perception of success is a pendulum. Some days the greatest success feels as though it should be a big house, corner office, fancy car and a closet full of clothes to match. However, other days, simply waking up in the morning and getting dressed is all the success we can muster.


We’re often asked for the success stories of our Builders. And we get excited to profess that we have an abundance of them! And then we’re asked to talk about the best ones...you know...the “warm and fuzzy” ones.


Our version of “warm and fuzzy” is a little different than others, and that’s ok. We revel in it. In our line of work we see struggle, emotions and deep rooted pain. But we also see insurmountable growth, a change in mindset, and an overwhelming desire to be a little bit different than the day before.


While our reentry program teaches a lot about business ideation and entrepreneurship to the men and women in the Nebraska prison system, it also teaches forgiveness, accountability and ways to heal families. And this is where we set our bar of success.


To us and our Builders, success means:

  • Jason receiving multiple interview callbacks after initially being turned down because of his record. And then receiving one of those very jobs because his interview skills were too strong to ignore.
  • Lori avoiding violence while carrying out the remainder of her time incarcerated.
  • Kimmy committing to staying on the bus on the way to a job interview, even after a major transportation snafu. And then landing the job. Plus, being offered more jobs!
  • Alex being released in time to care for his ill mother in both physical and emotional ways.
  • Arturo moving back home upon release, getting a good job, providing for his family and mending relationships.
  • Gabe choosing to donate his Business Pitch winnings to a local nonprofit.
  • Builders and graduates asking for help and getting past the fear of judgement.


So, are our successes multi-million dollar businesses straight out of the gate? No. And truth be told, we want to see our Builders walk before they run.

But, to us, our successes are so much more than that. They’re realistic. They’re important. They’re a matter of making good decisions over “unique” ones. If there’s anything we know, it’s that celebrating “little wins” is the good stuff.

“Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight. Actually, getting something too easily or too soon can cheapen the outcome.” - John Wooden

RISE is uses an inside/out model to serve people with criminal records in our home state, the 2nd most overcrowded state in Nebraska.

If you or someone you know would like to become involved in our mission, send us a message!

Previous Posts...

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We stand in solidarity with the Black community and mourn the countless loved ones lost to senseless violence. For many, we will never fully understand, but we stand with you, see you, support you, and will amplify the voices of the unheard.

Before Tuesday's Business Pitch Competition and graduation, RISE had graduated 314 program graduates within the state of Nebraska. 314 men and women all looking for a different path...a different opportunity. Yesterday we added a powerhouse of 12 to that number who desired more than just an opportunity, but a change. A new life.