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I had a full circle moment.

RISE In Prison Program Participants engage in mock interviews during a coaching day at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

In the past year of working at RISE, my eyes have been opened. 

I was having a conversation with Charles, one of our program participants in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. He asked me a common question, “what brought you here?” 

In college I worked at an elementary school in North Omaha. During my time there, I was completely disturbed witnessing the school-to-prison pipeline in action every single day. Most of my students had family members who were incarcerated and this is where I learned about the vicious cycles of generational incarceration. 

After conveying my “why” to Charles, he shared that he, too, had once been a student at the exact elementary school I worked at.

Not only that, his children also attended the same school. Charles’ now 25-year-old son is serving time alongside him at the state penitentiary. 

My “why” has come full circle.

This is why our work matters. 

At RISE, our mission is to end the generational cycles of incarceration. Our mission comes to fruition in a variety of ways, like: 

  • Josh, a 24-year-old program participant at OCC, who had his first job interview during our mock interview rounds during a coaching day. Being gang affiliated since he was a child, he never had the opportunity to apply for a real job. 
  • Tony, a graduate of our RISE Business Academy program, whose kombucha business just expanded into HyVee.
  • Sarah, a participant in Rising Dreams kids summer workshop, who has learned how to express herself through the theatrical arts. 
  • Trisha, a graduate of our program at NCCW, who is navigating her reentry every day. She works hard at two jobs and actively participates in the RISE family program with her young daughter. 

Our reentry specialists and program facilitators have over 100 years of lived experience with the criminal justice system. There is nobody better equipped to help our program graduates navigate the crisis that is reentry like our staff. 

Nebraskans care about our neighbors coming home and it takes community members like you to break the cycle. 

If you’ve found our work meaningful and want to be part of breaking the cycles for more Nebraskan families, please consider supporting RISE through a monthly donation. That’s truly the way to make the biggest impact - $10 or $20 each month helps RISE continue to expand our work. 

Through August, we are thanking all new monthly donors with a complimentary RISE shirt or tote

Start your monthly giving here.

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