HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - RISE celebrated both a grand reopening and new year of helping citizens of Hattiesburg take control of their future.
The program has graduated multiple classes and recent graduates say it equipped them with the tools necessary to pursue bigger and better goals in life.
The executive director said it’s a new year with a lot of fresh energy, but the goal for the first graduating class of 2019 remains the same as those before.
“Starting in 2019, this class is going to go out there and you’ll see people employed that move forward to actually being those who hire others to be examples,” said Executive Director Catherin Jorns.
Jaime Reyes, a recent RISE graduate, told WDAM how special the RISE program is to her.
“They are always there for me not just as encouragers but just as friends and also as an extended family,” said Reyes.
The program requires much time and consistency from its participants.
“They’re taught in the classroom environment for 10 weeks and then nine months of mentorship that’s really serious about their next step,” Jorns said.
Hattiesburg Mayoy Toby Barker spoke highly of RISE, saying it’s a strong example of an organization that brings change to its community.
“If we had more groups like RISE to come along side folks and really help them through the everyday challenges in trying to reach their own potential as a person, our entire community would benefit,” Barker said.
Reyes said RISE helped her earn her GED and continues to support her as she pursues her associate degree. She encourages anyone who thinks they could benefit from the program to give it a try.
“If only you feel like you need somebody to just encourage you or to be there for you when you need it then rise is the place,” said Reyes.