Celebrating the holidays…

A holiday update from RISE Program Director Mary Crandall:

RISE has many reasons to celebrate this holiday season; I would like to share a few of those reasons with you.

Harry is an 80-year-old who came to RISE wanting to volunteer. After visiting with him for an hour, he realized that maybe he didn’t have the strength (he has Parkinson’s) to do what he wanted to do, so he decided to donate money instead. His generous gifts throughout the year have benefited the participants and program in so many ways. Harry has been a true gift to RISE and we are better people for knowing him.

Heidi, a participant’s wife, decided to volunteer her time at RISE every Monday. She comes in and helps us organize donations, helps other participants with resources, and visits with them. Conversation, a cup of coffee, maybe a roll (or two) help our participants feel loved and accepted. Heidi does a wonderful job and we thank her!

RISE has a new navigator who is tirelessly working to get felons their voting rights reinstated. He visits the Centers (half-way houses) and talks to our participants there as well as in RISE. He has been a breath of fresh air for RISE and the participants can feel his empathy and love just by being around him.

A participant came in the other day to announce he had found a job, an apartment and was working on getting his license back. He told us, “It only took me until I was 50 to figure it all out, but now I have. Thank you for all of your support.”

RISE has formed a partnership with New Bo bike collective (in Czech Village). Rick, the person in charge, is absolutely the best!! He gives our participants bikes!! This gives them the independence they need to get to their job and other places they need to be. Few of our participant have licenses or cars, so their own bike provides the freedom and flexibility they need to feel and be more successful. A huge thank you to New Bo Bike Collective and especially to RICK!!

A huge thank you to all the CO’s and administrators at the Linn Co jail. We go in every Monday night and every Tuesday afternoon to visit with participants and help them develop plans for their reentry. Major Pete Wilson and Lieutenant Steenblock and all the CO’s on 2nd and 3rd floors as well as the wonderful people at the front desk. Thank you!!!

A HUGE thank you to Marty, Julie and George, our incredible data gurus. You three are indispensable to RISE. I cannot stress enough how much you all mean to me, the navigators and to the board. THANK YOU!!!

A huge thank you to the Thursday Noon Lion’s Club for providing free eye exams and glasses to our participants. They come in to RISE saying, “I can see. I didn’t know how much I couldn’t see before. Thank you!” Thank you, Lions,!!!

Our participants continue to impress us with their motivation to do better, their determination to not get discouraged, and the willingness to learn how to cope with their frustrations. We started having our participants write on cards what they are thankful for. And no matter how bad their lives get, they’re always thankful for something. They are always able to see the good in life. Our participants teach us, the navigators at RISE, something every day. We are Blessed to know them.

The navigators at RISE go above and beyond their two hours twice a week at RISE. For example, they meet participants at the motel to check them in, they meet them at the bike collective to assist in getting a bike, they take clothes to the jail or to the center, they buy them food, they buy their own supplies to help assist the participants better. (Yes, we spend a lot of our own money on RISE and our participants).  The navigators go to court, so the participants will have support when they face the judge. They meet them as they get out of jail, so they don’t have to “go it alone.” These are merely a few examples of the many ways RISE navigators help support participants (outside of their scheduled times at RISE). I am beyond grateful for them.  Thank you to Marcia, Teddi, Jim, Gary, Dave, Mary, Marylee, Regina, Kay, Courtney, Melissa, Gloria, Lynn, and Fran. RISE wouldn’t be RISE without you.