Sometimes people just need a little extra support to succeed to the best of their abilities. This was true for 23-year-old Angel McLilly, a young woman in Genesee County who was disengaged from school and work after giving birth to her son. That was until she found R.I.S.E., a peer-to-peer group that is part of the Flint & Genesee Opportunity Youth Coalition and helps disengaged young people ages 16 – 24 find the resources and encouragement they need to succeed.
“R.I.S.E. helped me find my direction in life,” says McLilly, who has been involved with the program since its inception. “The group helped me learn how I could be better for myself, my family and my community.”
McLilly is now working full-time while raising her son and still participating in R.I.S.E. as the current president of the group.
“If anyone needs help with school, or need other resources, R.I.S.E. is there to help,” says McLilly. “It also helps individuals grow into thriving adults.”
R.I.S.E., which stands for respect, inspire, stand up and energize, is uniquely positioned to help young people in the community. As a part of the Flint & Genesee Opportunity Youth Coalition, a coalition of 20 members from area organizations, R.I.S.E. bridges the gap between disengaged young people and the resources coalition members provide.
“When we refer to disengaged youth, we mean that in any sense of the word,” says Dennis Williams-Mitchell, youth ambassador at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “It can mean disengaged from school, the workforce or even the community.”
Williams-Mitchell adds that R.I.S.E. is also a group for individuals that may be on the right path but want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.