By Delia Gonzales, TWR Media Intern
RISE! is our four-year program for economically disadvantaged high school girls. Girls enter the program their freshman year and are placed in groups of their peers that stay together throughout the duration of high school. Each group will also be paired with a female facilitator with the goal of that facilitator remain with their group until graduation. When developing RISE!, we believed that if we offered financial education and career planning tailored to high school students, the lessons learned will impact their life long after graduation.
Why High School Girls?
The number of women and young girls living in a state of financial insecurity is striking. Nearly 1 in every 5 women are struggling with poverty, and women with less than a high school degree are earning less than $19,000 annually. Even the girls who succeed academically and go on to receive an advanced degreed will often graduate college with a mountain of debt that will stifle their future economic success.
Our goal with RISE! is to end the cycle of poverty and prepare girls for success after high school. RISE! stands for Your Road to Independence, Success and Empowerment, and it is our hope that by bringing financial education to economically disadvantaged youth we will make tremendous strides towards developing a generation of young women who are financially confident and successful.
Your Road to Independence, Success and Empowerment
RISE! Is the only program in Houston for economically disadvantaged high school girls that combines the life skills training necessary for leadership and professional success with the financial education that is critical for personal success.
RISE! began as ProjectLead in 2005. The first program was as a 10-week program at Jeff Davis High School, which focused on supporting pregnant and parenting students. However, due to increase demand, it became clear that RISE! needed to expand to a 4-year program, so we could support our girls throughout the high school experience.
The girls in this program will start their high school years off right as they learn the basics of financial planning in their freshman year. In their sophomore, year the girls learn about colleges and explore career options and complete career assessments. As a junior, they will put their ideas into action by setting goals for college, learn how to manage a budget, and set summer goals for their senior year. In their senior year, facilitators will help the girls prepare for and file FASFA, do mock interviews, prepare resumes, and complete individual check-ins to make sure they are prepared to enter the adult world right after their graduation ceremony.
We are excited to announce that we are graduating our first group of girls from the RISE! 4-year program this year. The students at Chavez High School will be the first graduating class and we cannot wait to see what these girls accomplish as they move into the adult world.
The true impact of the program can be said best by one of our participants.
“RISE! taught me that just because I am a female does not mean that I should not be able to learn how to be independent. Before the classes I would spend money with no care in the world because I knew that I would eventually get more money from my weekend job. I needed to find a way to save $500 for my dad’s birthday present and my facilitator showed me a way that I could save exactly that much. When it came time I actually had $800! I had never held so much money in my life. She taught me this method of saving half for myself and to put the rest away for emergencies that I may later face. Now I’m more mindful to where my money goes and I’m more thoughtful about my priorities when buying things. My goal is to teach what I learned in this program to my parents and those around me to improve their economic status.”– IR, Chavez High School
Our mission is to help women and girls make choices toward becoming independent, productive, and financially stable. With RISE! we hope to develop young women who are ready to control not only their personal finances but their destiny.
Check back to the blog in the coming weeks as we follow the students of the first graduating RISE! class from Chavez High School.