Innovative partnership with Episcopal Church helps students in high-risk environments cope with daily pressures

November 15, 2012
The Public Affairs Office

An innovative partnership between schools and a New York City church will engage students who are in high-risk environments at school in conversations about life skills that lead to successful and productive lives.

The program, named RISE for Rising Stars Experience, is an 18-month initiative with a total of 15 students: eight 7-10 year olds, and seven 11-14 year olds that involve clergy, parents/guardians, and local volunteers with one mentor for every three students.

RISE was developed by the Rev. Angela Ifill, Episcopal Church Missioner for Black Ministries, and in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the pilot program will launch at St. Andrew’s Church in the Bronx, where the Rev. Charles Simmons is priest-in-charge.   

“We listened to youth from high-risk environments and created a program to connect them with the church, positive aspects of education, and develop an appreciation for one another,” Ifill said.  “This program will give youth the tools to cope with challenges in school as they prepare for adulthood.”

RISE program elements include defined purpose/goals, public speaking training, life value discussion, examination of bullying and other negative behaviors, arts/crafts, problem-solving, conflict and anger management skills, story writing and others.

A parallel program for parents/guardians examines their roles and responsibilities as well as issues facing their children.

On Sunday, December 2, participants will be commissioned at the 10 am Holy Eucharist service. RISE launches on Saturday, December 8 with an overview of the program, content, expectations, and introduction of participants. The program begins on January 30, 2013, and meets every Wednesday and Saturday until June 30, 2015.


For more information contact Ifill.



The Episcopal Church:




Episcopal Diocese of New York:

St. Andrew’s Church in the Bronx:


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