A Note From RISE Co-Founder & CEO Veronica Crespin-Palmer
To Our RISE Community,
We are living through trying times. In the last month alone, the news cycle has been nonstop, and communities around the globe — and Aurora is no exception — have had to adjust to a new normal. I'm writing to tell you how we've shifted our work at RISE to continue supporting families, and to keep the movement for educational equity alive and well.
Our team is working harder than ever to support the health and well-being of families in our community most impacted by COVID-19. We've taken a number of steps to prioritize our families' needs right now. Those steps and resources are outlined below. Please feel free to share these resources far and wide! We hope they will be helpful to you and your communities as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.
1. We have published the RISE Colorado Aurora Resource Guide with 50 pages worth of information on everything from food, to online learning and homeschooling, to legal counsel. This is a living and breathing document that we will continue to update as more resources become available. The Resource Guide is currently available in English, but we are working on translating it into other languages. Find more information about this exciting initiative below. Click here for access.
2. Our RISE Organizing Team is conducting needs assessments for every Family Leader in our network. The realities of inequity at every level are starker now than ever. We are reaching out to every Family Leader in our network weekly to find out how we can help, what challenges they’re facing, and what extra support they might need. We are working on creating a report about the needs assessments we've conducted to center and elevate the voices of families most impacted during this challenging time.
3. We are providing mental health support to the RISE team and our RISE families. We want to encourage everyone in our community to take care of themselves, and their mental wellbeing. Living through so much uncertainty can be scary, so we’re prioritizing mental health support for our team, our families, and our community organizers who are on the frontlines during this pandemic.
4. We've takenour organizing coalition meetings and work with APS young men of color online to sustain the previous work and momentum RISE Family and Student Leaders have accomplished in working towards educational equity.
5. RISE is creating jobs!We’re so proud to be able to offer jobs to some RISE Community Navigators in our networks to help us build our capacity with the needs assessments along with interpretation and translation services so we can reach as many families as possible. Community Navigators are being trained to conduct needs assessments, gather stories, and act as liaisons between the RISE team and their multilingual communities. We’re grateful that we’re able to build our capacity and hire additional community leaders during this difficult time to support all of our families and their needs.
We’re incredibly excited about the webinar processes we've developed for our workshops and meetings with Family Leaders so that the hard work behind the Family-Led movement for educational equity can go on. We may be physically distanced, but our community is strong, resilient, and determined to keep the work alive. Please reach out to us with any questions, ideas, or stories you want to share with us — our inboxes are open, and we’re here.
With warmth, love, and gratitude,
Veronica and the RISE Colorado Team
We're so excited to be able to offer this 50 page list of resources around Aurora, the state, and the country at-large. We've included resources for food assistance, homeschooling, exercise, filing taxes, and more. In addition, there is information for immigrant and refugee families, as well as some helpful tips for structuring your student's remote learning experience. We hope this will be a helpful guide not just through the COVID-19 pandemic, but beyond that, as well.
It is our intention to make this a living document. Please send additional resources and information to us at email@example.com. Please note that we are taking every effort to vet resources to ensure the health and safety of families. We appreciate your understanding and patience as our team moves through that process.
Engage With RISE Online!
We'll be highlighting specific resources, sharing our favorite tips, and answering questions on our social media channels to continue supporting Family Leaders and our community. Check out the images below for information about what to expect and when!
This is a confusing time. We know you have questions — and we're here to support! Join us for our first Q+A session on our Instagram and Facebook stories the week of April 27, 2020. RISE Community Organizer Saba Teklu is ready to answer your questions about how to best navigate through this difficult time and share some great resources for you and your family.
Here's how to send us questions:
Option 1: Via DM, send us your questions to any of our social media channels.
Option 2: Send us your questions on Twitter using hashtag #RISEQandA.
Finally, we want to send an enormous thank you to the many community members, thought partners, and funders who have reached out to support Family Leaders and see how they can help. The Family-Led movement for educational equity isn't possible without the support of our incredible community, and on behalf of everyone from RISE, thank you.
We will be sharing much more with you in the coming weeks about how we're adapting our work to the current environment. Keep an eye out for our regular On The RISE newsletter later this month, as well as other communications from the RISE team.
While we expect to run into bumps along the way during this uncertain time, we're grateful to be part of such a strong, resilient, and powerful educational equity movement led by families — a movement too strong to let social distancing keep it from moving forward!