Category: News

RISE in the Summer!

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to News, RISE

For the first time, students in the RISE after school program have the opportunity to participate in programming during the summer, thanks to a grant from the Metro Development and Housing Authority (MDHA). On Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout June and July, students at the Stonebrook RISE location participate in a variety of math and reading activities to keep them from the dreaded “summer slide,” in which students forget part of what they have learned over the school year. They have also had the opportunity to participate in several field trips. The students have gone to the Edmondson Pike Library, where they observed a series of entertaining science experiments and then checked out books of their choosing. They also have gone to the Wedgewood Community Garden to learn about eating healthy fruits and vegetables and harvest some of the Nashville Food Project’s tomatoes and okra! This summer, the program has a concentrated focus on health and wellness, so these outings really drive home in an experiential way the importance of eating well.

CRIT is also partnering with the Frist to create works of art around the idea of shared culture, under the title, “Exquisite Nashville.” Our students have already created two art pieces, with two more to go! Our teaching artist is Sisavanh Houghton, who also teaches at MTSU.

Thanks to MDHA, Nashville Food Project, the Frist, Second Harvest, and the Church of the Redeemer for making this all possible!




Spring Showcase - An Enormous Success!

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to News, RISE

At the end of each programming year, Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) holds the Amazing Race and Showcase to bring all the students together who have participated in the NAZA after school programs across Nashville. RISE has 4 sites that participated in this year’s Showcase. They all took part in the Field Day activities at Glencliff High School and showed off their art from their enhancement activities throughout the year. One site, Stonebrook, did a performance - they sang a song that they wrote with the help of an artist from the YMCA’s artEMBRACE. Another site, Haywood, won the Banner contest (see below). Mayor Karl Dean welcomed the students and handed out awards, including to two of our site coordinators, who completed the training module for Nashville’s Youth Coalition.

Thanks to all our site coordinators and volunteers for helping to make this such a great day for our students, and to all the staff of NAZA for planning such a wonderful event!


Stonebrook Students.

Millwood Students

Stonebrook’s Mural

Haywood’s winning Banner.


CRIT Benefit at the Basement March 20, 8 p.m.

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to Events, Uncategorized

Join us on Thursday, March 20th at 8 p.m. at the Basement to see Anthony Adams & the Nite Owls, Brittany Kennell, The Beagles, Lewis, and Lauren Adelle perform at On the Stage Nashville. You will hear some of the best voices in town for only $5 AND the proceeds from the event will benefit CRIT! The proceeds will directly support our Ride to Learn campaign, in which we are asking for your donations to help us purchase a van to transport our refugee and immigrant students who lack transportation but are dedicated students in our elders, agricultural, and afterschool programs. Check out Lauren Adelle singing below and we’ll see you on Thursday!

Ready to Change the World, One Book at a Time

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to News, RISE

The year so far with the students at the CRIT-RISE-Haywood program has been a joy, complete with many surprises. It has been my pleasure to see them grow. Each time they shock me with courage and talent that none of us knew existed. We began 2014 with the Hip Hop Enhancement. Many of the students thought they were familiar with this style of dance, but soon found out it was harder than it looked. That didn’t stop any of them.  The students learned a routine and really had fun doing it. Some of them were naturals, others not so much, but the real treat was the dedication it took to learn the routine and to see them rise to the occasion. The next fabulous Enhancement was Songwriting. The students came up with a fantastic, heart-felt song with the aid of Mr. Bobby. Now if only I can get them to sing it at the Spring Showcase.  Oh, and I forgot mention that one of the quieter students has a solo rap. Keep your fingers crossed.

We were able to squeeze in a field trip on the weekend. Some of the students had expressed their desire to go to the downtown library and check out books and movies. This was such a treat for us. The weather was fantastic and the students are all so good.  One student spent the entire visit time trying to convince me to change the number of check outs they could take home with them that day. She may become a lawyer, who knows!

All of the boys plunged into Fashion Design, even though they had already determined that this was not the enhancement for them.  To our surprise, there is that word again, the boys created some pretty neat things to wear. Maybe not to your surprise, the girls were all geared up and ready to make their fashion statements come alive in their very own article of clothing that they designed and created.  This Enhancement really got them going, and they became very detailed oriented and did not want to put the project down.

RISE is not all about having great Enhancements -  it is also about helping our refugee and immigrant population have a support system during these critical years of schooling. The students have come to know that when they step through the doors, they will be expected to expand and not leave the same way they came in. They love to read books, together and alone. It is great to see the community that they have formed. The students feel safe and are free to try new things and not be criticized for making a mistake. I love to hear when they are doing better in school or want to share something that they have done or learned that week or day. We have been working on comprehension and their ability to retell a source text in their own words. They are gaining more confidence in their ability to read information and retell that information. Soon they will begin to understand that it is from this point of mastery that opinions can be formed. I asked one student, “Why did I pick this book?” The student replied back in a sarcastic tone, “Because you want us to change the world.” I wanted to burst out in laughter: I guess they have heard me say it so much, they may be tired of hearing it. But I’m not going to stop. These kids can change the world.



Stonebrook RISE: Working to Achieve Our Dreams!

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to News, RISE

We have been doing lots of exciting activities at Stonebrook this Winter! We had our Fall Showcase in December. RISE students showed their artwork, and performed dance routines and songs they had written for their families and teachers, not to mention they cooked for everyone!

It was great to start a new chapter for RISE in January. This semester we have been very focused on academic activities and games, primarily focusing on basic math and reading skills since so many of the students have been living in the US for a year or less. Here are some of the activities we’ve been doing so far!

At the beginning of the semester, we took a field trip to see the Nashville Predators play hockey downtown.

We created a “Word Wall” where students bring in daily vocabulary words and write the definitions at the front of the classroom.

Our Science teacher just led a class last week where the students planted Snow Pea plants and we are eagerly waiting for them to sprout!

RISE students enjoy a Nashville Predators game! 

Ms. Tiffany accompanies RISE students to a dance clinic.

Mural Painting

For our art enhancements this semester, we have already had Theatre, Hip Hop Dance, Songwriting and are just beginning Mural Painting. In Theatre, the students learned about what it means to be a stage actor and learned lots of fun improv games that take a lot of imagination. In Songwriting, the students worked together to write a song about achieving your dreams. Several students participated in a dance clinic sponsored by Move and Grooves; they loved the chance to do more hip hop!

Many thanks to the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Moves and Grooves, and the Predators FoundationRISE Enhancements are funded in part by the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.

Just Enough Cooks in the Kitchen

Posted by Grant Yoder to Elders, News

Last week the Elders took a break from class to give back, and have a little fun. After speaking with the good people at the Nashville Food Project, they agreed to take us on, and put us to work in the kitchen. For those of you who don’t know, the Nashville Food Project is a nonprofit that provides nutritious, hot meals for those who may not have access. When the elders arrived at the office there was little time to stand on ceremony, as the evening meal had to be prepared.  There was a crew of 11 elders and two interpreters, and it was all hands on deck to get everything prepared.  Meat was cut, lettuce was shredded, onions were chopped, and cheese was grated, all under the watchful eye of the wonderful kitchen manager Sarah.  Along the way, some of the elders got to show off their ever improving English skills, and everyone learned a little Nepali and Karen kitchen lingo. After all the prep work was done, the elders got to take a tour of the facility, and learn about the great work they are doing.  Then, on the way out the door the elders got to take home a little reward for all their hard work, in the form of some bread.  In all, this was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and hope to volunteer again very soon!

The salad assembly team.


Tanka says “That’s enough cheese.”

Padam is all business.

  Doing work on the cutting board.

     Go Team Elders!!!!

Giving It Back

Posted by Ram Chamlagai to Integration, News

I still remember the day when I landed my feet at Nashville International Airport in 2008. The first thing I saw after getting to the baggage claim, were some American caseworkers from World Relief holding some beautiful flowers in their hands, to welcome me and my family to Nashville.

Though it was an entirely different world for me, it didn’t trouble me to get along in this new environment.  That was, in large part, because of the hard work and effort that organization gave.

The help I received from my caseworkers was very important and precious to my ability to become self-sufficient. My job at CRIT helps me to give that same assistance in return to the people who are in need today. I know firsthand how it feels when you have no clue how to fit into a new place, but excellent service providers like CRIT are here to help newcomers and make the transition as easy as possible.

To Your Stations!

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to News, RISE

Apollo Middle School students have been very busy! Whenever I enter the school, there is fun, all-school activity happening!. My R.I.S.E. students have had a lot of energy and are eager to get together as a group after school.

This semester, we have a new schedule that includes sharing our week between the computer lab and the art room.  In the computer lab we focus on academic computer websites, such as ones that have fun English learning games and others that have fun ways to learn math.  The students really love the pirate game that quizzes them on multiplication tables so their character can run across the boat and make its way to the crow’s nest!

In the art room, we have been doing station rotations.  Each station has a different academic component to it. For example, one station is ‘egg shell math’: there are two pennies inside of an empty egg carton and each egg cup has a number written on it. Shake the egg carton, open it up, and where the pennies land, you multiply. This is a great way for some fun, light-hearted competition while learning multiplication tables! As you can see, multiplication tables are something we focus on! Its important to lock down that basic math foundation because it makes the rest of math a breeze. Besides our math activities, we have science trivia, a small library of books, and a homework station for those with homework.  Next week we are going to focus on literacy more by  incorporating the book library and allowing the students to create their own reading timelines!

Become a Refugee Career Ambassador

Posted by Tiffany Hodge to Employment, News, Opportunities, Volunteer

At the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee, we see refugee clients with a range of diverse professional backgrounds. Prior to their arrival in Nashville, some of our clients worked in grocery stores or gas stations; some were doctors and lawyers; and some never had the opportunity to work.

Once refugee families arrive in Nashville, one of their most pressing goals is to secure employment as quickly as possible. At the Center, we work with clients to help them identify employment opportunities and to apply. Of course, our clients face a unique set of additional challenges that many job seekers do not, including varying English-speaking abilities, limited knowledge of computer usage, and lack of transportation.

Our staff and our team of dedicated volunteer Career Ambassadors work with our clients to overcome these issues and help secure their future in their new city. We are always on the lookout for community volunteers who are interested in working with our clients in this capacity. Career Ambassadors are paired with employment-seeking refugees to help them in their search. With staff support, they are responsible for making sure the client’s resume is up-to-date and for finding employment opportunities and applying.

To learn more about our employment services department, please visit this page. To learn about how to become a volunteer at the Center, please contact Marie Bush at [email protected].

Diggin’ In

Posted by Lauren Bailey to Agricultural Programs, News

Our Agricutlural Training class is off to a great start! With a room full of enthusiastic and curious students and our passionate guest  teachers, we’ve covered a lot of material in our first six weeks together.

Most recently, Nashville Foodscapes’, Jeremy Lekich and Chris Childs came to share with our students about composting and cover cropping. Students learned the basics of three different kinds of composting operations: vermicomposting, small scale composting and large-scale composting. They got to see up close what a vermicompost system looked and felt like, and then, they got the chance to work in some compost using a broadfork. All new experiences for many of our students!