Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered (RISE) was started in 2011 by Marielle Lovecchio, as part of the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) after school program system. RISE serves 95 students across six sites at McMurray Middle School (two school sites and one community site at Stonebrook Apartments), Antioch Middle School, Apollo Middle School, and Wright Middle School. RISE students receive a meal, homework assistance, and the opportunity to practice their English skills in a small environment. They are also introduced to a number of ‘enhancement’ activities, from physical fitness to the arts, such as soccer, karate, painting, dance, and photography. RISE students are in 5th grade through 8th grade and meet Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered is funded by the the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA), Metro Nashville Community Enhancement Fund, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, and the Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund. RISE also received a CNCS grant in 2014 to have ten AmeriCorps members supporting site coordinators. One to two AmeriCorps Members serve at each RISE site.
Collaboration with the following partners, makes RISE possible: the Mayor’s Office, PENCIL Foundation, YMCA, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Apollo Middle School, McMurray Middle School, Stonebrook Apartments, Wright Middle School, Apollo Middle School, Antioch Middle School, Millwood Manor, The Church of the Redeemer, Belmont United Methodist Church, Adventure Science Center, FEAST Together, Nashville Ballet, Nashville Symphony, YMCA artEMBRACE, teaching artists, Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, Peabody College, Yelp, Story Corps, Nashville Public Television, and Second Harvest.