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Teaching The Next Generation the Fundamentals of Success

We talk a lot in our society about how we should always increase the well-being of the next generation and that our youth are the future that will further advance humankind. However, this is unfortunately a classic case of “easier said than done.” According to Education Next, there are 20-30 percent fewer people going into teaching each year than there were a decade ago, causing many communities to struggle to prepare their youth for the world that they will one day inherit.

In our Reaching Independence through Support and Education (RISE) program, we educate members on financial literacy, building social capital, the importance of improving their mental and physical health, and so much more. While some may consider this common knowledge, it is one of many things that are easy to take for granted. Many people, especially those from underserved communities, did not have the luxury of being taught or exposed to such topics at a young age and therefore learn these tools for success later in life.

One of our RISE cohorts learning the fundamentals of improving their quality of life

While these skills are definitely critical to improving their lives, many people wish that they had learned these skills much earlier in life. While we learn many different things during the traditional public school experience, the effect that public school education has on improving financial, physical, and emotional health is very limited. Thankfully, we address this disparity through our RISE Kids program.

Our RISE Kids program focuses on teaching many of the same topics that are taught in our RISE program for adults, but in a simpler and more engaging manner. These lessons can range from the concepts of saving money and budgeting to addressing early mental health development by teaching children constructive ways to express their emotions and how to communicate with others.

We not only create much of this original material but also work with a myriad of other organizations like Junior Achievement USA and the Springfield-Greene County Library District to provide well-rounded lesson plans that are both informative and enjoyable.

Students in RISE Kids not only get to experience the core curriculum of the program but also get to hear from a number of guest speakers with a variety of expertise. These guest speakers help to further make the program more engaging for the students as well as to provide more fascinating and memorable lessons. Guest speakers such as musicians and performers also give students inspiration to pursue a new skill or career.

While RISE Kids began as a childcare program for parents who were attending RISE adult classes, it has since become it’s own fully-fledged youth development program. Teaching the key factors of success at an early age can properly prepare the youth in our community for what the world will have in store for them in the future. Helping them build this foundation so early in their lives increases their likelihood of success and helps them become much more self-sufficient and resilient as adults.

If you would like to contribute to or be a part of RISE Kids, email zack@drewlewis.org. Together, we can impact and improve the lives of the next generation and beyond—not just because they are the future, but because it is the right thing to do.

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Aldeman, Chad, et al. “Why Are Fewer People Becoming Teachers?” Education Next, 23 Sept. 2022, https://www.educationnext.org/why-are-fewer-people-becoming-teachers/.

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