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Hartford Nonprofit Offers Opportunity To Local Youth

by Jhansi Katechia | Aug 5, 2014 12:00pm
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Posted to: Nonprofits, Hartford

Contributed photo

RiseUP, a non-profit organization aimed at helping Hartford’s youth, and CareCentrix, a home health care provider, teamed up last month to help students learn about career opportunities.

It’s just one of the many partnerships RiseUp created with local businesses to provide opportunities for urban youth.

RiseUP was founded in 2012 by a group of University of Connecticut alumni. It gives students access to educational workshops, career development, professional networks, and potential scholarship opportunities.

RiseUP CEO Matt Conway said his eyes were opened to the lack of opportunities given to urban youth after running a summer program at Weaver High School in Hartford.

“I made it a mission to do everything I could to open up the access,” Conway said.

One hundred percent of the students who have started in the RiseUP program have graduated high school, according to Conway. Their students have completed more than 1,500 hours of community service this year alone. Conway said that they currently have seven students enrolled in four-year or two-year colleges.

Dain Leslie, a 20-year-old RiseUP mentor, joined RiseUP in 2012 during his senior year at Weaver High School.

“It changed my life for the better,” Leslie said. “Where I was and where I am now is two different people.” Leslie graduated high school in 2012.

Leslie said that RiseUP taught him incredible life lessons. “Even if you are at the bottom of the bottom, you can still make it,” Leslie said. “RiseUP doesn’t force you to change. It helps you to become a better you.”

The program, called “Career Access Day,” matched 25 students with CareCentrix employees to help them gain an inside perspective on the home health industry, learn about career opportunities, and network with CareCentrix employees.

Contributed photo RiseUP chooses students for their program through their partnerships with other youth programs, word of mouth, and partnering with schools that identify students who will be good for the program. The program requires students to fill out an application, but Conway said they haven’t turned anyone away.

“Never before has there been a greater need for young, bright, motivated people to enter the profession of home health,” CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll said.

Last month’s program at the CareCentrix building in Hartford began with CareCentrix’s chief human resource officer giving the students a company and industry overview. Students were then paired with executives from CareCentrix for one-on-one speed mentoring. The students also participated in team building activities and ended their day with a social hour where they were able to network with executives.

“It’s going to help the students prepare for the corporate world, identify what they have to do personally to help develop their skills, and steer them on how to further their education,” Conway said.

Leslie described the event as a great way to learn how to never give up. The students and mentors heard stories from CareCentrix executives about what they had been through to get to where they are now.

“RiseUP gives you the skill you can’t learn in school, like confidence. You can’t learn confidence in school,” Leslie said.

This is one of the many partnerships that RiseUP will have this year. Conway plans to open up this opportunity to other companies and anticipates more programs like this in the future.

In the past,RiseUP has partnered with HAI Group, Inc. an insurance company based in Cheshire. The HAI Group, Inc. donated $5,000 to RiseUP in May to help with scholarships and community service activities in the Hartford community.

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