R.I.S.E (Responsible Indigenous Strategy for Empowerment)

A leadership and development initiative that is a partnership between five inner city Community Associations, MoreSports, ALIVE and the Vancouver Park Board in the recruitment and development of a RISE Team of Indigenous youth.

The RISE program is designed to provide Indigenous youth with training in strategic inclusion approaches, program delivery, facilitation, and evaluation tools.

The RISE Team develops their skills and capacities as community leaders, while working with RISE partner organizations to support Indigenous residents and other excluded members of the community to become meaningfully engaged in their local community centre and neighbourhoods.

Short- term Goals:

  • Increased culturally aware programming
  • Increased leadership development in communities
  • Increased skill and ability of young Indigenous  leaders to be part of  mainstream and be impactful
  • Engage Indigenous youth earlier, and connect them to opportunities in their neighborhood

Intermediate Goals

  • Increased cultural competency and capacity of center and neighborhood organizations and staff to make connections to non-participating groups and individuals and provide support
  • Increased participation of traditionally excluded groups in neighborhood opportunities
  • Ongoing sharing and learning…working differently and with different program models and formats to facilitate genuine engagement and inclusion of excluded populations, and vulnerable people e.g. low income, Indigenous, seniors etc.

Long-term Goals

  • Indigenous leadership is a visible part of every neighborhood in Vancouver
  • Indigenous residents benefit from meaningful engagement and are fully involved in decision-making.

2018-2019 Highlights

  • 15 RISE Leaders have completed a session of RISE, operating in all five community centre partners. Many of these RISE leaders have gone on to take full or part time employment within these centres after their session, and continue to work closely with the RISE initiative and the next generation of RISE leaders.

  • RISE Leaders helped to facilitate and implement three community wide Reconciliation in Action events in the Strathcona, Britannia, and Hastings communities. These events brought together hundreds of community members and service providers to celebrate the diversity and strength of their neighbourhoods.

  • RISE Leaders provided support to the following ongoing community projects: Strathcona Backpack program, World Elders Abuse Awareness Day, Elders Participating in Community Sharing Circles, Brighter Family Futures weekly dinners, Weekly Men’s Drumming Group, Boys and Girls Clubs, MoreSports Basketball initiatives, and many more.

  • The RISE team worked together to develop a cultural workshop for the community centre staff connected to RISE, community members in support of RISE, and for those who have been strong advocates for the RISE program. The team worked together in the planning and facilitation of the event. The day was broken into two sections, a morning part where everyone participated in the Kairos Blanket exercise, and an afternoon part where RISE leaders facilitated a discussion about “what is RISE”, This discussion created a space where leaders could speak to what RISE means to them and why they see it as an important and meaningful way to move forward. The discussion was also opened up to RISE mentors and advocates to speak to how being a part of RISE has impacted them. This discussion was captured through a community illustrator who produced an amazing visualization of the discussion, which can be seen in the above photo. 

  • Moving forward, the RISE team would like to see how we can learn from this event and continue to build on the success that this one brought. The aim is to have RISE leaders be able to facilitate the Blanket Exercise for community centre staff who would like to learn more about Indigenous history.