This summer, our own Ted Curtin, CMO of LMCA and Chief Innovation Officer of ProdigyWorks will lead his 6th team of high-school students on a mission trip to help impoverished families in the Appalachian mountains of western New York state. Each year, RISE (Risingville Intercommunity Service Effort) sends dozens of youths and adult leaders to western New York, to repair and rehabilitate the homes of poor and physically challenged residents of Steuben County.
“Ten years ago, when I first got involved and agreed to lead a team of high schooler students on this incredible mission, I simply thought it was a great way to help others and give back,” said Ted Curtin, “but as meaningful as that experience was, the mentoring that happens and the visible growth that occurs by taking these kids out of their comfort zone, away from their electronic devices, and face to face with a reality that is so different from what they’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with, was as transformative for me as it was for them.”
The RISE program has worked over the course of almost forty years to make the families of New York’s western tier, warmer, safer, and drier, helping to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families in Steuben and Allegany Counties. In 1980, Reverend Dale Forsman and a handful of eager Chatham, New Jersey, teenagers worked to improve a single home, helping to sustain one family in need. From that humble beginning, RISE has blossomed to include teams from dozens of communities on the East coast providing help to families in Appalachia of Western New York.
This past year, RISE reached out to twenty-four families giving assistance over the broad gamut of services they have provided. Roofs were replaced and repaired, wheelchair ramps were built, porches repaired, houses were painted, and skirting was installed around the base of trailers to provide better insulation against the brutal Appalachian winter. Equally important, teams made new friends, learned new skills, gained newfound confidence in themselves and grew in their faith.
What RISE does:
A WEEK-LONG SERVICE PROGRAM OF HOME REPAIRS in Steuben and Allegany Counties, New York. RISE is a volunteer program of outreach and experiential learning for high school-aged youth groups. Churches send multiple teams, each consisting of two adult leaders and 4-6 High school Youth to help families in need repair their homes and improve their living conditions. The only experience needed is a good attitude and a desire to help others. Besides learning new skills and gaining a deep appreciation for what they have themselves, the students will tell you that the experiences they share are often life-changing.