California Endowment Awards $249,214 to RYSE Center in Richmond

The California Endowment has announced that it has awarded a two­ year grant to the RYSE Center in Richmond.  The grant, totaling $249,214, comes at a time when RYSE organizers are completing plans to create a positive space for young people in West Contra Costa County.
“This youth ­driven, multi-­sector collaboration is poised to help Richmond and West Contra Costa County confront its challenges and create a healthy, safe and vibrant city,” said Diane Aranda, program officer for The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation.
The RYSE Center will serve as a hub where West Contra Costa County youth to gather and work together to develop leadership skills, promote peace and multi­racial unity, and participate in a range of  programs including tutoring and career support, health services and health education, media arts, performance arts, recreation and community building.
“We want RYSE to be a place for young folks can come learn about themselves and about other people’s struggles,” said RYSE Youth Leadership Team member Greg Ollano. “By understanding what others have gone through, we can learn to create change in the community.”
This youth­ initiated effort is a collaboration of community, city, county, and school district representatives and agencies. Fueled in large part by a growing number of supporters excited about the multi-­sector and youth ­driven approach to community health and violence prevention, the RYSE Center will encourage young people to participate in every aspect of  planning, and share leadership and decision ­making with adults.
Scheduled to open this fall, the RYSE Center is located in a 6600 square foot county ­owned facility at 41 st and Bissell Streets. The vision of  RYSE was one born out of a tragedy of  lethal gun violence, and dates back to December 2000, when f our high school youth from Richmond were tragically killed. These deaths left students shocked but committed to changing the conditions in their community.
“The RYSE Center is unique,” said Supervisor John Gioia, who spearheaded planning efforts with Youth Together. “It’s the only effort in West Contra Costa County that not only encourages participation from our community’s youth, but considers them as important partners in the planning and development of the Center every step of the way.