Project RISE began when a group of Family Matters teens spoke out about the difficulties that they and their peers encountered in finding after-school jobs. What started as a summer internship initiative has expanded into a year-round program for teens ages 13 through 18 to build job-readiness skills and to practice those skills through jobs at local businesses while earning a stipend.

Over the course of the academic year, teens build their resumes, practice interview skills, investigate their individual career interests, engage in on-the-job learning at local businesses, and visit a variety of work sites alongside a diverse group of volunteer adult mentors. Throughout the year, youth expand their leadership skills through healing-centered trainings, storytelling projects, and a social justice project. Here are some examples of past projects.

Image of Project RISE participants

We offer mentorship as part of the Project RISE program, with volunteer adult mentors meeting with teens during after-school hours to build relationships and offer academic, college/career, and personal guidance. Mentors participate in mock interviews with youth, go on field trips, join in  game nights, and spend time with the youth in ways that are meaningful for all involved.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in Project RISE or if you would like to learn more about being a volunteer mentor, please contact Chris Spence at chris(at)familymatterschicago(dot)org or by phone at 773.465.6011 x1111.