We are pleased to introduce you to RISE, a grassroots, not-for-profit organization that was established in January of 2013 by Shavonne Martinez and LaShea Birds.  Our mission is to use education, mentoring and the creative arts to reach the incarcerated, the recently released and the community in an effort to strengthen families and break the cycle of a destructive lifestyle.

With over 15 years of combined experience working with incarcerated males, we noticed that there are specific themes leading up to their involvement in the legal system.  The majority of the men come from communities where the value of education, the importance of family and the need for self-respect and respect for others is not emphasized.  Over and over again, we have heard stories of hardship because of poor education, poverty, drug use, drug dealing and lack of parental guidance.  We knew that if something didn’t change with these men while they were incarcerated, then nothing would change with them once they were released.  Thus the cycle of a destructive lifestyle would continue for themselves, their families and our communities.  

Years ago, we started brainstorming effective ways we could educate these men about a healthier, more productive way of living.  Out of their testimonies, we realized that the education could not stop there.  It is imperative that they and their families receive support, encouragement and resources which are essential to long term lifestyle change. That’s where you can help! 

We are in the beginning stages of development and we need your endorsement in order to reach a broader audience. Your financial donation will be utilized to purchase educational resources, office equipment and supplies as well as advertising and marketing material.  Our goal is to acquire sufficient funds from supporters to strengthen the foundation of RISE and ensure its’ future success.  

We graciously accept any assistance you can offer and we thank you in advance for your support.  Your donation will be acknowledged with a letter of thanks; you will be listed on our website as a RISE supporter (with your permission) and your tax-deductible donation serves as an excellent way to give back to the community.  For your convenience, use the donate button below or send checks/money orders payable to RISE, PO Box 40372, North Charleston, SC 29423-0372.  

Thank you for your time and consideration,

LaShea Birds and Shavonne Martinez, Co-founders