This strong statement from George Santayana is a testament to why, each year, community members come together to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during Rosedale Development Association’s annual RISE reading program.
RISE, or Reading Inspirational Stories to Empower, is a week-long program that connects Rosedale volunteers with Rosedale children and engages them in stories about the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice issues.
Repeat volunteer, Dahnika Sachs, said, “I was really impressed with the kids and the discussions the story generated. I asked them what they felt like they could do to improve their school and community, and I was really impressed with their responses.”
To prepare the volunteers to discuss these complex issues, RDA hosted a volunteer orientation. Guest speakers LaMonica Upton, Neighborhood Liaison with Livable Neighborhoods, and Marcy Clay, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools for Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, spoke about preparing Wyandotte County’s youth to be good citizens and how to shape a positive discussion about the stories.
The RISE program occurred during the week of January 19-22. During this week our community volunteers read to 25 classrooms at local Rosedale schools, including Frank Rushton Elementary, T.A. Edison Elementary, Noble Prentis Elementary, and Holy Name Catholic School. This year we were pleased to include books also focusing on contemporary social justice issues, including hunger, poverty, and class dynamics.