For the second time, Nebraska Probation’s Rural Improvement for Schooling and Employment (RISE) program has been recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative AmeriCorps programs.
The 2014 edition of “Transforming Communities Through Service: A Collection of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps State and Volunteer Generation Fund Programs in the Unites States” highlights the 28 most innovative AmeriCorps programs across the country, including the RISE program. The program had previously been featured in 2010.
RISE is an AmeriCorps program launched in 2007 by Nebraska Probation to increase support services and educational opportunities for probationers in rural communities. Staffed by AmeriCorps service volunteers covering 26 counties across Nebraska, the program aims to increases community safety by reducing the chances that an individual on probation will have their probation revoked or reoffend again in the future.
According to State Probation Administrator Ellen Fabian Brokofsky, “The RISE Program's success must be attributed to the strong leadership of Kari Rumbaugh, Probation's Deputy Interstate Compact Administrator, Chief Probation Officers, and the dedicated AmeriCorps staff members working in probation offices across this state.” She added, “By building partnerships with local schools and employers and providing skill development as well as individualized mentoring, these dedicated professionals improve the chances that juveniles and adults on probation will not only complete probation successfully but will improve the likelihood of living crime-free productive lives.”
Because an individual’s ability to successfully complete their court-ordered probation sentence is greatly improved when attention is given to their educational needs and when they are employed, the RISE program focuses on providing supportive services in the areas of education and employment, as well as budgeting, organizational skills, and positive motivation. The RISE program, its service members, and community volunteers have provided these services to over 6,700 probationers across Nebraska.
The program is facilitated to adult and juvenile probationers in a group setting, with one-on-one sessions available as necessary. RISE Program Specialists work with a unique curriculum targeted for specific educational and employment skills with different tracks to fit the individual probationer.
The publication highlights three components to the RISE program’s success as: AmeriCorps staff members dedicated to serving their communities through service, administrative support and district buy-in to the programs goals, and a research-based curriculum directed by Evidence-Based Practices.
Nebraska’s program is nationally recognized with a non-recidivism rate of over 70%, of which RISE graduates did not reoffend or have their probation revoked within one year of their RISE graduation date.
Read about the RISE program on page 19 of Transforming Communities Through Service: A Collection of the Most Innovative AmeriCorps State and Volunteer Generation Fund Programs in the Unites States