Real Men Real Heroes (RMRH), a youth mentoring organization working with at-risk boys, and Rise Up For Youth Inc. (RU4Y), a USD 259 high school mentoring program, today announced their new partnership to provide a support pipeline for youth in the Wichita community.
The middle schools RMRH serve in the district feed directly into the six high schools that RU4Y serves in Sedgwick County. Under this new partnership, eighth-graders will graduate from the RMRH organization and continue building on the mentoring foundation through programming opportunities with RU4Y.
“It’s helpful to have this pipeline model because we can start to cultivate those relationships with the youth in RMRH at that eighth grade and leverage our resources to strengthen both programs and provide greater opportunities for the youth,” said Dr. Shareika Fisher, Executive Director of RU4Y.
While the pipeline will improve retention, The two organizations also created a sibling referral program to assist in the recruitment efforts of each group.
“These models provide a structure that is simple for the boys and their parents,” said Kyle Ellison, Executive Director for RMRH. “We want to build some foundation for the youth, and teach them about social skills, and having internal confidence so that by the time they enter RU4Y, they have a better sense of self.”
Over the years, RU4Y and RMRH have established great rapport in the community and intend to remain separate entities to continue their great individual work while collaborating on potential projects.
RU4Y, founded in 2014, has seen tremendous growth and increased demand by students seeking their brotherhood and sisterhood programs. Students at North, East, Southeast, West, and Northwest high schools meet regularly with RU4Y staff to discuss various topics such as responsibility, attitude, and work ethic and hear from outside speakers. Additionally, students participate in college tours at area colleges, since many of their youth do not know anyone who has gone to college.
RMRH, founded in 2006, connects Wichita students to community leaders known as “Heroes.” Mentors assist students through their extensive weekly mentoring. By providing a safe and nurturing learning environment, they encourage the development of positive character traits, increased self-respect, and academic achievement.
“ We hope our partnership can be an example for the community in itself about working together. Hopefully, other organizations will see there is alignment and not so much working in silos,” said Ellison.
The two organizations recently partnered on a paintball event, where the boys learned about physical wellness and how the paintball field can be a great avenue for stress relief.
RMRH and RU4Y plan to collaborate on additional programs such as career readiness and financial literacy programming as opportunities arise throughout their partnership.