Rise & Shine 2021 Begins!

The 2021 Rise & Shine Parent Leadership Program launched online in early February, beginning with a focus on community building using restorative justice circles. In our first weeks, we built our connection and relationships, centered our values, developed a community agreement, shared self-care strategies and established our “buddy system” of peer support. 

This year, all of our guest presenter workshops will be co-facilitated by a parent advocate, organizer or leader impacted by the child welfare system. Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R, PhD, professor at the Silberman School of Social Work and Imani Worthy, Rise Parent Leader, kicked off the series by co-facilitating a workshop on February 11th on “Moving from Trauma to Centers of Power.” 

The 2021 theme of Rise & Shine will again be “Building Parents’ Power to Create Safe and Strong Communities” — a theme that remains central to Rise’s work across all projects. 

Rise & Shine Praise Poems

Based on a West African tradition, praise poems are written by community members as a way to acknowledge the “light” or value in each other. Praise poems are created so that each community member — regardless of their status — is celebrated for who they are, the gifts they offer and the journey they are on. 

We developed praise poems in Rise & Shine as part of our relationship- and community-building workshops at the start of the program. 

I am Zoraida 
Child of perseverance 
Grandchild of mother earth
I am like the sun and the moon
Illuminating my path
People see me as a strong and determined lion
I see myself as a rising phoenix
I am on a journey of truth, love and peace
— Zoraida Ramirez

I am Shatavia
Child of Khadijah
Grandchild of Beverly
I am like a tree, very strong and continuously growing.
People see me as a bridge to connect them to higher heights
I see myself as a bird flying free and limitless
My journey has been an interesting one and the best is yet to come!
— Shatavia Hurt

I am Michelle
Child of Maria
Grandchild of the world 
My physical description of myself that I find in nature is a lioness
People see me as a strong woman and a warrior 
I see myself as powerful and phenomenal and outgoing and outspoken 
The journey I’m on is to motivate people to speak their story as well to continue to be a great mother and continue to build my confidence
— Michelle Vazquez

I am Tasha
Child of Asia and Charles
But also of god
I am like a rose mid-bloom
Beautiful but still room to grow and bloom
People see me as a quiet, calm person
Most would say the underdog
But me — I see my strength
My passion, the fight in me
The journey I’m on is one of 
Hope, peace, rebuilding and discovery
— Letasha Betancourt

I am Lindsay, a survivor and nurturer
Child of Michael and Darka
Grandchild of the Goddess Mother Earth; of poetry and activism
I am water; smooth and refreshing, smashing, protesting against the cold shoreline 
Slowly eroding callous practices 
I am flexible, spontaneous 
People see me as determined and supportive, some see me as self-absorbed  & aggressive 
I see myself as a creative and resilient warrior
I am on a journey to make a better life for my family and myself, to break generational curses, and to speak health, both physical and mental, unto us all
To live as Emily Dickinson wrote:
“If I save one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain.”
— Lindsay Wright

I am Danisha
I am worthy and generous
Child of Nadine Thompson
Grandchild of Delroy Thompson
I am like rainbow — cause after a stormy season there comes rainbow.
I find plants beautiful in nature
People see me as independent and outgoing
I see myself as joyful and unique
I am on the journey of finding who I am and starting to work on my career to provide more for my family.
— Danisha Darby

Photos of Community-Building Activities

Leadership Qualities

Scavenger Hunt and Power Stance

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