Co-Founders of RiSE with their children.

Co-Founders of RiSE with their children.

1. Can you give us a back-story about your organization? How you started it and how you came up with the name.

My husband and I started RiSE Scholarship Inc. in 2010 after struggling to help our children who have learning differences.  With over 2 million students today in schools that have learning differences, we wondered how it could continue to be so difficult to navigate the schools, doctors, reading programs, alternative medicine, diets and so forth. The process left us with a desire to hear from everyday students and their families of what worked for them.

We felt compelled to promote awareness through rewarding and highlighting inspirational and insightful stories of students that were heading to college in spite of having a LD. What we have learned is these kids know themselves, what they need to do well and they are truly amazingly prepared, resilient, and talented in so many areas. It has been an amazing opportunity for us to share in their journey.

We chose the name RiSE because it stands for Rewarding Individual Success through Education.

2. Can you give us a story of a student that your organization has
helped so far

is a student who comes to mind. He is from Los Angeles, California and was a 2013 RiSE Scholarship Inc. Award recipient. He is now in college and has a very specific goal, to become a USMC Aviator. We all at RiSE are so impressed with his persistence and professionalism.

For this article I asked him an update, he writes “ College has been amazing. My endeavors and goals are meaningless without my hallmark of giving back to youth so I have been working with local youth through the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps.”   He continues, “My quest and desire to become a United States Marine Corps Aviator is still present.  My dream has been truly been helped by the RiSE Scholarship and I greatly thank you.”

RiSE has helped over 35 students attend college by the RiSE Scholarships Awards. The students have come from Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia,  Florida and throughout the US. All the applicants are high school seniors and have a different diagnosis, however, they are all connected by the fact that they have overcome their adversity and are all headed to college


3. When I was applying for college it was so overwhelming to put into so
many scholarships that I wanted to give up. I didn’t know what was what.
What advice would you give kids in today’s world about applying for

If possible, I would start in the junior year making a calendar of what is available for you and the dates that they are due. The first place I would start is at school by asking your college counselor for suitable recommendations based on your state and the schools you are applying and then take a look in the school library for the Kaplan’s Book of Scholarships, which is a great resource.

The second place is to look online for sites that walk you through what may be the best options for you. They will give you a lot of questions that will narrow the options for you.

Be careful never to pay for information and do not give your social security number to sites to find scholarships.

Here are a few that are helpful:


4. What’s are your future goals with the organization?

We are enjoying RiSE growing organically, meaning letting grow where we are led as long as it stays within our mission. An example of our growth was last year when we were able to add a branch to RiSE for students with Autism due to the overwhelming amounts of requests from students with ASD.

We also are active in raising awareness for learning disabilities through participating in various projects in the LD community. Last year, RiSE was an Executive Producer for an educational film on dyslexia, Embracing Dyslexia, which was made by filmmaker and father of a dyslexic child, Louis Mucias.  The best part of being a part of it for RiSE was that the film is free online, so anyone can watch and become more informed.
5.What lessons took you the longest to learn in life?

Personally and in regards to RiSE, a lesson that resonates with me is that Everything does not have to be bigger to be better! Sometimes we can get so wrapped up with the growth of a job, a company, and life that it takes the joy out of it because you are constantly busy. Being more selective and aware of the things I give my time and energy is helpful, but I am still a work in progress!

See article by clicking here: Kokoa Magazine