WHDC ARISE! 2020 – History In The Making

West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC) congratulates participants of its revised 2020 ARISE! (All Rising In Strengthening Excellence) youth development program. More than 100 West Harlem youth completed the virtual program this summer. We made history! It is a testament to the resilience of Harlem youth to quickly adjust to the virtual ARISE! program and still finish strong.  

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, WHDC ran a modified ARISE! for the summer from July 6, 2020 through August 14, 2020 on a virtual platform. WHDC was not willing to sacrifice the 2020 ARISE! program as it has become an essential part of the high school experience for many West Harlem youth. Participants were incentivized to realize the most benefit from ARISE!. For the six weeks, they received a maximum stipend of $1,500 for successful completion of all expectations.  

Now in its fourth year, ARISE! has distinguished itself among the landscape of youth development programs in NYC in that it incorporates two essential elements: employment and education. Work experience gained from employment at a diverse group of worksites allows participants on-the-job training and mentorship. Education enrichment aims to address the “summer slide” that affects some students after the school year ends.  

The ARISE program did so much for me. I am a very shy person, but I was given a platform to speak out. PUMP allowed me to learn from both the mentors and the students in my group. I was able to speak out and break out of my shell. There’s no way I could thank this program for what it’s done for me.” Yja, 12th grade

COVID-19 forced WHDC to pause the employment activities of ARISE!; however, partners like PopUpMentorship (PUMP) and Local Civics allowed youth participants a comprehensive summer experience that encompassed academic enrichment, civic participation, and mentorship to better prepare them for the 2020/2021 academic year. WHDC’s goal is to help students learn, review, and possibly be ahead of material that may have been affected by the disruptions in the 2020 school calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Here’s to a successful school year for our ARISE! students. For a more detailed summary of activities, see the 2020 ARISE! Program Report Summary. Check out highlights below from the virtual 2020 ARISE! closing ceremony. We hope to see you next summer!

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