RISE of the High Country

For almost one-third (32.1%) of Watauga County residents poverty is a daily reality. RISE, a NETworX initiative of Hospitality House, equips people who are struggling financially with access to the opportunities, education, and relationships they need to become self-sufficient.

RISE training brings together about a dozen individuals or families- called RISE Leaders- who are motivated to improve their lives. They attend 12-16 weekly training sessions, where they learn what it takes to get ahead, set goals, and develop plans for achieving those goals. After that, they are matched with volunteers-called Mentors- who offer friendship and understanding, and who point them to contacts and resources that can help them build the future they want for themselves and their families. Ongoing meetings provide support and in-depth information on topics RISE Leaders identify as important to them, such as financial planning, job training, interview skills, how to find safe and affordable housing, and access to realistic health care options.

Ecomic success for RISE participants is not the only essential outcome of our work. We want to change perceptions at the community level, reduce barriers encountered by people trying to move out of poverty, create new relationships across racial and economic barriers and create new policy at the local, state and national levels that demonstrably enhances opportunities for citizens to become self-sufficient. RISE of the High Country brings people who have experienced poverty together with those who are dedicated to ending poverty. RISE works with individuals and community volunteers regularly over 18 months to create self-sufficiency. The program consists of four key building blocks: Bridges out of Poverty and "Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World", Mentor Relationships, Weekly Resource Meetings, and Big View participation.

For more information please call 828-264-1237 or email RISE Coordinator Harley Atkins

Ultimately, RISE participants will:

  • Reach self-sufficiency or be markedly closer to that goal

  • Learn to set specific, measurable short-term goals which will guide them towards their long-term goals

  • Build relationships and social capital across social and economic lines to develop strong personal and professional networks

  • Learn how to find, obtain, and maintain employment or return to school to improve their chances of living-wage employment in the future.

  • Actively participate in identifying and changing barriers in the local community that keep people in the cycle of poverty

Relationships Intended for

Self-Sufficiency and Empowerment