ARISE Homelessness Prevention
Dr. Carl Cohen’s model of homelessness suggests that a number of risk factors accumulate over time to create homelessness. These factors include age, race, extremely low income (current and lifetime), disruptive events in youth, such as the death of a parent, prior imprisonment, chemical abuse, psychiatric disorders, victimization, poor social support, and prior history of homelessness. Many of these risk factors may occur during youth. Victimization, disruptive events, chemical abuse, poor social support, and prior homelessness, imprisonment are all experiences that youth may have increasing their risk of ending up on the streets. ARISE can help reduce these risk factors by being incorporated into homeless prevention programs.
Experience suggests that runaways or homeless youth are not likely to receive necessary life skills lessons they require to build their self esteem, manage anger, understand the importance of education and need for personal hygiene, etc. Too often the majority of homeless children are severely lacking in the priceless everyday information that adds value to life. The mission of ARISE is to introduce valuable life skills to youth enabling them to achieve their highest potential through training and education. ARISE is a homelessness prevention tool for youth that attacks this problem in multiple ways.
First, ARISE has developed life-skill curricula with over 260 practical life-skill lessons, such as anger and conflict management, the importance of a staying in school, finding and keeping a job, self-esteem, healthy living and more. These lessons contain vital information youth need to make healthy choices in their lives. Armed with this practical knowledge, youth will be better able stay off the streets as they become adults. Youth will learn how to find legitimate employment and how to resist drugs, guns, and conflict, how to survive victimization, avoid gang involvement, and increase social connections with others. Each lesson contains all the needed background information on the topic as well as multiple engaging, interactive activities.
Obviously it is important to help youth as early as possible. ARISE has a number of materials available to reach youth of all ages. The curricula have been specifically designed to be age appropriate. ARISE has many different materials available for pre-K, K-grade 1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5, middle school, and teen/young adult. It is never too early or too late to help keep these kids off the street in the future. The reading involved is easy and each hour-long group session is self contained.
ARISE not only provides valuable life-skill lessons, but we train instructors to effectively teach the material. ARISE provides staff training for those working directly with at-risk youth in various settings (churches, Salvation Army, shelters, etc.). ARISE offers on-site instruction to the staff in how to use the ARISE curriculum and unique instructional ARISE formula in order to receive the maximum benefits from the curriculum. The two-day intensive (14 hours) Life-Skills Instructor Training will instruct your staff on how to use the ARISE curriculum to the fullest. Among other things, trainees will learn how to manage difficult students, effectively run group activities, and successfully lead group discussions and brainstorming.
The ARISE groups resulting from the combination of ARISE lessons and certified instructors provides the most powerful prevention to homelessness. It is within these groups with the facilitation of the instructor that the magic happens. Not only are the youth exposed to fundamental information in an interesting and interactive way, but they also get to bond with instructors and youth in the group. The groups create the social support these youth need to stay off the streets in the future. Youth are given the opportunity to share their feelings and experiences, as well as learn from their peers. The groups form a connection of caring and respect. The youth feel valued, understood, and listened to in ways that are often lacking at school and at home. They are given the sense of belonging they previously lacked.
ARISE is an antidote to future homeless populations. The ARISE program is perfect for organizations looking for a structured program to implement in a homelessness prevention program for youth pre-K to young adult. The lessons are also easily added to after school programs, church programs, or any other organization that would like to prevent homelessness in youth. Over 20 years of experience with transient populations ensures ARISE lessons are ideal for those educating children and families on the move.
Dr. Cohen is professor in the department of psychiatry and director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.