ARISE Life Skill Lessons and Staff Training

A non-profit since 1986
Experience counts

Evidence-Based Life Skills Lessons and Professional Staff Training
Call Us: 1-888-680-6100
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More History of Arise

Enviro Cops Bus

In 1996, Miami Dade Transit Authority dedicated a bus painted in Enviro-Cops colors and logo. This alerted 2 million plus residents on ARISE’s goal of making the world safe for children.

The Dade County School Board Nutrition Task Force

foodMarveling at the poor quality and makeup of school food Susan Benson saw in the Dade County Public Schools (she teaches the hearing impaired), the Bensons convinced the Dade Parent-Teacher Association and the Dade County School Board to establish this entity to look at all aspects of school food: quality, preparation, service, and ambience. Both have been members of the task Force since its inception in 1986, and Edmund F. Benson currently chairs it.

Largely through contacts with the American Cancer Society, Florida Division, and the National Cancer Institute, Dade County Schools were chosen to participate in a pilot study, “to alert children at an early age of the importance of wise food choices, and to motivate them to adopt health-promoting eating patterns that will serve them throughout their lives.” Only eight schools in America were given this honor.

Food Service Worker Awards


In the process of working with this group, another area of the schools’ food program caught their attention, the dedicated, untiring efforts of cafeteria personnel. The majority of these workers (middle-aged women, often the sole support for their families) were doing difficult work with no real benefits or acknowledgement. “If food service workers are happy, mealtime can be fun in the public schools,” he thought, and in 1989, established the annual Dade County Schools Food Service Worker Awards. Benson arranged it all, including $5,000 in cash awards to those selected for their outstanding contribution to improving quality and service in their school lunchrooms.

1989-90 Recycling Awards

It took over two years but ARISE Foundation, working with Dade County School personnel, put together the largest recycling program of any school system in America, culminated by presentation of the McAliley-Ruvin Environmental Awards (named in honor of School Board Chair Janet McAliley and then-Dade County Commissioner Harvey Ruvin): $10,000 for students and schools collecting the most recyclables. In addition to cash awards, ARISE arranged for expense-paid, spectacular day trips to Disney World for six busloads of students from the winning senior, middle and elementary schools.

Friendsday/Friendship Games

Friendsday/Friendship Games have been held annually since 1985. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Dade County residents take part with celebrities in fun, games, food and drink – a day of acceptance for individuals with mental health problems. “What better way to show that we as a community care?” That was Edmund F. Benson’s question in proposing the creation of Friendsday to the Board on which he served at the Northwest Dade Center, one of the largest community mental health centers in Dade County. Mario Jardon, executive director of the Center, says the special day “has become the single most important event in the history of Dade County’s mental health community.”

Police Departments Teach ARISE’s Law Enforcement Curricula

Since 1994, the following police departments have used the ARISE Law Enforcement curricula: Miami-Dade County, City of Miami, Key Biscayne, Florida City, Coral Gables, and Hialeah. Children learn who’s your friend when there’s trouble.

Countywide Safety Event Weeks

Every year since 1993, ARISE has conducted countywide annual events dealing with crucial issues that affect the safety and well being of our youngsters. In 1993, we began with Lead Awareness week and as of the year 2,000, ARISE has developed 12 different safety events. In 1998 they reached 191,298 kids with their weekly events. Events cover the following topics: poison prevention, anti-graffiti, success, stranger safety, violence reduction, electrical safety, substance abuse and guns, burn awareness, health awareness and lead awareness. These events were supported by the following entities: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Jackson Memorial Hospital Poison Prevention Center, Florida Power and Light, Miami-Dade Fire Department and Miami-Dade Police Department.

Just Rappin’

This is a non-judgmental listening program for at-risk and incarcerated juveniles. In 1995, this program began by recruiting volunteers from psychology classes, social work programs in Colleges and Universities. The volunteers were trained and placed as listeners in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

Holiday Card Recycling Program

holidaycardsIn 1995, ARISE created a holiday greeting card program in partnership with Miami-Dade County Government. Over a million Christmas cards were collected. They were sorted, cut and reassembled by handicapped people and incarcerated youths at Metro-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities. These cards were given to those in nursing homes, school children and indigent families in Miami Dade County that otherwise would not be able to afford to get cards.

Videos produced

Six videos were produced to be used with ARISE elementary life lessons. The topics were guns, poison look-a-likes, stranger safety, drugs, graffiti, and where the waste goes. These videos were produced in cooperation with Miami-Dade county public schools and Miami Dade County government.

Kids Need to Know TV Show

In 1997, ARISE produced a total of 12 one hour TV shows on channel 17 directed to middle school populations. It was a live audience show discussing life issues such as drugs, guns, safety smarts, staying in school and much more.

Metro-Dade Parks Use the ARISE Life Skills Programs

Beginning in 1995, the Metro-Dade Parks taught life skills in their summer parks programs.

ARISE Life Skills

Since 1986, ARISE Foundation has developed over 40 different social skill curricula teaching over 260 different life skill topics to children from ages 0 (through parenting programs) through high school. In the beginning, lessons stressed environmental issues. Topics such as anger management, conflict resolution, skills for finding and keeping a job, health and hygiene, gangs, importance of staying in school and self esteem are just some of the life skills offered.
ARISE has written the programs, administered it to all ages, monitored the progress and had the programs independently evaluated. These life lessons have been utilized in day school, after school programs, alternative schools, secure Juvenile justice facilities, halfway houses, day treatment programs, probation programs, parks, recreation departments, and summer camps.

Nursing Students Volunteer Program at Department of Juvenile Justice facilities

Volunteer nursing students have taught the ARISE health curriculum evenings and weekends.

STD video produced

In 1977, ARISE staff was trained by specialists from the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology on STD’s and HIV. Using very graphic slides and the expertise of May Goins, a nurse from the Black Nurses Association, ARISE produced a lesson plan and video that has been used throughout Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

Inner City Games uses ARISE Life Skills

To keep middle school children busy after school and during the summer, Inner City Games, a recreational program, began using ARISE social skills lessons in their summer camp in1998. Other Inner City Games in other states are using ARISE’s Secrets of Success life skills programs dealing with anger management, violence and conflict and self-esteem.

Missionary Program

After a youngster has completed the ARISE Life Skills Program, they take the information to go. They teach the same life lessons they learned to others in their neighborhoods.

Partnering with the Faith Network

Starting in 1998, ARISE Foundation trained groups from local churches to administer the ARISE Life Skills Programs to their young parishioners.

ARISE On Stage Playlets

ARISE wrote and produced plays that were incorporated into the life skills curriculum at the Department of Juvenile Justice facilities. The entire facility was invited to watch these productions. This was learning in a fun way.

ARISE Begins work with Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Beginning in 1995-6, when the department was first created and continuing uninterrupted through 2011, the Department of Juvenile Justice has been utilizing the ARISE Life Skills programs in DJJ facilities state wide. Incarcerated at-risk youth in Florida receive approximately 13,000 hours of ARISE life skill instruction monthly. ARISE groups are conducted by ARISE Certified Group Facilitators. What began in one cell block at the Miami Dade detention center now encompasses the entire state. ARISE programs have been operational in 119 Detention and Residential facilities from the Everglades to the Panhandle.

ARISE Training Program

ARISE provides staff training that has been proven to create a more positive work environment for the adults (guards) tasked with overseeing these high risk youth. Research has shown that once empathy and caring are demonstrated, these troubled youth mirror this positive behavior. Retooling the negative thinking and attitudes of angry, aggressive and combative children empowers them to make better life choices.

ARISE offers a two day Life Skills training, a five day “Drop it at the Door” training, a five day Master Life Skills Training, and gender awareness training. In addition, ARISE conducts monthly on-line webinars to reinforce its training programs.

ARISE Goes Digital

The ARISE two day Life Skills Instructor training is now available on line (self paced) and also Live On Line via tele conferencing.  The ARISE Drop it at the Door is also available on line (self paced).  ARISE Life Skills are now available as eBooks. People can access them instantly from our website at

ARISE can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the ARISE Blog

ARISE In The District of Columbia

Since 2004 and continuing today, ARISE provides Life Skills Training to over 130 facilities in Washington DC and has certified over 1,000 ARISE Life-Skills Group facilitators. ARISE received funding from the Justice Grants Administration to conduct a pilot project called ARISE for Change. This project combined the concepts of Motivational Interviewing (MI) with the ARISE Drop it at the Door Training and was used with staff and youth.

ARISE Internationally

ARISE Life Skills curricular and training is being utilized around the world. The ministry of education in Bermuda has used ARISE life skills and has trained 20 ARISE master trainers so that the program can continue without an ARISE trainer actually being there. We are presently working with an organization in Vietnam where they are translating ARISE material into Vietnamese. ARISE provides its curricula and expertise to an organization in Uganda. We are working with a woman in Cambodia to bring ARISE Life Skill lessons to young girls involved in sex trafficking. From Kazakhstan to Pakistan, from South Africa to the Persian Gulf, ARISE is being used successfully.
net, ARISE designed a web store ( that provides descriptions, tables of content, and graphics on our books. In addition, the website provides in-depth background information on ARISE, including our mission, and evidence based research reports etc.

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