Mission and History
The mission of Refugee and Immigrant Self- Empowerment (RISE) is to advocate and promote self-sufficiency through employment, education, social support and economic independence for members of the refugee and immigrant communities in Onondaga County, NY.
All refugees and immigrants are empowered to become economically independent and productive members of society who enrich their new community while maintaining their cultural identity.
RISE, formerly known as the Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA), was founded by Somali Bantu refugees in 2004 to ease the transition of other members of the resettled Somali Bantu community living in Onondaga County. Viewing education as the best chance for upward mobility in their new environment, the founding members began SBCA with a small homework group at the home of one of the members. After outgrowing this setting, SBCA moved its homework help to a space at the Dr. King Elementary School, and later moved to a shared office space at the Central Village Youth Center.
Once settled its new space at the Central Village Youth Center, SBCA expanded its offerings to include: ESL classes, case management, interpretation and translation, and job placement services among many others.
In February 2012, SBCA moved to its current location at 312 Burt Street, which has allowed the organization further expand its service offerings as well as carry out its day-to-day operations at a central location. As a result of increased capability and capacity, SBCA became a resource for other refugee and immigrant communities in Onondaga County. In an effort to better represent the inclusive nature of SBCA and its services—as represented by its diverse clientele–SBCA became Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE) in fall 2015.
RISE remains committed to assisting the diverse refugee and immigrant communities in Onondaga County. Our programs are targeted at promoting self-sufficiency through employment, education, and economic empowerment.