Railroad Street Youth Student Empowerment (RYSE) Program Shifts to Fall; Application Deadline Is July 3


Great Barrington, Mass. – Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), the dynamic youth empowerment nonprofit organization that advocates for and invests in young people in southern Berkshire County, is pleased to announce that the Railroad Street Youth Student Empowerment (RYSE) Program will take place for the fourth year in a row this October. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will be conducted on Saturdays throughout the month, either online via Zoom or outdoors at RSYP’s Drop-in Center following state guidelines for health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open to recent graduates and students entering their junior or senior year at Monument Mountain and Mount Everett High Schools, RYSE is a unique example of intergenerational collaboration. Created four years ago by local youth in partnership with dedicated RSYP board members and staff, RYSE provides an opportunity for young people to explore their options after high school – whether at a private, state, or community college, through a gap year, or at a vocational school – in a safe and supportive space. An online application for the program is available here. The deadline for applications is July 3.

“RYSE is a great opportunity for students,” says Regina East, RSYP’s Youth Operational Board and Special Projects Coordinator, who oversees the program. “There are only 15 slots available this year. We’ve already received a lot of applications, but we’re accepting up to ten more, so be sure to act fast.”

In weekly program meetings, RYSE participants will take part in a series of dynamic and youth-centered sessions on topics ranging from balancing tasks, goal setting, demystifying the Federal Student Aid application process, and productive financial behavior such as credit building, budgeting and saving. Youth receive a stipend of $200 upon completion of the program, and are eligible to apply for a scholarship of up to $20,000, which may be used over the next four years to assist with tuition at a state or private college or university, a community college or vocational school, a focused curriculum for a gap year, or any GED Program. A panel made up of staff and board members will review scholarship applications in a competitive process.

“RYSE is an amazing example of the power of connecting generations,” says RSYP Executive Director Ananda Timpane. “By taking risks with each other, listening carefully and working as a team, youth and adults can make great things happen.”

About Railroad Street Youth Project

At RSYP, youth take the lead. They explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood. RSYP’s professional staff matches youth-generated ideas with community resources, empowering youth to create and oversee a wide range of innovative, life-changing projects. Unmatched in mission and scope, RSYP excels in helping youth find their voice and realize the benefits of their commitment to themselves and their community.  RSYP serves 14-25 year old residents of Southern Berkshire County and the surrounding area through mentoring and apprenticeship programs, a sexual health education initiative, an all-youth board that funds innovative, youth-inspired projects and trips, job training and career counseling, and a drop-in center offering referrals, mediation, and advocacy services. Railroad Street Youth Project’s drop-in center is located at 60 Bridge St., Great Barrington, MA.