It’s hard to believe that I’m 1/12 done with my time as a Youth Year fellow already… It’s been a wild ride so far. RISEGO is roller-coaster and the biggest reason is unlike most of the organizations in Youth Year it is the start-up phase.
For David Dey (Founder/CEO of RISEGO) RISEGO, as a concept was a sparkle in eye as early as 1989, but it was incorporated until 2005 and didn’t actually have a building until 2007. Also David was working as a professor at Roberts Wesleyan full time until around the time the building was purchased.
The biggest thing I am learning about a start up non-profit is constantly feeling the pull of resources in the form of both people and money. As the old saying goes “you have to have money to make money.” Because of this it also means everyone working for the organization needs to be a jack of all trades. For example most of the past few years David has had many periods where he was the only one running most the organization so he has done everything from board meetings to toilet installation. On top of that he teaches business on and off places like MCC and Everest just to make enough to keep his family going.
The first couple weeks of my time at RISEGO were spent on mostly on shadowing David to meetings with other organization and him teaching at both partner non-profits & Everest and reading through RISEGO’s curriculum called “The Journey.” My time at ABC (Action for a Better Community) were especially impactful as I got to meet a lot of people who had grown up in the city and who were about my age and I would say I was humbled but I would prefer saying I really got put in my place.
My time since then has been split on curriculum work and building the marketing campaign for our after-school program that starts September 27th! I have to say it’s been an a wild ride in a new non-profit but it gives me a lot of respect for David’s leadership and vision, I’m excited to see where we go at RISEGO this year.