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THE HIDDEN PROJECT AND YOUNG WOMEN’S FREEDOM CENTER JOINS RYSE YOUTH CENTER TO CELEBRATE PARTNERSHIP AND OPENING OF RYSE COMMONS
RYSE Youth Center opens its new youth development campus in Richmond, anchored by two community-based, non-profit organizations
Richmond, CA – RYSE Youth Center is set to open its new 45,000 square-foot campus, RYSE Commons, this summer in Richmond, California. RYSE has served as a hub for Black, Indigenous and Youth of Color ages 13-21 to experience and enliven safety, creativity, healing, fun, new opportunities, and justice. Designed by and for young people, RYSE Commons reflects the dreams, ideas and support of them, their families and the larger community.
RYSE and anchor partners, The Hidden Genius Project and Young Women’s Freedom Center, are fortifying community ties, shared values, and commitment to hosting youth development programs and services in the new RYSE Commons campus.
“We are humbled and honored to continue to grow and deepen our partnerships with The Hidden Genius Project and Young Women’s Freedom Center. RYSE Commons reflects our commitment to building a Beloved Community that our young people need and deserve. The Hidden Genius Project consistently demonstrates a powerful commitment to building youth power, youth creativity and youth leadership and Young Women’s Freedom Center embodies a dedication to historically marginalized youth navigating systems formed against them,” said Kimberly Aceves-Iñiguez, Co-Founder & Executive Director of RYSE.
The Hidden Genius Project’s — a national non-profit organization focused on training and mentoring Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills — partnership with RYSE Youth Center was originally formed in 2017, when they initially expanded its cohort-based Intensive Immersion Program to Richmond. This new campus revitalizes their shared values for uplifting youth of color as RYSE Commons poses an incredible opportunity for continued growth and partnership.
The Hidden Genius Project will build upon the values and infrastructure of the RYSE Commons by reaching Black male youth in high school across Richmond through their flagship, 15-month Intensive Immersion Program experience. The award-winning program consists of over 800 hours of holistic mentorship and intensive training in a cohort-based environment that seeks to develop youth into strong and responsible leaders equipped with coding skills to develop tech-enabled solutions for society’s most compelling challenges. The Hidden Genius Project’s Richmond cohort is one of four locations, with others based in Oakland, where it is headquartered, Los Angeles, and Detroit.
“As we find ourselves in our fifth year of partnership with RYSE, we are beyond proud to count ourselves as part of such a momentous occasion for Richmond, West Contra Costa County, and positive youth development work throughout the nation. To see the RYSE team work tirelessly over the years to support young people, and now see the community have access to adequate space to build, grow, play, and laugh is extremely heartening. Of course, it is doubly so now that we will have a stable Richmond home where our Geniuses and the broader community can find us and innovate. I am personally grateful for Kimberly’s leadership and the RYSE team’s vision in getting us to this point,” says Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Hidden Genius Project.
In addition, Young Women’s Freedom Center will expand their work building the power and leadership of young women and trans youth of all genders in Contra Costa County, who have grown up in poverty, experienced the juvenile legal and foster care systems, have had to survive living and working on the streets, and who have experienced significant violence in their lives. The work of relieving the burdens of economic, justice, and gendered systems will find solidarity and synergy at RYSE Commons.
“Growing up, it was evident that Richmond was less resourced than surrounding areas. It feels like a full circle to now be doing this work to amplify the leadership of system-impacted young women and trans youth of all genders. I can’t wait to see the impact of Young Women’s Freedom Center in Contra Costa County!” – Tumani Drew, Young Women’s Freedom Center Contra Costa County Lead Organizer.
About RYSE Youth Center
Since 2008, RYSE Youth Center has been a safe space grounded in social justice for Black, Indigenous and Youth of Color, ages 13-21, to love, learn, educate, heal, and transform lives and communities. These young people have been designing RYSE Commons, a 45,000 state-of-the-art campus to better hold their dreams and leadership. Through over two years of a global pandemic, construction is now complete and RYSE is preparing to open the campus fully in Summer 2022. rysecenter.org
About The Hidden Genius Project
The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities. Through their student-centered, project-based approach, they invest in young Black men, give them access to technology training, and plug them into an ecosystem of innovation and empowerment. As they continue to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, The Hidden Genius Project seeks to strengthen the field of technology education for young people across communities. hiddengeniusproject.org
About Young Women’s Freedom Center
For nearly 30 years, Young Women’s Freedom Center has provided support, mentorship, training, employment, and advocacy to young women and trans youth of all genders in California who have grown up in poverty, experienced the juvenile legal and foster care systems, have had to survive living and working on the streets, and who have experienced significant violence in their lives. Our mission is to build the power and leadership of directly impacted young people and inspire them to create positive change in their lives and communities. youngwomenfree.org