Project RISE was founded during the summer of 1993 as an experimental pilot program for at-risk males from the Greater Boston area. In the first year, 17 young men attended the program and 9 were referred by their juvenile probation officers of the Courts. These young men participated in a six-week academic and cultural enrichment program that would provide them with positive alternatives to their futures, ultimately molding their visions for their new roles within society. The Project RISE. Summer Program was staffed by a combination of certified private and public school teachers, college students (counselors), and volunteers (tutors). These staff members provided approximately 20 hours per week of literacy, mathematics, and study and organizational skills using accelerated curricula. Furthermore, extracurricular activities were provided in the afternoons such as art, dance, aerobics, swimming, photography, and wood shop. In 1994, the program was expanded to accommodate females. The program has been co-ed ever since with the male to female ratio of around 5:4. In 2002, Project RISE. created the high school program, which accepted 22 students. In the fall of 2017 Project RISE officially became part of Thayer Academy.
Our Summer Program has grown significantly since then, offering more enrichment activities such as field trips, multicultural history classes, art projects, hands-on science experiments, and a guest speaker forum that allows prominent community and civic leaders to share their stories of resilience and success with the kids. Some of our former speakers at the program include, but are not limited to, Governor Deval Patrick, attorney John J. Hightower, and Dr. Keith Motley, Chancellor of UMASS-Boston.