Rockaway Rising wants to ensure our Risers know how to identify, build, and maintain healthy relationships. We believe this intra and interpersonal focus impacts every aspect of a child’s life (attitude towards school, future outlook, health, self-esteem, familial stability, etc). Relationships are the common denominators that affect everything they do and will do for the rest of their lives.

Like traditional mentorship programs, we work on homework completion, bring in compelling guest speakers, and cater our programming towards the interests and passions of our Risers. But we do it all in the context of waking children up, getting them dressed, and getting them excited and enthused for a great day at school!

Our focus is on the relationships we form along the way. As Jon Tyson has said, you can “use people to build things or use things to build people.” We use our “things” ex. study sessions, meals, and bus rides to school to equip Far Rockaway youth with relational toolkits they can access in every area of their lives, forever. For example, we do see structured homework time as a “book learning” opportunity, but more so as a chance to improve each Riser’s relationship with herself through growth mindset training.  


Statistically, high school graduation is imperative for a productive future. We meticulously track attendance data and partner with other agencies to ensure each child has the toolkit of supports they need to stay in school. At Rockaway Rising, we believe that soft skill development not only increases the likelihood of graduation, but also ensures that Risers can tackle the “real-world” problems they face as they enter adulthood.

Soft Skill Training

We use relational learning to foster soft skill development in the following areas:

·      Confidence / Self Esteem

·      Conflict Resolution

·      Accountability / Responsibility

·      Self-Reliance / Grit

·      Humility / Gratitude

·      Servant Leadership


By showing growth in these areas through relational modeling and training, Risers will make statistically significant strides towards transforming their futures.



As researchers work to solve one of the most persistent problems in public education – why kids in poor neighborhoods fail so much more often than their upper-income peers – more and more they’re pointing the finger at what happens outside the classroom. Shootings. Food insecurity. Sirens and fights in the night.

— nprEd (June 15, 2014)