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RISE started as Pinebelt Christian Women's Job Corps started in 2001 and began with a partnership with PACE Headstart working with mothers of children involved in the Headstart program. This partnership quickly added Christian Services. Both of these were key to our work in recruiting women who needed a hand to help them rise above their circumstances. Through the Needs Assessments done through the years, we have developed relationships with many community organizations as well as businesses. We have had an especially close connection with the department of human services, Salvation Army, and Pine Belt Mental Health, and many others. Through relationships with the business community, we have sought to incorporate their needs into our job skills education and opened doors for employment for our participants.

We have always been a ministry of helping participants without taking away their dignity. This is a major strength. We offer education, mentoring, love, and encouragement, not handouts. In fact, each participant is asked to give back through helping with chores during the program as well as involvement in community service opportunities. In this way, they gain a good feeling from contributing and gain the experience of being a contributing member of the community. The many volunteers in the program also gain the same rewards. 

Our program offers life skills as well as job skills. We offer love and encouragement; we seek to minister to the whole person. This is the reason for small groups at a time. It is only in this way that true relationships can be built and ultimate success can be achieved. 

Another strength of our program comes through our mentoring. The participants are not just left after the in-class segment. RISE continues to be a family of support for them. This continued support enables them to continue to grow and become contributing members of our community. 

We are part of a national program that offers support through training, scholarships, and grants. In 2004 we had one of our participants receive national recognition. We also have partnered with United Way to begin the community money management program. 

We added men to our program and became the Pinebelt Christian Men and Women's Job Corps and it became a mouthful! So we changed the name to RISE and are continuing to adapt as we grow.

board staff

2024 RISE Board Members


  • Peggy Braswell​

  • Erin Bradley

  • Alex Royals

  • Danette Bean

  • Tommie Ware 

  • Jan Farve

  • Heidi Nelson

  • Marneshia Cathey

  • Derrick Autmon

  • Rick Conn

  • Jim Braswell

  • Jim Westley

  • Brenda Westley

  • Lakeisha Bryant-Hall

  • Catherine Jorns

2024 RISE Advisory Board Members


  • Linda Donnell

  • Don Medley

  • Donna Davis

  • Dow Ford

  • Renee Ford

  • Geraldine Jones

  • Joey Hawkins

  • Lisa Fokakis

  • Dale Dikes

  • Leah Henderson

  • Sharon Griffin

  • Ezra Jackson


  • ADP

  • United Way

  • Pine Belt Kiwanis Club

  • Rotary Club

  • NAMI

  • Coalition on Homelessness

  • Nonprofit Network

  • USM School of Nursing

  • BXS Community Advisory Committee


  • R3SM

  • PRCC

  • Christian Services

  • Edward's Street Fellowship


  • Pine Belt Mental Health Resources

  • DISMAS Charities

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