Spirit of Alabama: Rise Center offers love, support


The Rise Center at the University of Alabama is the first program of its kind. In fact, it’s been around so long that some of the children who went through the Rise Program are now adults who work there.

But it’s only recently that their graduates have had support as adult workers. This new program, called REACH, stands for “recreation, education, activity, community and health.” It was created by Rise Director Andi Gillen and Service Coordinator Joylyn Boggs.

As part of the REACH effort, 12 staff members recently traveled to Houston for a visit to the Rise Center there. They said it was a valuable opportunity for exchanging ideas and making new friends. Not to mention, workers brought back plenty of stories to share.

Brittney Latham said seeing the differences between programs was a valuable experience.

“My favorite part of the trip was getting to go down there and represent Rise and all that we do for disabled children,” said Jud Trimm. “It means a lot how the center grows and how much they grow.”

While there was plenty of work involved in the trip, a little Texas-style fun made it onto the menu, too. Tuscaloosa might have rodeos every now and again, but it’s nothing like what they saw in Houston. Not to mention they joined thousands of fellow country music fans at a Zac Brown Band concert and even got a chance to meet the man himself.

“One of my favorites was before I just met Zac Brown and I shook his hand and he was an amazing country star,” said employee Ian Terry. “I met him in person, and he got to know me so well.”

The Rise Center is a special place where these former students, now adults, find ways to serve others.

Do you have a Spirit of Alabama you’d like to share? Email spiritofalabama@wvua23.com.

Categories: Featured, Local News, Spirit of Alabama