Mission and History

The Rising: Elevating Education, Expectations and Self-Esteem, is a community-led initiative designed to nourish and advance our youngsters emotionally, socially and academically. The pilot program incorporates empowering elements of A New Way Forward: Healing What’s Hurting Black America, which is The National CARES Mentoring Movement’s directional framework for all we do in our communities. It was created for mentors to counter the incalculable damage done to the psyche and soul of African Americans over the centuries of enslavement and its equally punishing aftermath. The Rising at Harlan is aimed at transforming the lives of children trapped in inter-generational poverty by engaging them in prevention, wellness, and support efforts that mitigate the disparities and dysfunction ruining so many young lives. Piloted at John M. Harlan Community Academy High School on the South Side of Chicago, The Rising will engage, inspire, empower and support young people on their path to adulthood. The program will be replicated through out the nation for implementation in the nearly 60 cities where we have CARES Affiliates.

To develop a program that is innovative and transformational, National CARES and Windy City CARES are dedicated to a collaborative process with all stakeholders—from young people to seasoned advocates and academics. The following are our lead partners: the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; the Black Star Project, Resolution Project, the African American Male Resource Center at CSU, and Chicago State University. Together we are building strategic, community-focused alliances with faith, business and political leaders and other entities inclusive of the Chicago Park District, University of Chicago and Chicago Police Department.

 Open Society Foundations and its Campaign for Black Male Achievement is the founding funder of The Rising at Harlan. Additional funding will be raised to sustain the all-school mentoring initiative designed to elevate and ensure the lives of the thousand-plus students at Harlan.

 For more information about the National CARES Mentoring Movement, its philosophy and goals, please visit www.caresmentoring.org.




The National CARES Mentoring Movement is a community-engagement effort committed to closing the huge gap between the relatively few Black mentors and the many Black children in need of mentoring support. We recruit, train and deploy adults to serve as mentors in schools and youth-serving organizations that use the traditional one-to-one model; and we develop culturally grounded, evidence-based, group-mentoring programs so we will serve more of the multitudes of children in need of our mentoring support. Working through a growing national network of nearly 60 CARES Mentor-Recruitment Affiliates throughout the nation, National CARES has recruited more than 125,000 mentors who are serving more than 135,000 children.