Located in the Pine Hills
neighborhood of Albany, NY,
RISSE is a family-based center
that supports newcomers in
building sustainable lives in the United States.
To equip refugees and recent immigrants to build sustainable, independent lives by offering language and literacy instruction, as well as support with life skills and integration into U.S. culture and community.
RISSE was founded in 2007 to assist refugees fleeing from the Congo. The initial goal was to help these refugees find housing, jobs, and resources and to advance
their education. An after-school program was established for children; then came English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults.
Volunteers, many of them immigrants and members of the Emmaus United Methodist Church in Albany, played a key role in the early success of RISSE, led by then- pastor Reverend Denise Stringer. An early partnership with The College of Saint Rose and its art education, counseling, literacy, and community service programs provided expertise and volunteers that supported the growth of RISSE services.
RISSE has continued to grow, evolving from a small outreach program to a community-strengthening development center. In 2012, RISSE was recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization. Donations made to RISSE are
tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
RISSE works in partnership with the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), which services refugees and immigrants for their first 90 days in the U.S. RISSE also continues to enjoy thriving partnerships with The College of Saint Rose and Emmaus UMC.