ARISE out of the ashes and onto your smartphone

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Or in this case, look for inspiration from the ARISE Foundation Positivity Cards, available in both the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.
This app supplies the user with plenty of positive messages when the going gets tough. With messages like “You Are So Appreciated” and “Look for the Good in All,” the mobile positivity cards offer the user quotes from notable persons of interest as well as nuggets of wisdom used by the ARISE Foundation.
Perfect for those days where you may feel the world is against you, rest assured this pocket of positivity has your back.

The idea of the positivity cards didn’t come over night. In fact, the cards have been distributed over several years, starting out as a “gotcha” for those caught in the act of doing something good.

“People were amazed they were being complemented for something like giving directions to the supermarket,” says ARISE founder Edmund Benson. Benson, of North Palm Beach, FL, and his wife Susan founded ARISE back in 1986.
As time went on, people shared the desire to send the positivity cards to friends and relatives. Mr. Benson then came up with an idea to create an app to enable the giver to send the cards to their desired recipient.

Like the positivity cards, Benson and his wife came up with various curricula to tackle different needs.

“Someone came to us a long time ago asking for something to be used in a Head Start [program],” says Benson. “Their curricula tackles various topics and ages, from Pre-K to homeless adults, each teaching needed life skills to help those in need comply with society’s demands.”

With a Master’s Degree in Education, Benson’s wife has worked alongside her spouse since the foundation’s inception. “We are worker bees. We were brought together to do this work,” says Mrs. Benson.
In addition to life skill training, the Bensons have tackled ‘self-care’ topics such as abstinence. Part of what Benson describes as health care is self care. “Too much of the wrong things and not enough of the good things isn’t good for you,” notes Mr. Benson.

Next on their agenda is to add to their bullying curriculum to include how to handle cyber-bullying.
“We feel we have been directed step-by-step, lesson-by-lesson,” says Mr. Benson.
As a high school drop out, Benson was self-described as “lucky” that drugs and crime hadn’t yet permeated the culture when he decided to join the Massachusetts State Guard during World War II at the age of 14. He then went on to join the U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Later, he pursued a successful career as owner of a rental furniture chain. After living in Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas, the couple moved to South Florida.

“I was fortunate to retire at an early age to do this work,” adds Benson.

As a first step to writing the ARISE curricula, Benson went behind bars to interview offenders and ask which of their life choices could have changed to prevent a life of incarceration.

Within the last 15 years, the ARISE Foundation’s focus has been on teens and and to teach groups life skills, going as far to train juvenile detention guards to help those incarcerated learn the curriculum. This includes what society expects of them and how to avoid repeating their mistakes.
Those that implement the curricula of ARISE include juvenile justice systems, school systems, churches, Boys and Girls clubs as well as the Salvation Army.
Even former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenagger has heard of ARISE. The foundation’s website has a testimonial form the former Governor stating, “I am going to tell the world about ARISE’s fantastic program.”

The free ARISE Positivity Cards app is now available. For more information about the ARISE Foundation, including their full online catalog of products, visit their website at http://at-riskyouth.org/

Also, coming soon, a Spanish version of the app. Stay tuned.

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