The Birth of RULE

Alexander von Hoffman’s essay on “The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development in the United States” presents an opportunity for Rising Urban Leaders Enterprise (RULE) to lead from the bottom up.

Mr. Hoffman's abbreviate history lesson on the efforts by political officials and community leaders to improve the lives and neighborhoods of poor and indigent people in America’s urban and rural communities prompted the social change initiative which resulted in the creation of Rising Urban Leaders Enterprise in December 2018.

From Hoffman's essay, we've learned that the government, for a long time, organized a set of programs and services that it believed would help poor people and improve their neighborhoods.  Although this was a meaningful approach, it was a top-down program in which the political leaders made all the decisions while the recipients of the services had no say about their own care.

The essay described many types of interventions by officials to help low-income residents to live quality lives. Services in such areas as jobs, education, health care, housing, food, transportation were all implemented to bring about economic and community development.

But civil rights leaders disrupted the system, according to Hoffman, and forcefully addressed their top-down concerns. They believed people would do better when included in the planning and implementations of services.

At the same time, community organizing was spreading throughout the low-income communities.  Activists mobilized people in their home communities to get involved in plans that would affect them.

In addition, several nonprofit organizations emerged to deliver a range of services that would uplift and enrich economically stressed neighborhoods.  The bottom-up approach to community development became alive.

The nonprofit intervention would offer personalized services for people and neighborhood development, and support the bottom-up approach to combat poverty.

Rising Urban Leaders Enterprise was founded, by Denise Blackwood, to operate as an advocacy for teens to be heard and supported in their effort to achieve their goals.

RULE, a New Jersey nonprofit organization, promotes the bottom-up leadership approach where high school students of all grades are positioned to learn and implement leadership skills.

Its leaders aim to attract the high-performing students as well as those who are underperforming and might be experiencing the effects of loneliness, depression, substance abuse, victimization, and distractions during the school year.

Coaches, tutors, and mentors agree to work strategically to empower teens to navigate challenges, obstacles, and opportunities along their way to an economically rewarding future.

Denise Blackwood

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