Here is a heart warming story about a child who benefitted greatly from the On The Rise program:

“Hi, my name is Ty’iesha but everyone calls me Ty. I was born in Springfield, Ohio. In my eyes everything I went through as a kid was normal. I thought everyone had the same problems and parents as me. Myself and my siblings spent the majority of our lives getting bounced around from family to family even teachers. It was normal to us, that’s all we knew so it wasn’t a big shocker when we’d get a call from someone saying our mom was in prison and we’d be getting sent somewhere. My siblings would get sent to their dad’s but in my case I didn’t have a mom or dad. Both were in prison so I’d go to the any person who would take me, kind of like an auction. Whoever got me knew they’d get money, food stamps, and whatever else there was to offer.

In 2007, my mom got a serious drug trafficking charge and would be sentenced to 6 years in prison. So, me and my two sisters were sent to live with my aunt, her husband and their 5 children, and my brothers were sent to their dad’s and grandparents. My life with them was pretty good until I started to realize I didn’t get treated the same as everyone else. I was always the one who got bullied for the way I looked and for not having both parents. When the holidays came, everyone would go to their parents and family and I would just stay at home by myself because I didn’t have anyone at that point in my life. I was mad at the world. I was angry at the fact I wasn’t good enough for either parents. I was mad that I was all alone and yet no one saw it. No one saw how much I needed someone and that hurt so much. To deal with all of my anger and sadness I took it out on my teacher and anyone who was willing to try me. I dealt with my problems by isolating myself and shutting down.

I met Ms. Deb at a time when I needed someone most. They called me down to the office to meet her and she talked to me in the sternest voice and I will admit I thought she was the meanest woman I’ve ever met. She told me they had a farm and I would get to play with animals and that alone lit my whole world up. I was so excited. I went home and told everyone about what I was about to do. A few weeks later she called me and said I was too young to join. She promised me she would save me a spot and a year later she kept her promise and I joined.

The program was amazing and I absolutely loved it. I got to cook and eat as a family for the first time. I learned so many things just from her and this program. I learned about relationships with family and friends from Project Woman. I learned how to write checks and how to shop on a budget and how to grow food from my own garden. I learned how to eat healthy from a nutritionist that came.

Env though I was just some random kid in the program, she (Ms. Deb) treated me like her own. When my mom didn’t show up to my concerts and lunch with your parents, she always did. When my grandmother would lock us out in the summer, I’d call Ms. Deb and she’d drop everything she was doing and come pick me up. When my mom couldn’t get on her feet and we had to live in a homeless shelter, she asked me to come live with her. She saw good in me even when I was horrible. She pushed and molded me into the woman I am today and I will forever give her and the program credit for that.”

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On The Rise is a program for kids to rebuild foundations on a farm. In the 1990’s, Debbie MuCullough and Cathy Tofstad kindled a passion for their desire to make a difference in the lives of the children in their community. In 2002 this passion led to the creation of the nonprofit organization On-The-Rise. Since 2002, On-The-Rise has served at risk youth throughout Clark County, who have displayed deficiencies in life and social skills, have had academic difficulties, and have displayed behavioral issues. The multi-sensory programs offered at On-The-Rise facilitate extended learning opportunities allowing youth to gain life skills, social skills, and employment skills with the collaboration of many of Springfield’s resources. These programs promote responsibility, compassion, work ethic, and positive self image; but most of all, they give students a chance to succeed. For more information about On The Rise, visit https://ontherisefarm.org/.

Community Health Foundation provides grant funding for On The Rise.