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RISE (Read, Imagine, Share, Explore

Listing Last Update: February 5, 2016


4280 Hale Parkway
Denver, CO 80220

Primary Contact

Eryn Weber Kaczka

(303) 322-1871 Ext:128

Educational services

  • To read and write better
  • To help my child learn
  • To learn English

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Program Overview

In 2014-2015 RISE served 1,402 children 2-8 years old and their

families' with direct instruction promoting early literacy and school
readiness. RISE 3-year curriculum is adapted to each site and to the needs of
each child providing a learner-centered instructional environment, where
children from diverse populations can build a love for reading through
self-directed play and social interactions. RISE emphasizes these principles
through using award-winning multicultural children's books and specifically selecting
materials that foster individualized language development. The basis of the
program focuses on what children naturally love keeping them more engaged in
their own learning through the incorporation of literary centered games, story
time, art, music, and movement.
Twice a week for 47 weeks, RISE provides 90-minutes of instruction with a blend
of guided group activities and differentiated small group instruction.

We currently utilize the
Motheread curriculum to engage the parents/caregivers into discussing critical
issues and provide opportunities to empower them based on the barriers they see
in their own lives. This allows us to get to know the families on a deeper
level, to holistically understand the child's needs and to better support them.

Using the train-the-trainer model, we utilize our partnerships with
Colorado's major colleges and universities to recruit volunteers, and early
childhood education and speech-language pathology interns. With this support RISE is able to provide a 1:4 teacher-child classroom ratio,
while providing in depth training and crucial field experience to future leaders in the field.

Future goals: Increase the number of

days of service. Continue to develop our service delivery model through data
driven intervention. Continue to develop our English Language Learner
curriculum to honor the 20 different home languages of the
children and use it as a base on which to build and extend children's language.
Increase enrollment by 10%.

Mission Statement


Marion Downs Center provides culturally sensitive services, resources,
education, and research to support the needs of individuals who are deaf or
hard of hearing or who have communication challenges, their families, and the
professionals who serve them. All MDC activities value individual and
family choice in communication and use of technology, striving to optimize the
quality of life for all that it serves. The MDC operates as a nonprofit
"Center of Excellence", developing and providing hearing, speech, and language
services and programs to the Colorado community.

The Marion Downs
Center's programs include:

RISE – Read, Imagine, Share, Explore: Building and supporting community-wide
literacy by equipping preschoolers and their families with fundamental
tools used in the development of English vocabulary, the ability to read
and write and the capacity to think creatively.

Connect and Grow Teen Program: Supporting teens with hearing loss
through Teen Day, an all-day event focused on preparing high school
students who are deaf and hard of hearing for life after high school &
Campus Connections, a 3 day conference for college bound teenagers who are
deaf and hard of hearing in partnership with the University of Colorado.

A hearing, speech, language, vision and developmental/learning
screening program to promote early identification of communication and
learning difficulties. Screenings
are not routinely available to all children through their schools or
childcare centers.

Marion's Way: The Marion Downs Center Summer Preschool
Projectis an intensive summer preschool program for children who are deaf
or hard of hearing incorporating a language-rich environment and
instruction with a focus on developing listening and spoken language

Hearing and Speech Bank: Hearing aids and related services can be
expensive and insurance coverage is not often available. MDC welcomes applicants for this program
to receive hearing aids and/or related services for low-income seniors or
younger adults with disabilities living on fixed incomes.

Hours of operation: 8:30-5:00PM

Program’s Demographics/Metrics

As a RISE intern I worked at many sites over the summer but

I developed a strong bond with one particular child that left a lasting
impression on me. My most rewarding experience was with a four-year-old girl named Gray Nay Paw at a RISE site. When I first met Gray Nay Paw, she was very reluctant to come to RISE and never wanted to leave her mother's side. Eryn
Weber Kaczka the RISE Director, decided to pair me up with Gray Nay Paw to provide consistency and help build a bond built on trust. I was assigned to pick her up from her apartment and give her my attention during our lessons to allow her to continue to develop and feel secure within the classroom
environment. In the beginning, Gray Nay Paw rarely made any kind of vocalizations, she was extremely timid, she seemed almost scared of coming to RISE, and she rarely interacted with the other kids in the program. After only a couple weeks however, I saw her begin to improve. She started to be much more interested in our daily activities, I saw that she had excellent fine motor skills as she could complete every craft completely on her own, and she started to smile and become more engaged with me.

As a couple more weeks went by, she started running out the door of her apartment to greet me, so excited that it was time for RISE. She tarted interacting much more with the other kids; she had one friend in particular that she constantly wanted to sit by and hold hands with. This was incredible to see when only weeks before she was reluctant to have any kind of interaction! When I left RISE at the end of the summer, Gray Nay Paw was by far the most improved kid I got to work with. You can see in the video that she would repeat new words I said to her, she would sing the songs we sang at the end of the lesson, and she was always excited to be at RISE and learning new things. She had completely transformed from when I first met her only a few months prior! Without a program like RISE, Gray Nay Paw never would have been prepared for kindergarten and I can't imagine how hard that transition would have been for her. I'm so glad to have had the privilege to work with this amazing little girl, but more importantly, she NEEDED RISE and the progress she made was amazing! Please consider Gray Nay Paw's story and consider to donate to RISE to allow to benefit kids like her!

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