Welcome to Rise Initiative

BellXcel launched Rise Initiative to address a critical need to expand access to high-quality out of school time (OST) programs for children, specifically in rural and Native/Indigenous communities.

The Rise Fellowship Program is an exclusive opportunity for youth leaders to access high-quality learning opportunities to elevate programming in their communities.



RISE logo

Introducing the Rise Fellowship Program

With thirty years of field experience, BellXcel knows that children learn best when supported by the adults they know, in the communities in which they live. The Rise Fellowship Program is designed to provide rural and Native/Indigenous youth-serving providers with coaching, tools and resources so they can introduce evidence-based practices into their OST programs and strengthen impacts for children and families. 

The Rise Fellowship Program is seeking a limited number of high-caliber applicants with demonstrated passion and commitment to elevating the potential of youth in their community. Through this two-year program, fellows will collaborate, network, and share insights, ensuring a collective journey toward success.

Applications have closed and are currently under review. Applicants will be notified individually of their status via email by April 19, 2024.



Fellowship Benefits

gold standard
Access 'gold standard' programming practices
Tap into 30+ years of proven practices, strategies and tools proven to drive strong youth outcomes from high-quality youth programming.
grow passion
Grow your passion for youth potential
Dedicate two years of learning to continuously strengthen your youth programming, organization and community impact.
Join a group dedicated to positive progress
Network with change makers to share practices and build the knowledge and action base for youth to thrive in rural, Native and Indigenous communities.
Elevate your leadership potential
Invest in two years of specialized professional development and one-to-one coaching devoted to realizing your potential.
Rise Fellowship Stipend
Receive a stipend for participating in the Rise Fellowship Program.
Applications have closed and are currently under review. Applicants will be notified individually of their status via email by April 19, 2024.

Our Commitment

At BellXcel, we recognize and deeply respect the rich cultural heritage and unique educational approaches of Indigenous out-of-school providers. We approach this work with humility, understanding the importance of preserving and honoring cultural traditions. Our intention is not to impose changes on your existing program, but rather to offer our support in enhancing the incredible work you are already doing. We understand that cultural sensitivity is paramount, and we are committed to actively listening and learning from your expertise. 

Throughout the program, BellXcel will remain conscious of the history of institutional oppression and disinvestment in Indigenous and Native populations, particularly through government and education agencies. We will focus on relationship-building and approaching communities with humility, respect, recognition of unique assets, and an inquiry-based lens.




Any questions? Email rise@bellxcel.org and we will look forward to connecting with you.



Damon Johnson

From first joining BellXcel’s team in 2008 as an enrichment teacher to growing regional operations by 300% as executive director of the Mid-Atlantic region, Damon has served in various roles at the local, regional, and national level. As an ambassador for BellXcel, Damon works with community and state education agencies, representing BellXcel at conferences and field building collaboratives across the country to build and support partnerships.

Connect with Damon on LinkedIn