A Message from William Haynes, One of RYSE's First Youth Members


William Haynes was one of RYSE’s earliest members and I remember fondly his time as a member of the Digital Justice Team.

It became evident almost immediately that Will was extremely talented and had a passion for creating art and media. He had a desire to learn and grow as a media producer, and worked hard at his craft. What impressed me the most however, was Will’s deep commitment to his community and his love for those around him. As a member of the first RYSE Leadership Team after opening our doors in 2008, Will was an instrumental part of shaping the early years of the youth-driven culture here at RYSE. From the videos he produced, to the ways he engaged in conversations with his peers, to the way he represented RYSE is various community settings, Will is part of a legacy of amazing young people who have found their power in building the beloved community that they want for themselves and their loved ones here in Richmond. As an early leader in the space, Will was an active participant in shaping and defining RYSE’s mission, vision, and values that continue to guide our efforts today.

As a teenager, Will was undoubtedly shy, but also incredibly charismatic when he found himself in his natural environment of creating, performing, and hosting videos and events. Even as an uncertain teenager beginning to find his way in this world, Will was driven by his passion and desire to work himself into the entertainment industry. He was consistently able to work through his fears to put himself out there as a comedian, media-maker, and perhaps most importantly a community leader.  Here at RYSE, we are extremely proud of all that Will was at RYSE, all that he is today as a professional in the entertainment industry, and all that he will become in his future.

As grateful as Will is for the role that RYSE played in shaping his younger years, those of us at RYSE are honored to have watched him grow from a shy young teenager to an amazing young man who continues to serve as a leader in his own ways.

Dan Reilly
Director of Innovation

Send RYSE a Birthday Gift to celebrate and support free and empowering programs for our communities’ young people.

Here’s to 10 More Years of Youth Power, and to lifting up the voices of young people like Will Haynes.

Thank you gifts include limited run commemorative posters, t-shirts, and enamel pins.
See the donation levels below!

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Have you RSVP’d yet for
10 Years & RYSing Club Night

Fundraiser for RYSE Center
Food | Drink | Music | Dance
Friday, Oct 26, 2018
5:30 - 8:30 PM at RYSE Center

Tickets start at $10 and include drink & food.
Open to all who are 21 years and older.