Empowering native youth to live healthy lives; By providing awareness, prevention and character enrichment using sport as a platform.


Jaci McCormack, an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe co-founded Rise Above with Brad Meyers. The idea of using basketball as a modality to reach kids morphed from the previous experiences of Jaci and Brad. They both led successful careers as basketball players, playing at Washington State University and Illinois State University. However, it was not from basketball but from their experience working with American Indian youth in prevention and adolescent treatment this idea was formed. They took concepts used by previous organizations and formed a unique program in Rise Above. Rise Above meets kids where they are at currently to address important issues around healthy living.
The name ‘Rise Above’ was chosen when Jaci was reading a professional development book, which was talking about always rising above your current circumstances. It was an ‘aha’ moment for her as she and Brad were finalizing the Youth Prevention program. Jaci liked the name ‘Rise Above’ because it can be used on so many levels. Although the vehicle to attract youth is sport, Rise Above is dedicated to empower youth through education and prevention. Rise Above basketball, Rise Above your current circumstances to live your best life each day. Simply put, Jaci just fell in love with the name and thought it was a perfect match for the mission, Rise Above! 

Why Basketball? 

Our programs at Rise Above focus more on effort and lesson talent. Talent counts, but effort can level the field for youth. A child that puts in a lot of effort will always out-do a child who has talent with no effort.

We have adopted these principles based on Sheryl G. Feinstein and Eric Jensen, authors of "Secrets of the Teenage Brain: Research-Based Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Today's Adolescents":
  • The development of the pariental lobe helps teen athletes improve their pace.
  • Physical movement helps the cerebellum develop, thereby helping teens to improve their cognitive processing skills.
  • Teens are extremely vulnerable to addiction, and adolescent addictions are harder to break. Rise Above Prevention Clinics provide awareness, prevention and education related to drug, alcohol and tobacco use prevention. Studies show kids are experimenting at much earlier ages, which is why early education and prevention is critical.
  • Our instructors provide positive feedback, which has been shown to improve the brain's efficiency. Teenagers also value adult influence, even though they may complain about it.
  • Teens crave structure and organization in spite of their attraction to novelty. Our basketball camps provide structure, discipline and hard work.