SAN ANTONIO — One idea can be worth $1,000, thanks to the local nonprofit organization Awesome SA. 

Each month, the great minds of San Antonio gather and pitch their ideas, with prize money later awarded to the top pitch. One of those grant recipients was Little Free Libraries. 

With the help of that $1,000 investment, they’ve grown into an organization that’s now motivating readers across the country. No one would’ve guessed that an Awesome microgrant of $1,000 given five years ago would prepare the way for a revolutionary program introduced last year by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

Raising & Inspiring Successful Entrepreneurs, better known as R.I.S.E., is a curriculum and a vision dreamed up to aim local youth at successful futures by imparting principles of character, attitude, self-leadership and financial literacy.

At the center of this mission is San Antonio’s First Lady and Chairwoman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Erika Prosper Nirenberg. 

“One of the things I wanted to do as chair of the Hispanic Chamber in 2018 was to create something for parents who wanted to be involved in their children’s success, but don’t know where to start or what to do,” she said.

The interactive lessons invite the follow-up participation and reflection from youth and parents. Retired Spurs center David Robinson offered his endorsement for the curriculum.

“This is a unique opportunity that empowers parents to teach their children qualities that will help them to become successful and become leaders," Robinson said.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Awesome SA are working diligently toward putting this book in the hands of each San Antonio child, and through the Little Free Libraries and the efforts of other partners, they’ve taken exciting strides toward their goal. R.I.S.E. workbooks are shared through little libraries around the city, and kids are encouraged to work through them with their parents. 

Every child that claims a copy of R.I.S.E and completes it will be given an opportunity to apply for a $1,000 Awesome SA grant, no strings attached and no follow-up reporting required.

“We want these kids to know that we trust them and believe in them,” said Claudia Loya-Duran, dean of Awesome SA.

Click here to download a free copy of R.I.S.E. Books can also be requested at the Hispanic Chamber's main office.