Nonprofit prepares to help community ‘rise together’ at Hattiesburg Hot Air Balloon Festival

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – The One Pine Belt organization plans to make a difference in the community with the help of hot air balloons.

RISE, a Hattiesburg-based nonprofit, will host the first Hattiesburg Hot Air Balloon Festival August 12-13. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the RISE community outreach program.

According to Executive Director Catherine Jorns, the program has been part of the Pine Belt for 22 years. They aim to educate, empower and encourage women and men to become self-reliant.

“Because anyone can learn how to get a job or how to interview,” Jorns said. “But, if you don’t have a better idea of ​​who you are, where you come from and what you want for the rest of your life, then this job won’t last. So we want to sow the future, not just for you but for your children, and create a family unit and grow in this community.

To achieve these goals, the organization runs year-long programs where participants learn valuable life and work-related skills through classroom instruction and real-world mentoring.

“What we do here at RISE, we’re very passionate about helping our men and women find their place,” Jorns said. “And so often as we at RISE begin to nurture and nurture our graduates, they enter the workforce through entry-level employment. These entry-level jobs come from our company (partners), and the more companies we have available, (the more job opportunities there are).

With the help of these businesses, RISE will host Hattiesburg’s first hot air balloon festival with family-friendly activities such as live music, food trucks, an art exhibit and 11 hot air balloon pilots.

“We have a great community,” Jorns said. “We have people who are so diverse; we have people of all colors and walks of life, but they’re all good and they’re all genuine. And so, we love Hattiesburg, and we want to spotlight Hattiesburg and RISE together. So we want to bring people from outside the community to Hattiesburg.

The festival will take place at the Forrest County Multipurpose Center and is free to the public.

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