RISE partners with area college to combat suicide

Riverhead’s RISE Life Services has teamed up with New York Institute of Technology to increase access to suicide prevention resources for Long Islanders.

The partnership was announced at a celebration at the organization’s Sensory Garden on Sound Shore Road on Oct. 27. New York Institute of Technology is an accredited not-for-profit university. They have a campus on Long Island in Old Westbury and in New York City.

The collaboration includes an internship for NYIT’s medical students with RISE, a contest for NYIT’S architectural students to design a new multi-acre headquarters for RISE and an opportunity for RISE to partner with other departments at NYIT.

“There’s a lot of big pieces here, we’re looking at every angle and it’s wonderful that they’re doing all this,” said Charles Evdos, executive director at RISE Life Services.

Mr. Evdos has a lot of plans for RISE Life Services. This collaboration will help with the organizations goal of a new headquarters. They are currently renting their headquarters on East Main Street. 

“They are creating the drawings for that headquarters, which will allow me to go to various funders, foundations, individuals to seek money for that new headquarters,” Mr. Evdos said. “One of my big dreams has been to open up a 36-acre facility that pretty much has all our sites in one location. Plus, have the administrative headquarters close by and also include a supermarket and an urgent care facility.”

Mr. Evdos added that they have no parcel of land for the new headquarters yet. While he hopes to keep the headquarters in Riverhead, he is willing to go out of town but keep the headquarters nearby. He said that the organization hopes to achieve these goals by the end of 2024.

The internship program will also be a “big help,” he said.

“The clinicians work for us a number of hours each week, and that will help bring down our costs,” Mr. Evdos said. He said he hopes to be able to hire some of the interns for more permanent positions down the road.

The partnership came when Mr. Evdos was introduced to NYIT’s director of the Center for Behavioral Health, Liat Jarkon.

“She fell in love with the place, our agency,” Mr. Evdos added. “She introduced me to basically every dean at NYIT, it was amazing.”

Times Review contacted Ms. Jarkon for comment but there was no response prior to press time.

RISE Life Services, previously known as Aid to the Developmentally Disabled, was established in Riverhead in 1980 to provide a range of services to developmentally disabled, mentally ill and dual-diagnosed adults.