Free app locates food, shelter and healthcare resources

MESA, Arizona – March 7, 2019 – Mesa Community College students conceptualized the development of RISE, an iOS app connecting people with sources for nominally priced food, shelter and healthcare. Conceived as a class project, the resource locator is now available in the Apple App Store.

“We know many of our students struggle not only to maintain their studies but to strike a work and life balance. It is hard to focus in class if you’re not sure where your next meal will come from or you don’t know where you will sleep,” said Dr. Rich Haney, MCC president. “It is moving to know students wanted to focus on a project to positively impact their fellow students and the community.”

The Resource Information Services for Everyone (RISE) app may be used by all Maricopa County Community College District students, plus other community college systems and higher education institutions. Ideally RISE will help students at MCC and others in the Maricopa County Community College District more easily connect with basic needs resources, affording more opportunities to focus energy on education verses where to find food, shelter and healthcare.

Studies such as those done by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab indicate more than a quarter of college students struggle with food security. The statistics are mirrored at MCC. RISE helps students privately identify resources to help meet basic needs.

“Although there are a number of nearby resources available to our community, we felt the issue was not having an easy, confidential way for people to locate the assistance they need. So the class took action to develop a solution; developing a RISE proof of concept in less than two weeks,” said Dave Levy, MCC faculty and lead RISE developer. “Even though the initial intent was to serve MCC students, the project is scalable and may be used by anyone, anywhere.”

RISE staff team at kiosk MCC leadership supported the effort from its inception.

“We are proud to have been one of the first schools in the country to offer Apple’s App Development with Swift curriculum to our students for credit. It is an absolute joy to be sharing the results of this collaborative effort to impact positive change for other students and our community,” said Dr. Linda Collins, chair, MCC Business and Information Systems.

The app allows locations to insert custom markers to aid organizations and businesses in promoting their resources to RISE app users.

The Everyone Can Code class surveyed MCC students and learned another stressor was finding their way on the large MCC Southern and Dobson Campus. This led to the addition of markers for on-campus registration, advisement and tutoring areas. Future updates may include custom filters to provide leads to transportation, veterans' services, disability resources, community outreach and employment.

A RISE kiosk is available in the library corridor of the MCC Southern and Dobson Campus for easy access by students and others who may not have access to an iOS mobile device.

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Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized by the Aspen Institute as one of the top 150 community colleges in the United States and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. The college serves as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs online and at its two campuses and additional locations. Through the implementation of Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services, MCC is transforming ways it champions student success; college completion, university transfer and career attainment for all students. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with a diverse student body, including more than 400 international students representing over 60 countries, who enrich campus learning experiences. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training to empower MCC students to compete locally and globally. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, MCC is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Learn more at

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, March 7, 2019