a·rise /əˈrīz/ "to come into being"

What is Arise?

Arise is social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that equips young children with fundamental life skills needed to stay safe, build confidence and navigate the challenges of everyday conflict and interactions with peers and others.

We offer programs, workshops and classes for a variety of community groups.

We combine non-combative self defense techniques and exercise, with activities (journalling, art + drama) that tackle important topics and spark meaningful discussions.

Core Values

Our Vision

We envision a safe and empowering community where we engage and equip young people to communicate well and live safe and meaningful lives.


Arise's programs are designed for school-aged children to introduce them to healthy habits, including regular exercise and healthy communication and conflict skills. Our programs focus on building physical and mental strength, awareness and self confidence in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Exercise is proven to enhance physical strength, improves mental development, support sleep, and positively influence self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Self-defense Techniques are a fun way for young children to gain autonomy and confidence in their bodies; our non-combative approach is fun, engaging and empowering.

  • Communication + Conflict Skills are valuable life skills needed to stay safe, make friends and enjoy life.


Children learn better by doing than by being told or shown what to do. Practice and role playing in a safe and fun environment can help children be emotionally safer. Like many activities we do, the practice of safety skills is stored in our mind and felt in our bodies as ‘muscle memory’. Children who have practiced how to respond appropriately to different situations are likely to do what they’ve practiced in real life.

We use a “whole-being approach” to safety and empowerment. This means we seek to strengthen the whole-being; the physical, mental, social, emotional and virtual dimensions of an individual.

Jess gave us the kind of respect you almost never get from adults and which you can feel right away
— Eiko, age 14

Arise Team


Jessie Gordon - Founder of Arise

Jess is an internationally recognized and qualified teacher living in Vancouver, Canada. Originally from England, Jess began her ultimate adventure into youth work over ten years ago. Since then, she has completed her BA Child and Youth Care Counselling from Douglas College and Bachelor of Education from Simon Fraser University.

Jess has over 11 years of experience working with different communities (including LGBTQ, developmental disabilities and those affected by mental health) in the capacity of education, recreation, programming, research and curriculum development.

Having never been a particularly athletic person growing up, it was in 2016 that Jess found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and it changed her life. It was the physical and mental game, along with the community, that kept drawing her back to the mats time and time again and connected her to a new found strength and confidence.

It is from these areas and experiences in her life that Jess founded Arise.

Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt

Advisors and Partners