Blog

Welcome, Brenda Paulin!

By Chelsea
October 27th,2017

Meet Brenda, our newest Succeeding by Reading Clinic Coordinator. She is a retired federal service Human Resources Director. During her over 40 years of service, she managed and directed a large staff of professionals who performed the full range of human resources duties, including training and development. Her involvement with Children Rising began at least five years ago as a Succeeding by Reading tutor. Brenda is the grandmother of 5, including Frank, a law student at New York’s Columbia University, and Nia who is graduating soon from University of California, Davis.

 

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Make Hard Things Easy

By Chelsea
October 27th,2017

Dear Children Rising Community,

As our staff, volunteers, and community partners once again team with our school districts to support at-promise children within the East Bay, we believe the more we “can make hard things easy”, the more Children Rising and our partners are able to make a profound difference through our various programs.

First, we do our best to make it easy for school districts to utilize our various programs as they strive to close the achievement gap for students – a critically important objective along the way to improved social justice.

Second, we provide our volunteers with training, tools, and coaching so it is easier for them to have the type of quality interaction with a student that will create a lasting impact and substantially improve the trajectory of that student’s life.

This week as a newly minted Math Tutor, I began a quest to make math easier for four fifth-graders who are struggling at a second grade level of math fluency.  Each, of course, is struggling for different reasons and each are brilliant in other areas, such as science and reading. When asked about their favorite subjects or activities, they positively light up. When asked about how they feel about math, a dark cloud of tiredness and discouragement suddenly hovers over them. All four students are eager to have help with making something that is now hard to them much easier.

That is what we hope to do through all of our programs – generating inspiration, removing roadblocks, and building confidence.  It’s a real gift to be able to spend a couple of hours each week with these special children. If you haven’t tried it yet, take it from me, it will make your day! And… we make it easy for you!

For the Children,

 

 

Jim Wambach

 

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From West Oakland to Cal: One Student’s Journey

By Chelsea
October 27th,2017

by Eric Steckel, CareerBridge mentor

I met Quaylin Wesley – or Quay as his friends call him – in the spring of 2016. He had recently completed his junior year at McClymonds High School (known colloquially as “Mack”) in West Oakland and was about to begin a summer internship at tech giant Intel, one that Children Rising’s CareerBridge program had coordinated and prepared him for. Quay had never had a job so he was really being forced out of his comfort zone. At Mack, he loaded his academic schedule with advanced placement classes and was a three-sport student athlete. However he had very few aspirations for his career. As his CareerBridge mentor, my role was to support him throughout the internship.

Over the course of the summer, Quay and I met regularly. He had an infectious smile and was very outgoing. We immediately struck up a good relationship. We discussed how he could learn about career options as well as expand his network. By the end of his time at Intel, he was excited by the opportunity to pursue a career in engineering or computer information systems, and had dreams of attending the University of California (Cal) at Berkeley. We had also formed a unique friendship and continued to meet even after the official mentoring period ended.

This past spring, Quay applied for Children Rising’s Eddie College Scholarship, awarded to students who have completed the two-year CareerBridge mentorship and internship program. I had encouraged him throughout the application process. As I sat next to him during the Children Rising gala, where the scholarship was to be awarded, I had no idea how nervous he was. Funds from the scholarship would go a long way toward his dreams of attending college. That night, Quay was one of three scholarship award winners. He was smiling from ear to ear, and I couldn’t have been more proud. It was exciting to see how Children Rising had provided him support throughout his high school years.

This fall, Quay achieved his dream of enrolling at Cal. It’s been a long and difficult road, but Quay never doubted himself. Way to go, Quay!

 

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October Announcements

By Pearl
October 2nd,2017

Reading clinics have just started, but it’s not at all too late to join.

There are many struggling readers in need of tutors. We are always recruiting tutors, even during the school year.

Email volunteer@children-rising.org to sign up for a training session. And bring a friend!

Saturday, October 7, 9:00 – 11:30 am

Tuesday, October 17, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

Saturday, November 4, 9:00 – 11:30 am

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Our annual Matching Fund Campaign is kicking off soon!

Keep an eye on your mail for the details, which we will be sending out later this month.

 

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Perspectives…

By Children Rising
October 2nd,2017

For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other. – Millard Fuller

Dear Children Rising Community,

Children Rising’s ability to serve is made possible through a wonderful and diverse community of love and care. Every day we see examples of how this community is improving the potential and quality of lives for the children we are so privileged to have in our lives – whether it is Karyn’s dedication to excellence, which is supported by partners such as CalTrans, or our volunteer tutors and mentors who invest their time to learn how best to help a child in reading, math, or life. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to each and every member of this very special community.

For the Children,

Jim

 

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Student Spotlight: Karyn Lee

By Pearl
October 2nd,2017

In September, our CareerBridge directors Margena Wade-Green and Michelle Hutcherson received a wonderful email from a CareerBridge student.

Karyn Lee at Caltrans

Subject: Thank You

Dear Ms. Margena and Ms. Michelle,

I never got the chance to formally thank you for giving me an opportunity to intern at Caltrans through your program. I learned so much and it was an experience that I will never forget. I liked Caltrans so much that I decided to apply for a permanent intern position. I am happy to share that I was offered the position and I start this Friday. I will be working in the same department that I interned in. This opportunity would not have been possible if it wasn’t for you ladies. I am forever grateful, thank you!

Sincerely,

Karyn Lee

Karyn, we are so happy for you! CareerBridge exists so that we can give you and other resilient students opportunities, training, and experience to pursue a successful career. Thank you for letting us know how we’ve helped you!

From Michelle Hutcherson, Assistant Director of CareerBridge: My first impression of Karyn was that she was shy and quiet. Once you spend any length of time with her, you learn that, wow, this young lady is full of personality, very sharp, bold, beautiful, and speaks her mind.  It was a real pleasure working with Karyn this summer.

About Karyn Lee: Karyn, 21, worked as an Intern at Caltrans in the Public Affairs Department through CareerBridge this past summer. At 13, her father passed away, making the transition into high school very hard. She attended 5 high schools and a boarding school before dropping out, defeated. 

When Karyn turned 17, she realized that she had zero school credits. She decided not to let life get the best of her. Karyn enrolled in an independent studies program in Oakland and completed 4 years of high school in 2 years with honors. She was accepted to 29 colleges and is currently majoring in English at Holy Names University. When she graduates, she will pursue a career in journalism. In her spare time she enjoys singing and writing a blog. Karyn wants others to know, it’s never too late to reach your goals. Perseverance is the key to being successful in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Times of Refreshing

By Pearl
October 2nd,2017

Returning tutors learning from Rebecca Buckley, Director of SbR

On a bright Wednesday morning in September, close to fifty reading tutors filled our Children Rising office almost to bursting. The event? Our yearly Returning Tutor Refresher Training.

Some attendees were returning tutors who joined us just last year or who are coming back after a hiatus. Others were long-time tutors who have faithfully come back year after year, but still welcome the chance to refresh and refine their methods for the sake of their students. Every struggling reader is different and so even seasoned tutors benefit from a refresher course and learning from other tutors.

This will be the fifth year that I’ve done the tutoring. I just enjoy it so much because the kids are so happy for the attention. They love to come and they love to make progress. It’s just a feel-good day all the way around. For me too ‘cause I feel like I’m helping and really accomplishing something with them. – Carole Johnson, Reading Tutor

Tutor Andy Anderson and Clinic Coordinator Gwen Stephens

One thing that tutors appreciated at this refresher training was a color-coded visual organization of the Emerging Readers’ Learning Sequence. Each of five colors represents a learning level. Teaching tools are labeled by correspondingly colored dots. This helps tutors to know which materials to use and what books to move onto once their student has mastered a level in a specific area, such as sight words or phonics.

Because volunteers are Children Rising’s most valuable resource, we prioritize training, guidance, and ongoing support for our volunteers. In Succeeding by Reading, that means new tutor trainings, returning tutor trainings, an abundance of carefully selected learning materials, and clinic coordinators who provide onsite guidance and supervision. Our hope is to cultivate volunteers so that we can serve more students every year and have a deep impact on each individual child.

 

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