A Time to Build Up

By Children Rising | January 27th,2018

by Jim Wambach, Executive Director

Children Rising is in the midst of an exciting season as 2018 begins.  Building on the program benefits realized by the many “at-promise” children in our community during the last several school years, we are aggressively investing in our ability to both enhance these programs and to make it possible to serve even more children.

This is a particularly important time for us to have a heightened focus on enhanced programming and expanding the delivery of our programs. When the school year began, we were aware that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), the primary district we support, was facing serious budgetary challenges. Since then, a $9 million budget reduction for the current school year has been implemented. This further reduces funding at the individual school sites, driving up already stressed student-teacher ratios while greatly reducing – and even eliminating – additional student support services.

 

Students at the STEAM Lab at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School

 

The many OUSD schools we serve clearly need more of our support as they work through these key fiscal challenges over the next several years. We stand poised to provide additional help to the schools that are feeling the stress. Accordingly, our board agreed on a budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year that allowed for an additional investment of $125,000 into our programs, a significant portion of our overall budget.

Over the past 6 months we have grown our program staffing levels in order to increase both our capacity for program development and our ability to support more children. Our entire staff has been working diligently to enhance program content, improve learning tools, and improve program benefit measurements – all while continuing to support our 300 wonderful volunteers who are helping more than 1,100 children in over 25 schools!

We are excited about this time of growth and, with continued prayers and the support of our community, we hope to be able to provide more benefits to more of Oakland’s at-promise children in the coming months and years.