Blog

“I Want To Soar” Project

By Jim Wambach
October 24th,2019

I Want To Soar

Will YOU join us in helping a vulnerable child SOAR? Your gift will help us reach more children who desperately need the chance to rise above the challenges they face.

Right now, there is an education crisis affecting our city’s most vulnerable children. Each year, approximately 1,800 children in the Oakland Unified School District will complete second grade substantially behind in basic reading and math skills. These children will not have the skills required to learn and grow in the third grade. Worse, they will not have a fair chance of achieving success in middle school, high school, and beyond.

“I want to soar!”

Every one of those second graders wants to soar! They want an opportunity to fly high and do something wonderful in life.

“Their future, OUR future, will be determined by what we do NOW!

Their future, our future, will be determined by what we do NOW! Children Rising is making a generational impact in our community schools and, more importantly, in the lives of thousands of struggling children and youth. We train and support hundreds of caring adults to be one-on-one tutors for the children who need it the most.

While the solution is simple, it is not easy, given the high number of children who need extra attention and support early in school. Children Rising has the audacious goal of enabling 1,000 volunteers who can assist 2,000 students by 2022. We envision a city where every struggling student is reached by a caring community at a critical time in their life to provide hope, the courage to dream, and opportunity to thrive.

Will YOU join us in helping a vulnerable child SOAR?

Your gift will help us reach more children who desperately need the chance to rise above the challenges they face. Because of the generosity of several donors, every dollar given online will be matched up $50,000 if received by December 3rd.

If we meet our goal we can support 200 more children through one-on-one tutoring in math and reading.

For the children,

Jim

PS, IF you give online, an additional gift will be given by We Raise Foundation!

 I want to help a vulnerable child SOAR!

CareerBridge Provides Opportunity For Hadiya To Give Back To Her Community

By Eric Steckel
October 22nd,2019

Hadiya, CareerBridge student

CareerBridge – and her own past experiences – inspired Hadiya to give back to her community and help others.

One of our greatest hopes is that we can inspire and enable CareerBridge students to give back to the community. Hadiya, a CareerBridge alum and a recipient of our Eddie College Scholarship, is one who is fulfilling that hope!

Hadiya joined our program as a junior in high school. She carried herself with poise and confidence, juggling the demands of both academics and club volleyball with grace. But we learned during her scholarship interview that Hadiya had a difficult time early in high school. Despite being an accomplished student-athlete – or perhaps because of it – she was bullied by other students. Like with so many youths, the bullying chipped away at her self-esteem.

“I worried about what others were saying about me, and I was falling into depression,” she bravely admitted. “My mother, a law enforcement officer, reminded me that I was ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and that she faces bullies every day. She didn’t allow other people’s words to affect who she is – a child of God. After that pep talk and a whole lot of prayer, I never again allowed their actions to bring me down.”

“I used my own difficult experiences to help others in a way no one else can.”

With newfound confidence, Hadiya made the decision to help others. She joined her high school’s Link Crew program, where she used her own experiences to help underclassman with issues like social anxiety and adjusting to high school. She also sought out opportunities to uplift her community.

CareerBridge was happy to connect her with Today’s Youth Matter (TYM) and City Team Oakland. After Hadiya completed her first CareerBridge internship in 2018, program director Margena Wade-Green encouraged her to become a TYM camp counselor, which she did for two years. As a cabin leader, Hadiya counseled young girls, all of whom come from very traumatic backgrounds. She also found time to prepare and serve food to the homeless at City Team.

Hadiya in volleyball uniform

In addition to being a top student and star athlete, Hadiya juggled a CareerBridge internship, Today’s Youth Matter camp schedule, and college application demands, so that she could participate – and excel – in all three.

“She juggled a CareerBridge internship, TYM camp schedule, and college application demands, so that she could also participate – and excel – in all three,” said CareerBridge director Margena Wade-Green. “These were all incredibly demanding. But she didn’t just ‘move on’ – she took on more responsibility.”

That attitude served her well during her internship at the Kylie Walsh Osteopathy clinic this past summer. Dr. Kylie Walsh was so impressed by Hadiya’s digital marketing strategy that she hired Hadiya to manage the clinic’s marketing platform while she is away at college.

Today, we are proud that Hadiya is at Loyola Marymount University where she will put her scholarship money to good use. But we are prouder still that she demonstrates the power of perseverance and a commitment to give back to her community each and every day.

YES, I CAN help a struggling child reach their God-given potential.

 I want to attend an upcoming mentor or tutor orientation session to see if it is right for me!

 I want help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year.

Rhema: A Little Girl Who Dreams of a Book In Every Child’s Hands

By Eric Steckel
October 21st,2019

I met Rhema and her father, Pastor David Hatfield-Dyels, at the June Hope For Children Now Gala. They were guests of Children Rising board member James Branch.

Rhema loves to read — two books a week. “Reading to me is like watching a movie in 3D,” she explains.

Inspired to share her love of reading with others, she dreamed of getting free books in the hands of children. And she was determined to make that dream a reality.

Fast forward a few months. The Rhema Reading Mobile is taking shape. It will provide young people free books and “change generations through the LOVE of reading.”

“Rhema’s goal is to ‘change generations through the LOVE of reading.’”

Children Rising couldn’t be more supportive of Rhema’s lofty goal. We are partnering with Rhema to help get the Reading Mobile out on the streets of Oakland and, more importantly, books into the hands of children.

Please join us Saturday, October 26th at Lake Merritt United Methodist Church for the Rhema Word Worship Celebration, a fundraiser and celebration supporting the Rhema Reading Mobile. It is a free event, and all are welcome. Together, we can not only help a little girl see her dream come to reality – we’ll be putting more books into the hands of eager young readers. Now that’s a partnership we can all get behind.

Rhema Word Worship Celebration, supporting the Rhema Reading Mobile

When: Saturday, October 26th at 12:00 PM
Where: Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Ave; Oakland, CA 94606
More Information: (510) 473-2410

Alicia Lays a Foundation and Learns to Read

By Jessie Palmatier
October 16th,2019

La Escualita students and tutors

One-to-one tutors like Janet (far left) build close relationships with struggling children like Alicia (not pictured). Trust lays a foundation for students to learn.

When we first met Alicia*, she was a second-grader at La Escuelita Elementary School who had trouble reading at a kindergarten grade level. Alicia built a close relationship with her Succeeding By Reading tutor Janet and told Janet that her mom had gone away. In order to maintain her Spanish skills to communicate with her mother when she returned, Alicia was enrolled in a bilingual class at school. Her father spoke Chinese at home, and it seemed as though there was no one in the family who was able to read with Alicia in English.

During that first year of tutoring, Alicia did not make much measurable progress, finishing the school year at the same reading level as when the year began. Janet could see that Alicia had potential and that she truly cared about learning, but the trauma of being separated from her mother and a lack of English language usage at home was making it difficult for her to move forward. Janet advocated that we work with Alicia again the following year, and requested to be her tutor once again.

Early in the following school year, Alicia excitedly told Janet that her mother had returned.

“From that day on,” Janet recalls, “she began to make progress. It was like a light bulb had switched on.” After Alicia got to a point where she could read some books on her own at the clinic, Janet made a deal with her that they would each individually read for 20 minutes every evening. By the end of the year, Alicia had caught up to her peers and was reading at a third-grade level!

“By the time she was ready to learn, she had the support, the tools, and the foundation to be able to fly.”

Janet points out that Alicia is a great reminder that this work is truly an investment and, sometimes, one with slow returns.

“She kind of just sat there for a year, and wasn’t able to make any progress while she struggled through a very traumatic experience,” Janet says. But, “by the time she was ready to learn, she had the support, the tools, and the foundation to be able to fly.”

Recalling other students who may not have experienced the “light switch moment” that Alicia did, Janet believes that the foundation work she laid was just as important. With the support and encouragement from a caring adult, when the child is ready, they will have the tools they need to rise above their challenges regardless of whether we are lucky enough to watch it happen.

*Name changed to maintain confidentiality

Reading Tutor with student

Tutoring a struggling child in reading or math is truly an investment and, sometimes, one with slow returns.

 

Tutor Training in October:

SbR Tutor Training

Wednesday, October 23, 3:00 – 5:30 pm
2633 Telegraph Ave, #412, Oakland 94612

 

YES, I CAN help a struggling child reach their God-given potential.

 I want to attend an upcoming tutor orientation session to see if tutoring is right for me!

 I want help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year.

A ‘Fun-loving’ Child Focuses on Math and Gets Back to Grade-level

By Eric Steckel
October 8th,2019

Aadae smiling at school

Your support of one-to-one tutoring gave Aadae the belief that she was smart and could master math skills.

Once you meet Aadae*, you can’t help but agree with her teacher and math tutor’s descriptions of her. Joyful. Full of life. Fun-loving. Very energetic. A people-pleaser. A precocious little girl who can “uplift you.”

At the start of her second-grade year, Aadae needed help and fast. She didn’t have the foundational math skills necessary to understand the curriculum. Her teacher Ms. Kelly Haider was concerned that she would fall even further behind. Fortunately, Ms. Haider knew just who to turn to.

Cheryl Gipson had been a Path2Math tutor for several years. She and Ms. Haider had developed a working relationship that helped them reach struggling students. “Cheryl was somebody that I knew I could give Aadae to, who I knew Aadae would not run over, who I knew would be able to help,” Ms. Haider explained.

Aadae was bright and eager to learn. Cheryl just needed to harness that youthful energy and enthusiasm. “There were some days when I had to kind of settle her down,” explained Cheryl, “But she was a very good student. She was very easy to teach because she always took the time to listen and really get what you’re talking about and how you were going about it.”

Sometimes Aadae would surprise her math tutor with more advanced math, like multiplication. “As it turns out,” Cheryl said, “one of her brothers or sisters would take the time to help her.” Cheryl was pleased to hear about the support at home and encouraged Aadae to keep asking her siblings for help.

“All they’re looking for is love, and love can really change a child’s perspective in a whole different way.”

With such a team by her side, Aadae worked hard and began helping other kids! “After learning a lot of the skills from Cheryl, she was raising her hand on her own,” Ms. Haider said. “When she got a concept and she knew another student was struggling with it, she would try to help them with it. She felt confident.”

Ms. Haider has absolutely no doubt about the importance of “that amazing group that helps with math.” She observed, “A lot of it was just Aadae having somebody else in her corner rooting for her. That’s what Cheryl really was able to be, she was able to be that friend and mentor.”

“Sometimes you don’t know how much it really can impact little kids, because little kids are just innocent, and all they’re looking for is love,” explained Cheryl, “And love can really change a child’s perspective in a whole different way.”

*Name changed to maintain confidentiality

Aadae playing on playground

Our vision is that every struggling child is reached by a caring community at a critical time in their life to nurture hope, the courage to dream, and the opportunity to thrive.

Tutor Training in October:

SbR Tutor Training

Wednesday, October 23, 3:00 – 5:30 pm
2633 Telegraph Ave, #412, Oakland 94612

YES, I CAN help a struggling child reach their God-given potential.

 I want to attend an upcoming tutor orientation session to see if tutoring is right for me!

 I want help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year.