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Children Rising Celebrates Our 30th Tutoring Clinic!

By Eric Steckel
February 27th,2020

Students at the Grass Valley Path2Math clinic

Your support allows us to respond to heartfelt needs from our community schools so we may help struggling students soar to their potential.

In early January, Children Rising opened a Path2Math clinic at Grass Valley Elementary School. This marked a milestone as we celebrated our 30th tutoring clinic. What makes it special is that it bears the hallmarks of Children Rising initiatives since our very beginning as Faith Network of the East Bay.

Late last fall, Casey Beckner, the principal at Grass Valley Elementary School, called Children Rising. She asked if we could provide tutoring in math and reading to the many students she observed to be two grade levels behind. Although we don’t normally begin clinics in the middle of the year, we understood the gravity of the situation. Like the very first school we worked in – Burbank Elementary School – there was a heartfelt need. We agreed to roll up our sleeves and partner with Grass Valley for the children.

Margena Wade-Green, Path2Math program director, and Michelle Hutcherson, Path2Math program manager, went to Grass Valley and conducted assessments. They found the majority of the students were indeed one to two grade levels behind where they should be. Although we did not have tutors available to serve Grass Valley, Margena and Michelle were undeterred. They revised the curriculum, found Barbara, an eager new tutor, and began working with 15 of the lowest-performing students.

Barbara, Path2Math tutor, works with a student

Volunteer math tutors like Barbara make it possible for vulnerable children to catch up to their peers in school.

“It’s not hard work, and it’s a labor of love. It is so gratifying to see the children leave our clinic happy and with a better attitude toward learning, and that makes all the difference in their development. We make sure they leave on a high note, even if it’s the only one they have all day.” – Margena Wade Green

The biggest hurdle to overcome was to encourage and incentivize learning. “The children simply did not have the structure or foundation to learn, nor the consistency in their instruction,” Margena said. “Many of the kids have a tendency to give up. We are providing a foundation to learn and, just as importantly, the encouragement to not give up.”

Things are going very well so far. The children are excited to learn and empowered by the opportunity. “It’s not hard work, and it’s a labor of love. It is so gratifying to see the children leave our clinic happy and with a better attitude toward learning, and that makes all the difference in their development. We make sure they leave on a high note, even if it’s the only one they have all day.”

Path2Math students at Grass Valley

You are helping us to expand our services in Grass Valley Elementary School and help many more children in math and reading.

We look forward to expanding our partnership with Grass Valley Elementary School. Since the start of our Path2Math clinic, we have been working to launch a Succeeding by Reading clinic and are eager to begin next year with a full head of steam.

Like the many other schools we serve, there is so much need at Grass Valley. If you are interested in being a math or reading tutor, this is your opportunity to come alongside a vulnerable child and empower them to rise to their God-given potential. Become a tutor now!

YES, I CAN help a vulnerable child SOAR to their God-given potential.

 I want to visit a math or reading clinic to see if it is right for me!

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

“The Border Is Here” – What Can We Do About It?

By Eric Steckel
February 20th,2020

Perspectives Article by Eric Steckel, Communications Manager

“I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.” – Harriet Tubman

For many of the children we tutor, English is their second language.

For many of the children we tutor, English is their second language, and they are struggling to overcome the language barrier in school.

Last week, Children Rising participated in the Project Peace Speaker Series event “The Border Is Here”. The panel discussion included a wide array of speakers discussing the issues surrounding immigration from unique perspectives of housing, education, policy, the legal system, and the specific East Bay context.

As Rev. Deborah Lee, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, stated from the outset, there were going to be elements of the conversation that would make us squirm in our seats. That certainly reflects the complex nature of the immigration debate in our country. However, whatever your personal beliefs, it was refreshing to be in a room with people of good will, exploring and pondering the difficult questions we as a nation, a state, and a region are confronting.

“42% of the students we tutor in reading and math are Latino. 30% are English learners, speaking their native language at home and struggling with English at school.”

The issue of immigration, and “the stranger in our midst,” touches Children Rising on a daily basis. As I interviewed Succeeding by Reading clinic coordinator Gwen Stephens for a recent newsletter article, I was reminded that for many of the children we tutor, English is their second language. 42% of the students we tutor in reading and math are Latino. 30% are English learners, speaking their native language at home and struggling with English at school. Indeed, for our tutors, the border is here. Children Rising is doing something about it by teaching these children fundamental reading and math skills so they can rise above the additional challenges of learning in a second language.

Find something sustainable and close to your heart that you can do to make a difference.

Find something sustainable and close to your heart that you can do to make a difference in the life of a struggling child.

As the evening concluded, a question came in from the audience: What do you recommend we do about it? For people of good will, that is the question that leads to action, and several of the responses were empowering.

  1. Go to another event and become involved in finding a solution. It’s easy, but don’t stop here.
  2. Find something sustainable and close to your heart that you can do to make a difference. Then commit to it.

The good news? The opportunity is at hand to empower these and many other vulnerable children who are surrounded by poverty and attending severely under resourced schools. One-on-one tutors meeting with students each week, are nurturing hope, the courage to dream, and the opportunity to thrive – and making a generational impact in our community, one precious child at a time.

YES, I CAN help a vulnerable child rise above the challenges of learning in a second language.

 I want to visit a math or reading clinic to see if it is right for me!

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