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Memorial Day Blessings

By Children Rising
May 31, 2021

From all of us at Children Rising, thank you for your service to our country and our community.

Today we once again honor all those who gave their lives in active service to our country. Thank you. You are not forgotten.

We also want to reflect on all of those we have lost throughout this most difficult year. So many front-line workers — doctors, nurses, teachers, grocery store clerks, and more — heroically gave their time, and in many instances their lives, battling the COVID-19 pandemic. We have said tearful goodbyes to so many.

From all of us at Children Rising, thank you for your service to our country and our community.

Rita Moreno Shares Her Passion for Childhood Education

By Eric Steckel
May 27, 2021

Rita Moreno is a national treasure. She has won Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards as an actress, singer, and performer. Although she has been in the limelight for nearly 70 years, her story is a uniquely American one. And Children Rising was honored to have Rita as our special guest at Hope for Children Now LIVE.

Rita came to the United States when she was five years old. “I didn’t know it then but my mom was fleeing the stinging poverty of Puerto Rico,” she explained. “My mom was looking for a better life for the two of us…’a place where everyone is good to you and you have opportunities, and it’s all going to be much better.’ It didn’t happen quite that way, but it’s been an extraordinary experience.”

Rita’s mother quickly found work as a seamstress in the garment district. Rita experienced winter for the first time, and sometimes had to run from bullies. “It was sort of like ‘West Side Story.’ We were the working poor, the people they’re now calling lazy.”

“Isn’t teaching children to read a basic human service? It is up to us who care to look out for them in any way we can.” — Rita Moreno

Growing up, mentors and role models didn’t exist, at least for little girls like her. “People assume that everybody has a mentor, especially when they’re in show business, not me. So that’s really why I am here to celebrate and support your good work of hope, labor, love.”

Children Rising was honored to have Rita as our special guest at Hope for Children Now LIVE.

Of course, Rita is best known for her role as Anita in West Side Story. However, many also know her for her spirited performances in the Electric Company, the groundbreaking educational children’s television show.

When she became a mother, she had no idea how gratifying it would be. “From the day my daughter was born, I started working in my profession for her in a very special way to make her proud. And it’s why I wanted to do a show called ‘The Electric Company.’”

At the time it was a risky career move. “All my friends and colleagues said, ‘Are you crazy? Don’t do a children’s show. You will never work as an adult again in show business.” But she was undeterred. “I’m talking about doing a service, a community service. Isn’t teaching children to read a basic human service?”

Fortunately for Rita and her adoring fans, she did indeed work again. In fact, she is in the process of filming the updated remake of “West Side Story.” But she hasn’t lost sight of the need to nurture and equip children and youth, especially the marginalized.

“It is up to us who care to look out for them in any way we can.”

That perfectly sums up the essence of our community enablement model. For all of you in our community who care, this is the perfect opportunity to put your faith into action. It’s never been simpler – or more important – to become a tutor or mentor today. You can empower a child to rise to their God-given potential.

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

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

2021 Hope for Children Now — A Night to Remember

By Jim Wambach
May 20, 2021

Building Bridges of Hope in Oakland


This past weekend, we hosted the 2021 Hope for Children Now LIVE gala. Whether you were able to join us live, were a sponsor of our gala, or contributed in other ways, we are overjoyed and grateful to you. Thanks to you, we exceeded our financial goals and are able to do more for the kids over the next 12 months as they begin their recovery from the pandemic!

Of course, Hope for Children Now is always so much more than a fundraiser. It is our chance to gather together, celebrate the hard work and progress made by the children and youth, and share our dream for what is possible in our community schools.

We welcomed special guest Rita Moreno. The Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award-winning actress, singer, and performer is best known for her role as Anita in West Side Story. However, many also know her for her spirited performances in the Electric Company, the groundbreaking educational children’s television show. She shared her unique story, and how it inspired her to join the cast of the Electric Company. As a 5-year-old, she and her mother fled poverty in Puerto Rico and emigrated to the United States.

“My Mother worked two jobs, it was back-breaking work, and we were the working poor,” she explained. “I never had a mentor, so that is why I am here to celebrate the good work you are doing, and keep the faith, you are going to make a difference.”

Special guest Rita Moreno shared her inspirational story and asked: “Isn’t teaching children to read a basic human service? It is up to us who care to look out for them in any way we can.

“Isn’t teaching children to read a basic human service? It is up to us who care to look out for them in any way we can.” — Rita Moreno

We also heard from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Her inspirational message was a reminder that COVID has been a challenge for all of us, and the achievement gap has grown larger than ever. However, community groups like Children Rising will play a significant role in overcoming the achievement gap in our neighborhood schools. Now more than ever before!

As we reflect on a challenging year, the disruption caused by COVID provided the perfect opportunity to develop online programming that will complement our traditional model. In the years ahead, there is a profound opportunity in front of all of us to do more for more kids — and make meaningful progress in closing the devastating achievement gap that has existed for so long, for so many capable children.

Empowering the community to empower children

A struggling reader learns to love reading.

You can empower a struggling student in reading or math. It is more important — and accessible — than ever before.

Since the beginning, we have imagined a city where every child feels loved and safe, and has reliable adults who model positive values. We can now imagine a city where every elementary school child has a tutor to empower them to rise above their challenges and reach their God-given potential — and will no longer be excluded by technology or a lack of financial resources!

We invite the entire Bay Area Community to empower children and youth to build bridges of hope. By developing a caring and supportive relationship with the kids of Oakland and their families, you can make a lifetime of difference. If you ever wanted to help, or know someone who may, now is the time and Children Rising has opportunities, regardless of your age, professional demands, or where you live.

On behalf of the entire Children Rising family, thank you once again for your support and participation.

It was truly a night to remember.

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

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

Perspectives – Seek the Shalom of the City

By Jim Wambach
May 5, 2021

“Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom you will find your shalom.” — Jeremiah 29:7

Jim Wambach - Executive DirectorThis year marks a milestone for Children Rising. It was 20 years ago that the members of First Covenant Church, inspired by Jeremiah 29:7, prayed for the shalom of their city, its health, welfare, and prosperity. One of the amazing things to emerge from those prayers was a group of caring adults adopting their neighborhood school. Out of those humble beginnings emerged Faith Network of the East Bay, now Children Rising.

Today, we celebrate 20 years of empowering the community to empower the kids in Oakland. We work for the shalom of the city, one precious child at a time.

Recently we reached out to the Children Rising family and asked you to complete a short connection survey. I have enjoyed hearing from so many of you. Thank you. We are so grateful for the input as we cast a vision for the next 20 years. Together, we strive for a future in which we may reach many more children and youth, and do more for them.

We seek the shalom of Oakland, one precious child at a time.

As I reflect on your responses during this celebration of our milestone year, I was reminded how important our faith communities are to our work. Nearly half of you first became involved with Children Rising through your church. Congregations have driven our community enablement model from the very beginning, and still do to this day.

I am also reminded of the importance of relationships between a caring adult and a child so eager to learn. As one respondent wrote:

“Randy demonstrated and taught us to extend the love of Christ with cultural humility and by showing up for the kids, taking a personal interest in their success, not limiting their potential and by believing in them.”

That is a wonderful expression of our mission. As we move forward into our next 20 years, please know that you are so important to empowering children and youth in our community to rise to their God-given potential. Thank you for being part of our special family.

With sincere gratitude,

 

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

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