A New School Year!

By Children Rising
August 25, 2011

School year 2011-2012 is just around the corner!
Students of Oakland Unified will say goodbye to summer vacation this weekend as public schools welcome them back into the classroom on Monday.
This is an exciting time for Children Rising because we get to see our kids again and come alongside them in their growth process.

With increased staffing at Children Rising this year, we are hoping to develop new relationships with schools, deepen involvement with our current schools, and train new volunteers. Volunteers are, of course, the heartbeat of Children Rising. It is one of our many joys to see volunteers personally connecting with individual students.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please visit our website. You can also take a look at our current volunteer wishlist here.

Statistics = individual lives

By Children Rising
August 18, 2011

A new system for tracking students has helped California accrue its most accurate data about graduation rates. The statistics reveal that 37% of students enrolled in Oakland’s public high schools have dropped out. The percentage soars to over 50% for black and Latino students.
In response to these dismal statistics, OUSD is focusing on chronically truant students and building more cultural awareness. A somewhat counter-intuitive strategy is adopting more stringent requirements for graduation. These requirements–that will be effective this fall–will hopefully challenge high school students so that they will want to stay in school rather than drop out because of a general lack of expectation.
For more information, read these two articles: one from the San Jose Mercury and one from the San Francisco Chronicle.

If you would like to make a difference, please read through our volunteer opportunities and contact the office to learn more about what you can do. The numbers may be daunting, but each of us has within the ability to come alongside an individual and bring hope. Policies and systems can be shaped by statistics, but it is up to caring individuals to affect lives through compassionate action. At Children Rising, we would like to see Oakland’s graduation rates go up, but our first priority is being a constructive part of our children’s growing up.

Walk, Run, Give

By Children Rising
August 11, 2011

Children Rising is having our first ever walkathon!
Our hopes for this event are:

  • raising funding and awareness to address growing needs in our public schools
  • spreading the news about volunteer opportunities
  • providing an event for businesses, congregations and individuals to meet and move towards a community cause
  • having fun and appreciating Oakland’s Lake Merritt!

Please visit this site in order to register as a team leader, sponsor, volunteer or individual walker/runner.
Anyone who registers will get an event T-shirt and there will be plenty of prizes, giveaways and a raffle!

Children Rising mourns the passing of Jah-Ress

By Children Rising
August 4, 2011

Jah-Ress Combs was a student from East Oakland Pride Elementary who was in our Excel Reading Clinic.

I have never met Jah-Ress, but I went as a guest to his funeral to convey Children Rising’s sorrow over his untimely passing. From the many people that stood to talk about Jah-Ress, I learned that he enjoyed watching the drums at his church, that he blessed others by picking flowers for them, and that he was always full of energy. At the age of seven, he had touched many lives with his exuberance and love.

The news of Jah-Ress’ passing came in stark contrast to the joyous stories and pictures of our children’s summertime milestones: year-end celebrations, reading certificates, scholarships, camp experiences. It was difficult to witness a life cut short. At the same time, I felt a lot of hope because it was very clear that Children Rising is a part of the loving community that encouraged Jah-Ress’ as a student, joining the many friends and family out there that were similarly encouraging him in many other aspects of life.

Jah-Ress with his tutor, Chris

Jah-Ress with his tutor, Chris

All the people present to support the Combs family—from a firefighter who responded to the call to school teachers from East Oakland Pride—were reminders that there are communities out there that surround the children we see in school. Whether celebrating success or being present in mourning, Children Rising has the privilege of being a part of this community by forming relationships and being a part of a palpable social network.

–Madalyn Wong (Children Rising Staff)

Save Our Schools March update

By Children Rising
August 2, 2011

Anthony Cody reflects, with hope, on how the Save Our Schools March in Washington DC went. Though the number of marchers was smaller than anticipated–probably due to sweltering weather, travel constraints, and lack of publicity–he remains hopeful that the SOS movement will continue and gain momentum.
Read the interview here.

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