CareerBridge: Just the Beginning

By Children Rising
September 2, 2015

By Margena Wade-Green

CareerBridge students, supervisors, mentors, family, and Children Rising staff.

CareerBridge has reached an important milestone. We served twenty students this summer, helping each to get an internship. Ten students also signed up to be paired with an adult mentor. All students received stipends through partnering agencies as well as through Children Rising’s Caroline Yee Future Scientist Fund*.

Building upon relationships and making new ones has proven to be one of CareerBridge’s best assets. Over the course of twelve weeks, mentors walked alongside students before and during their internships. They took time to engage mentees in conversation and various self-help and career path development, all the while giving support and advice as students mapped possible career paths. Meanwhile, dedicated employers trained and coached their interns, providing meaningful hands-on job experience.

At the CareerBridge Wrap-up event on August 1, students presented an oral summation of their experience. Many expressed gratitude to CareerBridge and Children Rising. Some students had never thought they could be successful at a “real job”. Other sentiments were “I learned so much” and “It felt good to get a real paycheck with my name on it.”

A big thanks to the mentors, employers, and the supervisors who stepped up in such a stellar way to create entry points for students to discover their potential. We’d like to thank the following companies for providing CareerBridge students with enriching work experiences:

Jeannie Balderamos, Venecia Connally, Darryl Fountain, Joe Haga, Susan Lindsay, Tom Tong Ly, Debra Nelson, Deborah Smith, Demeke Tsige, Deanna Vilcheck

Catholic Charities
Eric Stekel

Jesse Alcantara, Prem Bajaj, Laura Clark, May Cooper, Phillis Pinkston,

Oakland Unified School District

To find out how you or a student can get involved with CareerBridge, contact Margena Wade-Green at

*To donate to this fund, please indicate the Caroline Yee Future Scientist Fund on your donation.

President’s Corner: Abraham Wordsworth — Replanted and Flourishing

By Children Rising
September 2, 2015

Abraham was born in 1996 during a series of brutal civil wars in Liberia. His father was killed and his young mother, unable to care for him during the chaos, sent him to live with his aunt, Theresa Lamadine. At age three Abraham and his aunt, along with other family members, made the journey from Liberia to the Ivory Coast, where they lived in a refugee camp for four years. They arrived in East Oakland in 2003, thanks to the International Rescue Committee.

Six years of displacement, fear, violence, and hunger did not stop young Abraham from putting down roots. At Burckhalter Elementary, he seized every opportunity to learn and grow. By his side were his angelic aunt Theresa, Refugee Transitions tutor Rick Marliave, and Children Rising mentors Bill and Nancy Branagh.

In the spring of 2011 Abraham applied to several Oakland public high schools. In addition, Bill and Nancy took Abraham for a site visit at Head-Royce, a college prep private school. It was a longshot, not to mention the financial aid he would need for a $30,000 per year tuition, but wonders never cease. Abraham was indeed accepted and also awarded a 95% scholarship. At Head-Royce, Abraham spread his wings, joining the track team, becoming a thespian and a campus newspaper reporter, all the while excelling academically.

left to right: Bill, Abraham, Theresa, Nancy at graduation

Fastforward four years to August 2015: Abraham has graduated from Head-Royce and is now off to Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. (Bill and Nancy flew out to Boston to help get him replanted.) For the first time in his life, Abraham’s move is not a desperate gamble for survival but a choice to continue thriving and to help others thrive.


P.S. Your financial support is especially needed as we launch into the new school year.

Volunteer Opportunities

By Children Rising
September 2, 2015

Make a difference in a student’s life, and let that student make a difference in yours!
Let us know your area(s) of interest, and we’ll provide more details.

Reading Tutor — 1 or more hours per week
Library Assistant — 1 or more hours per week
Science Classroom Assistant — 2.5 hours per week
Math Tutor — 1 or more hours per week
Food Bagging — every other Wednesday, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Workplace Internship — provide disadvantaged youth on-the-job work experience
Mentors — 1 hour per week for 12 weeks in spring and summer

To find out more, check out our website, reach us by phone 510-836-5100, or email

Reading Tutor Training Dates

By Children Rising
September 2, 2015

I'm Interested in Volunteering and would like more information