Volunteer Spotlight: Dennis Burke

By Children Rising
April 29, 2016

A remarkable thing called connection happens when you find a way to combine
your talents with volunteering! This is what Dennis Burke discovered when he
began volunteering through Children Rising.

After he retired from the world of business and finance, Dennis wanted to find a way to contribute to his community. So in 2012 Dennis emailed Children Rising president Randy Roth about his desire to help kids with their math skills. At this time, Children Rising didn’t have a math tutoring program. But one thing led to the next and, within weeks, Dennis was paired with two students who were struggling with math.

Four years later, Dennis is still giving to the community through Children Rising’s two-year-old math tutoring program established under Science Horizons. Every week this school year at Burkhalter Elementary, Dennis goes over division, multiplication, decimals, and word problems with Aaron and Amaia. But his favorite moments are when they all feel comfortable enough to open up to each other and share what’s going on in each other’s lives.

As Dennis sees it, “For me, math has always been one of my great loves. It seems to be a point where I can connect with kids, not just about math, but through listening and encouraging.”

Hope for Children Now Benefit Gala

By Children Rising
April 29, 2016



Can’t attend the Gala but want to make a difference? Contribute
to our $100,000 fundraising goal by clicking here.

President’s Corner: The Genesis of Children Rising

By Children Rising
April 29, 2016

In 1988 the Roth family arrived in Oakland where I was called to serve as pastor of First Covenant Church, and soon we started a weekly gathering to pray for the Shalom of Oakland. A growing number of people from several congregations were coming together to pray for the peace, prosperity, health and wholeness of the city we were called to serve. Several years later, retired Oakland teacher Mary Shaw recruited me and other First Covenant members to serve as Oakland Readers.

In 2000 Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dennis Chaconis invited clergy to Mills College where he gave us a State of the Schools report and concluded with a bold and surprising challenge: “We need you and your congregations to adopt a neighborhood school!” Little did he or I know that a seed was planted that day that would grow into Children Rising, officially launched as a public benefit nonprofit in July of 2001.

Two days after the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack – Board Chair Jon Blankmeyer and I were introduced to Burbank Elementary Principal Roberta Teller by former Burbank teacher, Norman Brooks. Ms. Teller greeted us with warm hugs, saying “I want my school to be a safe place,”and then began sharing her “Volunteer Wish List.”

By mid-October, volunteers from four nearby churches were serving as tutors, playground lunch buddies, teacher appreciation hosts, library helpers and ESL class leaders. Burbank became a template for future school partnerships.
Fastforward 15 years: Today over 300 volunteers, 20 congregations and 38 community partners offer an array of services to 36 schools that address the public education crisis close to home here in Oakland and the East Bay.

To help Children Rising stay strong we need your help. The education crisis will not go away any time soon. That’s why we need to be here today and tomorrow for our most vulnerable at-promise children. Your monthly, annual and multi-year financial support will ensure Children Rising can go deeper and wider, so that Hope for Children Now will continue spreading throughout Oakland, the East Bay and beyond.

For the children,

Calling All Mentors

By Children Rising
April 4, 2016

Lanny and Jared,
mentor and mentee

What was it like for you to transition from high school to young adulthood?

Things that may seem easy or straightforward to you now (researching colleges, applying for jobs, buying a car, choosing a major, etc…) are new and often daunting ventures for high school students.

We invite you to help students tackle career path decisions and learn to be young professionals. Being a CareerBridge mentor means a 12-week commitment over the spring and summer during which you reach out to your mentee for at least 1 hour a week. We will provide you with training and guidance.

For more information or to sign up, contact
Margena Wade-Green at
or call Children Rising at 510-836-5100.

President’s Appeal

By Children Rising
April 4, 2016

Will you be an Ambassador of Hope?

Children Rising relies on contributions from supporters like YOU so we can

  • offer one-on-one tutoring support to struggling second-grade readers;
  • introduce inner city kids to the world of Science Technology Engineering and Math;
  • provide low-income high schoolers with a workplace internship under the guidance of a personal mentor;
  • follow students forward toward high school graduation and higher education.

If you can contribute monthly, become an Ambassador of Hope today!

Click on this Donate link and under Donation Frequency, select Monthly. You can also call our office at (510) 836-5100.

Your monthly investment will allow Children Rising to recruit and support more of our most important resource: volunteers. Our caring volunteers give undivided, personal attention to an individual student – week after week throughout the school year. One tutor, one child, infinite possibilities. Help us make a difference!

For the children,

Learning Dollars and Sense

By Children Rising
April 4, 2016

by Randy Roth, president of Children Rising

For the third year in a row, PwC consultants are engaging third- thru fifth-graders in dollars-and-cents matters. This year, three elementary schools in West Oakland– Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), Hoover, and Prescott– have welcomed PwC’s Earn Your Future financial literacy curriculum. Lessons include identity theft, creditworthiness, saving & investing, income, and careers.

Instead of lecturing, the PwC Earn Your Future team involves students in roleplay, which uses critical thinking skills in practical real-life applications. For example in one lesson, each student in the class plays the role of borrower or lender. Student A lends his favorite CD to Student B who promises to “return it tomorrow.” When Student A next asks Student B for his CD, Student B responds, “Sorry, I lost it.” A PwC volunteer prompts the entire class, “Will Student A ever lend again to Student B? Is he creditworthy?” Unanimously, everyone shouts, “No!”

Then students are invited to play it forward: When the time comes to borrow money to buy a computer, a car or a house, will you be creditworthy?
The impact is twofold. Not only do the students learn important life skills, but they also get to rub shoulders with amazing role models.

I'm Interested in Volunteering and would like more information