Celebrating Children Rising’s Fifteenth!

By Children Rising
June 23, 2016

Thank you to every one of our supporters, volunteers, donors, table sponsors, speakers, prayer warriors, and guests for making our 15th Anniversary Gala a success! It was a beautiful, inspiring evening and we surpassed our fundraising goal of $100,000!

In particular, we’d like to salute

  • marvelous emcee Donna Somerville for conducting our event smoothly despite technical difficulties; 
  • keynote speaker Mayor Libby Schaaf for her time and her message of encouragement to our community;
  • 2016 Partners of the Year, the Lowell Berry Foundation and Lawrence Berkeley Lab;
  • 2016 Volunteer of the Year Carl Anderson for his 15 successive years of service as a classroom helper and for his quiet, caring, consistent commitment to investing in our kids and supporting our teachers.
Randy Roth and Mayor Libby Schaaf

In addition, we proudly presented three high school seniors with scholarships. The Eddie College Scholarship Fund was created by Todd and Doris Ahlsten for socioeconomically disadvantaged but promising students for the pursuit of post-high-school education. Requirements include participation in our CareerBridge mentoring program for at least two years. Congratulations to Fanae Clark, Ny’Dajah Jackson, and Mickey Sola! We loved getting to know you and we look forward to your future!

Margena and our Eddie College Scholarship recipients

Kudos to our Event Sponsors listed below:

Branagh Construction
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
Kensington Veterinary Hospital
Mark & Joanne Perra
Parnassus Investments
Union Bank

Todd & Doris Ahlsten
Ken & Stacey Mattson
Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa

Kaiser Permanente

Click on the link to watch Children Rising’s 15th Anniversary video.
Click on the link to see more gala photos.

Celebrating on Camera

By Children Rising
June 23, 2016

by Carolyn Piraino, Excel Reading Clinic coordinator

Excitement was already in the air when local news reporter Allen Martin and his cameraman arrived at Laurel Elementary to film our Excel Reading Clinic closing ceremony on Wednesday, May 25. The reason? To get footage of our Succeeding by Reading program in action for their late June TV spot on Children Rising president Randy Roth!

Randy Roth

Randy is the recipient of the Jefferson Award for his distinguished service to the Bay Area community. The San Francisco Bay Area CBS television station KPIX-TV recognizes a “quiet hero” in the community every week with this award. (Read KPIX’s article about Randy at

“We’re going to be on TV!” cried one of the second-graders who was at the clinic that morning. The camera rolled as, one by one, students read aloud stories they had written themselves and received achievement certificates from their tutors, along with words of congratulations and hugs. On this day of celebration, we played Word Bingo and let each student select two to three books to take home and add to their own personal library.

Carolyn Piraino and her student Jonathan

The Excel Reading Clinic has been operating at Laurel Elementary for more than 10 years. It is one of 20 clinics in the Succeeding by Reading program, which seeks to raise each participating student’s reading skills by at least two grade levels by the end of the school year. Volunteers from the Oakland community and as far away as Danville are trained in remedial reading techniques by Children Rising staff, and are later paired with a child (first through third grades) that they will be working with for the entire school year.

Randy’s vision of one-on-one help for Oakland’s students — not only for reading, but math and science, too — has been realized through a variety of programs offered by Children Rising for the last 15 years. We who work with Children Rising are grateful to KPIX for recognizing Randy’s contribution to the children of Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area as well. Congratulations, Randy!

The excited students of Laurel Elementary Excel Reading Clinic

This is the second time someone associated with Children Rising has been honored with the Jefferson Award. Last year, volunteers Mark and Joanne Perra, received the Jefferson Award for their advisory role with the newly-launched robotics class at Roosevelt Middle School. Their story is in our November 2015 newsletter.

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