Happy 2017!

By Children Rising
December 26, 2016

May God fill you with his love, joy and peace throughout the New Year!


Children Rising staff from left to right: (front row) Gwen Stephens, Pearl Wang, Randy Roth, Caroline Piraino, Michelle Hutcherson, (back row) Rebecca Buckley, Charlotte Martinez, Margena Wade-Green, Jan Zovickian, Chelsea Boniak, Ashley Verinsky, Kim Flom. Not pictured: Deborah Davis.


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Literacy Tutor Training

By Children Rising
December 26, 2016


Tuesday, January 10, 2017
3:00 – 5:30 pm

Training materials and yummy snacks will be provided. All trainings held at our office:
2633 Telegraph Ave, #412
Oakland, CA 94612.

Sign up with Rebecca at


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Project Peace: Day of Service

By Children Rising
December 26, 2016

Over the past nine years, Project Peace has been a catalyst for change at local schools, homeless shelters, mentoring programs, and other social service providers. They began in 2007 partnering with one church and engaging 100 volunteers to serve 300 hours. Last year Project Peace partnered with 20 churches, engaged over 1,300 volunteers, and served over 4,000 hours at social service providers and schools across the East Bay, several of which are also served by Children Rising.

Project Peace does an outstanding job of organizing Days of Service that take place on Saturdays, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon every three months. They prepare by going to the service site in advance to determine priority needs, and then congregations and individual volunteers are assigned to a particular site knowing what tasks will be addressed. For example at the last Day of Service, Garfield Elementary volunteers focused their attention on “leveling” books, which means sorting and labeling according to reading grade level. This time consuming work is immensely helpful to teachers, enabling them to quickly choose books that correspond to a given student’s level of reading proficiency.
What is unique about the Day of Service is that it gives people who are busy on weekdays an opportunity to give back on a half-day Saturday. Once a Project Peace volunteer gets acquainted with a school site, they may be able and willing to serve on a week day while school is in session. For example, the Garfield Elementary Day of Service was the catalyst for the launching of an Excel Reading Clinic staffed by volunteers who come weekly to tutor second- and third-graders.
Next Project Peace Day of Service is Saturday, Feb. 25.

For volunteer sign-up information, go to:

May God bless your new year!


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President’s Corner: Prayer for Christmas Presence

By Children Rising
December 9, 2016

O God of peace and love, Companion in solitude, Protector in exile –
Show us the way to stand against injustice, to protect and nurture life.
Help us to embrace simplicity, to care tenderly for others.
Teach us to conserve and preserve the natural gifts of this world.
Help us to take time to be present to one another.
Increase among us the spirit of tolerance and good will.
Bring us to the quiet still place of healing and transform our souls
into a reflection of your love and compassion. Amen.


President’s Corner: Counting Your Blessings

By Children Rising
December 9, 2016

randy-headshot-400x400While it’s true that there is a great deal of suffering, injustice and conflict in our world — faraway and close to home — we still have so much to be grateful for. As we gathered with family and friends on Thanksgiving, we paused before feasting to count our blessings. Children Rising is profoundly grateful for…

• Good Samaritans, you who volunteer time and talents to give hope to vulnerable children and help them reach their full potential, while at the same time creating a positive working environment for school personnel;

• Collaborative Partners, the pillars of our network, for your sustained commitment to invest in the next generation and pool resources for the common good;

• Generous Givers who provide financial support during the year. It is through your generosity that Children Rising is empowered to carry out our mission.

Our staff team joins me in wishing you and your family a joyous Christmas filled with peace, hope and love. May God grant us grace to be attentive to the persons he puts in our pathway, to rejoice when a child’s life is touched and transformed, to embrace the mystery of the mustard seed – transforming entire communities, one life at a time.

With gratitude,


Book Review: Literally Unbelievable by Bronwyn Harris

By Children Rising
December 9, 2016

literally-unbelievableLiterally Unbelievable: Stories from an East Oakland Classroom, written by former teacher Bronwyn Harris, throws a laser-sharp spotlight on Oakland’s public education crisis. Harris’ visceral, passionate expose is based on her firsthand experience as a teacher in Oakland. Literally Unbelievable is not about cursing the darkness, but about lighting more candles of hope to shine upon our most vulnerable children. The book concludes with a list of local nonprofits (including Children Rising) that provide entry points for positive community investment in our public schools, students and their families.

For more info, visit

Review by Randy Roth, President

Inspiring Children to Make Healthier Choices

By Children Rising
December 9, 2016

best-of-me-1best-of-me-2On entering the Lafayette Elementary auditorium on this particular day, you would have walked in on a spellbound audience of third- thru fifth-graders. The focus of their attention was a diverse cast of four actors performing in a health-related presentation called “The Best Me”. In the skit, each of the four “elementary school students” struggles with a different health or lifestyle issue. With each other’s help, the comedic foursome overcome their individual challenges.

By engaging their young audience in an interactive and musical experience, the actors communicate these four core messages:

• Play hard for at least 60 minutes a day
• Limit screen time, no more than 60 minutes a day
• Eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day
• Drink water when thirsty, instead of soda or juice


Photos are the property of Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program and used with permission.

Teachers receive “The Best Me” Teaching Guide and lead follow-up activities with their students in class. The program concludes with a Family Night event where the entire family is invited to learn how to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices.

“The Best Me” is one of six health-related presentations offered to public schools without charge by Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program (ETP). Over the past five years Children Rising has partnered with ETP by recommending Oakland schools that would benefit from their performances.

Article by Randy Roth, President

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