President’s Corner: Tommy the Storyteller

By Children Rising
February 2, 2017

On Tuesdays, I volunteer at the Excel Reading Clinic at Prescott Elementary. This year, one of the boys I tutor is Tommy, a third-grader. When Tommy walks into the room he flashes me a warm smile and then we do the secret handshake. After taking his seat beside me, we work on sight words then phonics, followed by reading non-fiction and fiction books, which he gets to choose.

During the course of the school year, I usually ask my student– Tommy in this case– to tell me a real or make-believe story, which I write down word for word. Without skipping a beat Tommy began telling me about his recent trip to Disneyland. When he was finished I read his story back to him. What Tommy didn’t know was that I would take my chicken scratch back to my office, transcribe it into a word document and ask Pearl Wang, our office administrator, to add appropriate graphics. Next comes the fun part: returning to school with the finished product. I brought several extra copies to be shared with the principal, his teacher and family members. Tommy was wide-eyed as he pored over his illustrated story in print. Behold the storyteller is now an author! Tommy proceeded to read his own creation articulately with expression. You go, Tommy!

For the children,

Randy Roth



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Newsletter Assembly Volunteer

By Sophia Wambach
February 2, 2017

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Children Rising is looking for volunteers to help us assemble the hardcopy newsletters that we send out every month. We usually get together the morning of the last Friday of every month for a day of chatting, snacks and stuffing envelopes. It’s low-key and chock full of great conversation.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Pearl Wang at

Keep It Humming

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

Health4Kids has been humming along, now in its twelfth year in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bank. This year, we’re serving close to 4,000 people, distributing 2,600 bags of nutritious food to families in Alameda County every month of the school year. Our wonderful volunteers fill and process these bags at the Food Bank. The bags then are distributed to schools where they are picked up by students and their families.

RRichard S & Cynthia Nichard Soennichsen and Cynthia Naton are one of several couples that serve alongside us.

They’ve been bagging for eight years! Their neighbors in Alameda invited them to join us back in 2009. There are many ways that Richard and Cynthia give to their community, including taking those same neighbors grocery shopping weekly as age has limited their friends’ transportation access.

Richard is a retired engineer and Cynthia is a retired therapist who also worked with Child Protective Services.

We are deeply grateful for their faithful commitment to this important work.

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For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:35, 40 NIV)

Article by Charlotte Martinez, Director of Health4Kids


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Tutor Training – Feb. 7

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

You are invited to learn more about becoming a reading tutor at our upcoming Tutor Training!Children Rising East Bay - Excel Reading Clinic - Hoover Elementary Oakland Photo: Steve Babuljak /

When: Tuesday, February 7 3:00 – 5:30 pm

Where: All trainings held at our office:
2633 Telegraph Ave, #412
Oakland, CA 94612.

Training materials and yummy snacks will be provided.  Sign up with Rebecca at or call our office at 510.836.5100.


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President’s Corner: Shalom Oakland

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

randy-headshot-400x400As we enter a tumultuous new year, shalom (a Hebrew word encompassing peace, prosperity, health, wholeness) is a renewed yearning of my hopes and prayers.

Back in the early 1980s, Jeremiah 29:7 became embedded in my spirit:

“Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its shalom you will find your shalom…”.

Jeremiah directed this admonition from God to Jewish captives in Babylon. Imagine being one of God’s people hearing their prophet calling on them to seek the shalom of their captors! In contrast, false prophets were offering false comfort, spreading messages like, “God will soon liberate us and we will return home to Jerusalem.” Jeremiah’s message was resolutely discomforting. The Jews would remain enslaved in a foreign land for 70 years. God’s will was for the Israelite sojourners to pray for the shalom of Babylon, plant vineyards, build houses and bear children.

I’m reminded of a memorable sermon preached by Mark Labberton, then Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and currently President of Fuller Theological Seminary. The title of Mark’s message was “Exodus or Exile?” In the days of Moses the Israelites experienced a dramatic Exodus when they were delivered from enslavement in Egypt. Many centuries later they we


The view from Children Rising’s office balcony overlooking 27th Street on January 20, 2017.

re forced into Exile to live as strangers in a foreign land. Exodus or Exile? We might prefer the former, but we may be called to endure the latter – and to bloom where we’re planted.

The call to seek the shalom of the city to which we’ve been sent is as timely as ever. May we, disciples of the Prince of Peace, through our prayers and actions, resound with grace notes of love, joy, justice and peace in our communities throughout this new year.

For the children,



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Want to be a part of something positive?

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

Volunteer with Children Rising. By sharing just a few hours of your time and talent each week, you can help a struggling student reach their potential.

How can one person make a difference?prescott_2017_1546

Personal relationships are the secret to our success. Because of that, one person can always make a difference in the life of a struggling young student.

Together, we will continue to close the achievement gap in under-resourced urban public schools.

Will you consider how you can make a positive impact in the community?

Go to to learn more about volunteering with Children Rising.

Tutor Training – Want to learn more about tutoring?  Click here for information about our upcoming Tutor Training on Feb. 7.


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La Escuelita at Missions Springs

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

img_0169_smNear the end of 2016, students from La Escuelita Elementary experienced outdoor education at Mission Springs in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This was La Escuelita’s first time and how it came about was rather providential.

A young eighth-grade teacher from La Escuelita named Ali McKenna reached out to Children Rising president Randy Roth, reminding him that he had baptized her in his former life as a pastor. Ali wanted to find out more about the Mission Springs Outdoor Education (MSOE) because Children Rising facilitates partnerships between various schools and Mission Springs.

Not long after, Stacie Daoust Burch, the director of MSOE, contacted Randy because an anonymous donor had contributed funds to send students to MSOE under the stipulation that this was to be the school’s first trip. Did Randy know any schools who would be open to coming? Randy immediately thought of La Escuelita. Between Randy, Stacie, and La Escuelita’s principal Jeff Franey, it was decided that La Escuelita’s two fifth-grade classes (the usual grade level) would go. Not only that, there was also enough money to cover Ms. McKenna’s eighth-grade class too!

Now that La Escuelita has been introduced to MSOE, we hope that this partnership will continue in future years.


Check out what La Escuelita students had to say about their experiences in the outdoors!

I’m glad I came to science camp because…

img_0144_smthis was my first time away from the city. My favorite activity was night hike because we learned about nocturnal animals and played the bat game.

… I learned some cool new things about nature. My favorite activity was the solo walk because I discovered how peaceful it can be, walking by myself in nature.

… it gave me a new experience away from home. I enjoyed the blind fold walk activity the most because I learned the importance of trusting others and being trustworthy.img_0116edt_sm








Article by Randy Roth, President

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Save the Date: June 3

By Children Rising
February 1, 2017

Our 16th Annual Hope For Children Benefit Gala is set for Saturday, June 3, 2017.

This year, we will once again be holding the gala at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center on Lake Merritt.

Please mark June 3 on your calendars! Stay tuned for details.

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