By Children Rising
December 6, 2017

“Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.” – Chinese Proverb

Dear Children Rising Community,

As you may know, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is experiencing significant budget challenges – challenges that the school board and administration are working extremely hard to address. If successful (and I believe they will be), they will have taken a substantial step toward establishing a brighter, more promising future, and securing a stronger foundation for public education for the children of Oakland.

However, in order to do so, the administration must slash more than $15 million from the current school year budget, substantially reducing the dollar amount budgeted for each child during this year. Approximately $5.6 million of those cuts directly impact individual school budgets. Every principal will have some very difficult decisions to make in the coming weeks.

Children Rising stands ready to provide additional help to these principals and teachers who are working hard to support the children during this fiscal crisis. We are preparing to expand our capacity to help during this important time, but will need the continued support of our wonderful Children Rising community in order to do so.

Here’s how you can help:

Join our amazing team of volunteer reading and math tutorsYour personal investment of one to two hours almost any day of the week can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life. Children Rising provides the training and ongoing support to ensure your success with each child. Email or call us at (510) 836-5100 to learn more.

Support our December Matching Fund Campaign. We are working hard to add to our funds this year so we can respond to the additional needs of the principals and teachers with expanded services. Generous donors who have already pledged $60,000 will match every dollar of your donation. We hope to raise an additional $60,000 by December 31st to reach or exceed our campaign goal of $120,000. Please send a check with the enclosed donation slip or visit to make a donation.

Use your company’s Employee Matching Gifts Program. Visit our company match page to find out if your company participates:

As always, your partnership is essential to Children Rising’s mission of preparing today’s youth for fulfilling, productive living in the 21st century. This year, your support takes on an even greater purpose. Every donation postmarked by December 31, 2017 will not only be tax-deductible, but will be a gift that keeps on giving – yielding returns for generations to come.

For the Children,


Join us for our first Reading Tutor Training of the new year!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

3:00 to 5:30 pm

Children Rising Office

To RSVP, contact Succeeding by Reading Director Rebecca Buckley at

Meet Dave Sundman!

By Children Rising
December 6, 2017

In October, we welcomed Dave to the Children Rising team as CareerBridge Program Manager. Since 2015, Dave has been living in Oakland where he discovered his passion for mission ministries and education. In addition to Children Rising, Dave also serves at Cityteam Oakland Program and has founded a God-centered organization called DIVIN3KINGDOM, which uses hip-hop and mentorship to inspire youth to serve within their community. He’s currently studying to be an English Professor. In his free time Dave loves to play basketball and run around beautiful Lake Merritt.

Call and Response

By Children Rising
December 6, 2017

Article by Dave Sundman, CareerBridge Program Manager

Principal Steele helping a student with Microsoft Excel.

One of the things Children Rising strives to do is to be responsive to needs expressed by teachers and staff. A month or so into the school year, Principal Betsye Steele of Ralph J. Bunche Academy voiced her concern that, due to scheduling issues, students graduating in December wouldn’t be around to complete CareerBridge’s Business Essentials series, which is 24 hours of instruction spread over many weeks.

With Ms. Steele and other Ralph Bunche staff, program directors Margena Wade-Green and Michelle Hutcherson came up with a condensed version of the series, the majority of which took place in an intensive 6-hour workshop on a Saturday. The Saturday workshop not only simplified the scheduling process but, as Ms. Steele explained, was more impactful because it placed all instruction “into a business management context so that the children could get the full and deepened experience of working in an office and business workplace.”

Stoking the enthusiasm of high school students attending class on a sunny Saturday morning can be a difficult task but we encountered a surprising level of excitement at the Business Administration Certification Workshop. Students were eager to discuss their plans for future businesses ranging from cosmetology studios to restaurants to black-owned financial institutions. They began to see how each subject and skill might play a role in their personal career development. Witnessing their passionate involvement was exciting for all of us instructors.

It was a blessing to see these students realize that being a business owner is an accomplishment within their reach! By listening to and collaborating with Ralph Bunche staff, we were able to serve more students more effectively.


“I can say with confidence that Career Bridge is one of the most effective programs I’ve ever engaged with in 6 years of youth engagement. Our school community is grateful for their expertise and professionalism and look forward to impacting more youth.”

Terrence HollidayWork-Based Learning Liaison at Ralph J. Bunche Academy

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