Happy Thanksgiving from Children Rising

By Jim Wambach
November 28, 2019

Happy ThanksgivingDear Friends,

As we gather together with our families and friends at Thanksgiving, I am once again struck by what a unique and wonderful holiday this truly is.

Gratitude abounds throughout the year. But on this special day, we break bread with our loved ones and share that spirit with one another.

Your generosity does not go unnoticed.

I see it in the smiles on the children’s faces as they become more confident in their math and reading skills.

I see it in the way our youth proudly share with me their experience at their summer internships.

I see it in the thousands of families who are provided nourishing food on the weekends, so their children don’t go hungry.

And the entire Children Rising team feels it each and every time the children are blessed with your gifts of time, talent, and funds. The Children Rising community is a truly special one, as we all work together to empower so many vulnerable children to rise to their God-given potential.

As we approach the last week of our “I Want To Soar” Project, we are grateful for your continued support, and for the support of our community partners.

At Children Rising, we are poised to make sure that every struggling child is reached by a caring community at a critical time in their life to nurture hope, the courage to dream, and the opportunity to thrive.

I am grateful to be a small part of this effort. You are making a real difference in the lives of the kids we serve.

Thank you.

For the children,



I Got “Woke” – An Uncomfortable Truth I Will Not Dismiss

By Jim Wambach
November 27, 2019

Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director

Succeeding by Reading Student

Getting to know the precious children – many of whom are already two years behind in reading and math – helps to personally relate to how wonderful and full of promise they truly are.

Ring ring the bells
Wake the town
Everyone is sleeping
Shout at the crowd
Wake them up
This anger’s deeper than sleep
– James (band)

A few months into my time at Children Rising, as I began to personally get to know the individual children and youth in our programs, I began to develop both a deeper compassion and anger toward the problems – and solutions – facing the vulnerable children we serve.

There are times when truly engaging with life’s realities can, and should, jolt us awake from our sense of comfort. A comfort that is derived from believing that we have figured out our personal place in the world and how it all is supposed to “work”. We know it when it happens – we feel a bit disturbed and uncomfortable by the sudden change in our perspective. We should hold onto that disturbance and not dismiss it.

What disturbed me is a combination of factors.

  • A better awareness of the systematic, well developed structure and order in our society that leads to social, economic and educational inequity in our communities.
  • Getting to know some of the countless children – sometimes as young as eight years old – who are already so far behind in school or living in severely challenged neighborhoods that they are effectively “written off”.
  • I had lived a comfortable life, thinking I “got it”, only to realize I hadn’t been able to clearly see, and personally relate to, how so many wonderful children growing up in poverty and surrounded by violence were trapped by life’s circumstances and society’s somewhat intentional structure of social injustice.

How many more like me were there?

As I awakened to a much deeper realization of the problem, I had many conversations with people inside and outside of our wonderful organization. I shared my feelings of deep anger for what we, in our society today, are doing to the kids. But the reality of it was: I, like so many others had been asleep to the problem. Now that the scales had fallen from my eyes, I wanted to share this concern with everyone that would listen to me!

I got “Woke”!

Path2Math Student

Awake from slumber, eyes wide open, we go forward, helping one child at a time rise above the challenges they face, to soar to their God-given potential.

At the risk of co-opting a term which has become heartfelt and real, I became far more aware of the systemic issues impacting social and racial justice in our community. The roots of the issues were far deeper than I had ever known. Their long-term impact reached far wider than I had ever imagined.

I wanted other people of good will to wake up with me!

That, at its core, is why I am so passionate about the work we are all so privileged to do every day at Children Rising. Awake from slumber, eyes wide open, we go forward, helping one child at a time rise above the challenges they face, to soar to their God-given potential.

That is also why the “I Want To Soar” Project is so important. Our goal is to help 200 more children learn basic reading and math skills so they can succeed in elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond.

Wake them up, this anger’s deeper than sleep!

We are doing this by ringing the alarm bells. This problem is indeed deeper than sleep. We can – and will – make a generational difference in our Oakland communities. But we need to be awake to the problem.

YES, I CAN help a struggling child reach their God-given potential.

 I want to attend an upcoming mentor or tutor orientation session to see if it is right for me!

 I want to make a donation and help a vulnerable child SOAR!

Just 3 Weeks Left To Help 200 Children SOAR!

By Jim Wambach
November 21, 2019

Jadon Wants To Soar

Will you help a struggling child like Jadon soar to his God-given potential today?

As we embarked on the “I Want To Soar” Project, we set a high bar.

Our goal? To provide the opportunity for 200 more second-grade children struggling with grade-level math and reading to SOAR!

We have reached the midway point, and are grateful for your response.

So far community donations, matched by several major donors, have provided the springboard for 139 children to take flight and soar to their potential.

But we have a ways to go! Your support will provide a springboard for 61 more children to SOAR this year!

As we enter the second half our Matching Fund Campaign, a group of donors, just like you, will continue to match any donation up to $50,000 if received by December 3rd (mail or online).

On top of that, we have received a generous grant from the We Raise Foundation. IF you give online, an additional gift will be given up to $20,000.

With your help, and the wonderful support of the We Raise Foundation, we will meet our goal to support 200 additional children through one-on-one tutoring in math and reading.

Thank you for whatever you can do to help a child have a fair chance and escape the cycle of poverty.


PS, Do you have family or friends who care about education and the future of children in Oakland? Help us tell others and raise support for “I Want To Soar” Project by sharing TODAY.

 I want to help a vulnerable child SOAR!


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