Program Development – Online Tutoring Opens Doors for Children Eager to Learn

By Eric Steckel
June 26, 2020

As we continue to navigate the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been hearing from so many of you, our Children Rising family. We all feel the urgent need to support students who may have fallen even further behind over the past three months due to the closure of schools in mid-March. Now more than ever, you mean so very much to them.

Online Tutoring

Your generous gifts helped us adapt to online tutoring. You are providing so many promising children and youth an opportunity to rise to their God-given potential despite COVID-19 disruptions.

The good news is that so many of you are eager to come alongside a promising child eager to learn!

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year, distance learning (online tutoring) will likely play an important role in the education process. We are working closely with the schools this summer to adapt our interventional math and reading tutoring programs for online delivery.

Here is what we envision for delivery of online tutoring:

Tutors will gather in a dedicated space equipped with Children Rising computers and learning materials. A Children Rising clinic coordinator will be present to support and coach each tutor. The room will be set up to provide appropriate physical distance between stations, and is sanitized following each tutoring session. This space will NOT be at a school site. Instead, we will occupy congregation and other community organization spaces in Oakland and the East Bay that are currently not being utilized.

Students at a school site will gather in a space equipped with computers set up to allow appropriate physical distancing. Another Children Rising clinic coordinator will be present at the school site to facilitate electronic connections and learning between tutors and students.

This is a big change from the school-site-based, in-person approach we have previously relied on. However, we are focused on maintaining many of the elements of our tutoring programs that resulted in so much benefit for the children year after year.

In particular, the caring, loving relationship that develops between the children and their tutor is an extremely important aspect of our programs. So as in the past, tutors will be paired with children for the entirety of the school year.

We all feel the urgent need to support students who may have fallen even further behind over the past three months due to the closure of schools in mid-March. Now more than ever, you mean so very much to them.

Every change provides its set of challenges, but also provides its set of opportunities. As we launch online tutoring this fall, we are excited about the potential to increase parental engagement and support for a child’s learning throughout the year.

In addition, while in-person tutoring is a preferred way to develop a one-on-one relationship with a child, some of you may not be able to accommodate that model. Online tutoring presents another delivery option, opening up the potential for many more tutors to nurture and equip a child determined to improve their reading or math skills.

Promising children, eager to learn!

Your support means that aspiring children, ambitious to learn and reach their God-given potential, can thrive this year in school.

We will be providing more information and details in the coming weeks, and hope you are interested and able to provide your love and tutoring skills to the children once again this year. We also recognize that some of you may be experiencing shifts in circumstances in response to the pandemic, which may affect your availability for tutoring.

For those of you interested in online tutoring this fall, we’d like to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to complete the online survey by June 30, 2020 This will help us better plan for the fast-approaching academic year. We welcome and value your comments and input regarding your possible volunteer involvement in the new school year.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support of aspiring young students in the community!


YES, I CAN help a promising child eager to learn.

 I am interested in online tutoring this fall!

 I want help fund Children Rising online tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year.

Juneteenth — Celebrating a Better Tomorrow

By Jim Wambach
June 19, 2020

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” – Delivered by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, TX to the people of the State of Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a better tomorrow. Today, let us reflect on how we can make our unfinished democratic system truly equal for all.

The response of Major General Gordon’s reading of the order — 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation — was for the freed slaves to celebrate their first taste of freedom. They looked forward to a better tomorrow. And each year, they recounted Juneteenth with celebrations, spurring them on despite the pressures they encountered. Over the decades the celebration of the importance of June 19,1865 has grown across the country.

On this Juneteenth, we celebrate with our African American friends and neighbors who, to this day, yearn for a better tomorrow. I see that every day in the smiles and faces of the children we serve, many of whom are African American. They are full of unbound potential, creativity, and enthusiasm. The boys and girls in our math and reading clinics are eager to learn and soak up knowledge. The youth in our CareerBridge program eagerly explore careers that will tap into their brilliance and potential. A better tomorrow.

As we celebrate Juneteenth this year, let’s continue to encourage each other to better listen, examine, and learn how we can make our wonderful democratic system, truly wonderful for all.

Just as the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was an unfinished law in the land until 1865, the United States of America is an unfinished democracy. It is time for the barriers to racial justice, equality, and equity to be removed, once and for all.

Together We Serve for Racial Justice

By Jim Wambach
June 9, 2020

A Statement from Children Rising on Racial Justice

Two Succeeding by Reading students celebrate success.

Improving the quality of education for vulnerable children of color is imperative and foundational for achieving long-term, enduring social justice.

The murder of George Floyd on May 25th at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was heinous and intolerable. It has exposed a centuries-old wound, once again shining a spotlight on racial injustice in our nation.

Children Rising stands in strong support of racial justice. We ally with passionate, peaceful protesters who raise their voice against the cruel and unnecessary death of George Floyd and the centuries of biased social structures that have existed for too long in this country. These structures have limited opportunity and have excused violence against African Americans for far too long. They are deeply-rooted in many aspects of our society, including the criminal justice, healthcare, and education systems, and in the personal views of many who have yet to recognize “white privilege.” The result is generation after generation of African Americans living in the shadows of poverty, violence, fear, and inequity.

Black Lives Matter. This past week, our nation has convulsed under the weight of deep-felt sorrow, frustration, and anger. Sadly, we’ve been down this well-worn path so many times. Names like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Freddy Gray, and Eric Garner brought angry protests to the streets of our cities in the past decade. But this time, something feels different.

The ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed…” We stand with our African American brothers and sisters and with all others seeking positive change. We believe it is not enough to be non-racist. We must all be anti-racist. Silence is culpability. It’s time for all of America to actively become part of understanding and addressing this issue.

We pray that God’s love continues to open hearts throughout this country, and reveal a better understanding of the plight of our African American brothers and sisters. We also pray that this moment in our history will become a pivotal point for lasting change. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “True peace is not the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” We believe this social upheaval towards a just society for everyone should not end until African Americans can truly feel they are safe in America.

As an organization, we are inspired to strengthen our commitment for equal education for all children. Our mission is to nurture and equip vulnerable children to rise above the challenges created by generations of poverty, violence, and educational inequity. Deeply rooted racism is at the heart of why so many African Americans continue to suffer under these societal ills. Educational inequity is one of the many outcomes of this pervasive racism. Improving the quality of education for vulnerable children of color is imperative and foundational for achieving long-term, enduring social justice.

Serving vulnerable children in our community.

An increased spirit of service will open more ears to listen, and more eyes to better see, and we will approach a new era of community — a community of fairness and equality for all, regardless of the color of our skin.

We pledge as an organization and as individuals to work even harder to provide opportunities where the broader community can address educational inequity in our urban public schools. Our one-on-one tutoring and mentoring programs are designed to place a caring adult in the life of a vulnerable child. When volunteer tutors and mentors step out of their comfort zone, they develop relationships with children, youth, and school staff, many of whom are African American. These caring volunteers are often transformed by their service. For those who are not African American themselves, most develop an all-new and important empathy for the struggles of so many African American families.

Finally, we believe in the overall goodness of our neighbors. Serving the vulnerable in our society promotes understanding and compassion. An increased spirit of service will open more ears to listen, and more eyes to better see, and we will approach a new era of community — a community of fairness and equality for all, regardless of the color of our skin.

None of us should expect meaningful change without actively becoming part of the solution. All of us at Children Rising encourage you to seek meaningful ways to put your good intentions into action. We will do our best to do more, so together we can defeat systemic racism once and for all.

In Community,


Jim Wambach



Jim Wambach
Executive Director


Jonathan Mayes



Jonathan Mayes
Chairperson, Board of Directors

YES, I will become part of the solution for racial justice TODAY.

 I want to learn more about reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

I'm Interested in Volunteering and would like more information