2021 Hope for Children Now — A Night to Remember
By Jim Wambach | May 20, 2021
Building Bridges of Hope in Oakland
This past weekend, we hosted the 2021 Hope for Children Now LIVE gala. Whether you were able to join us live, were a sponsor of our gala, or contributed in other ways, we are overjoyed and grateful to you. Thanks to you, we exceeded our financial goals and are able to do more for the kids over the next 12 months as they begin their recovery from the pandemic!
Of course, Hope for Children Now is always so much more than a fundraiser. It is our chance to gather together, celebrate the hard work and progress made by the children and youth, and share our dream for what is possible in our community schools.
We welcomed special guest Rita Moreno. The Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony award-winning actress, singer, and performer is best known for her role as Anita in West Side Story. However, many also know her for her spirited performances in the Electric Company, the groundbreaking educational children’s television show. She shared her unique story, and how it inspired her to join the cast of the Electric Company. As a 5-year-old, she and her mother fled poverty in Puerto Rico and emigrated to the United States.
“My Mother worked two jobs, it was back-breaking work, and we were the working poor,” she explained. “I never had a mentor, so that is why I am here to celebrate the good work you are doing, and keep the faith, you are going to make a difference.”
“Isn’t teaching children to read a basic human service? It is up to us who care to look out for them in any way we can.” — Rita Moreno
We also heard from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Her inspirational message was a reminder that COVID has been a challenge for all of us, and the achievement gap has grown larger than ever. However, community groups like Children Rising will play a significant role in overcoming the achievement gap in our neighborhood schools. Now more than ever before!
As we reflect on a challenging year, the disruption caused by COVID provided the perfect opportunity to develop online programming that will complement our traditional model. In the years ahead, there is a profound opportunity in front of all of us to do more for more kids — and make meaningful progress in closing the devastating achievement gap that has existed for so long, for so many capable children.
Empowering the community to empower children
Since the beginning, we have imagined a city where every child feels loved and safe, and has reliable adults who model positive values. We can now imagine a city where every elementary school child has a tutor to empower them to rise above their challenges and reach their God-given potential — and will no longer be excluded by technology or a lack of financial resources!
We invite the entire Bay Area Community to empower children and youth to build bridges of hope. By developing a caring and supportive relationship with the kids of Oakland and their families, you can make a lifetime of difference. If you ever wanted to help, or know someone who may, now is the time and Children Rising has opportunities, regardless of your age, professional demands, or where you live.
On behalf of the entire Children Rising family, thank you once again for your support and participation.
It was truly a night to remember.