Happy Thanksgiving from Children Rising

By Jim Wambach
November 25, 2021

Blessings from our family to yours!

Happy Thanksgiving from Children Rising

This week, we celebrate a uniquely American holiday. It is a favorite of mine for many reasons. We share the joy and comfort of family, gathering together to express gratitude for all of the gifts we have received. It is also a reminder of the welcoming our forefathers received in this land of opportunity. I am reminded that most of us are immigrants, in some way, to this great country. It is the amazing cultural variety, and a growing willingness by so many to listen, embrace and lend a hand to others, that will win the day in the years ahead.

On Thanksgiving 2021, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have been empowering the amazing children of Oakland over the past 20 years – giving thousands of kids a more fair chance of achieving their God-given potential.

We also give thanks and pray for the continued strength for our educators who have always given their all, but have been asked to overcome extraordinary challenges brought on by COVID during the last two years.

All of us at Children Rising are wishing you the gift of faith and the blessing of hope this Thanksgiving day! We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, our community, and for the blessings that will come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

20 Years of Children Rising to Their God-given Potential

By Children Rising
November 1, 2021

Special Contribution by Randy Roth, founder and former Executive Director at Children Rising

“Seek the shalom (peace and prosperity) of the city to which I have carried you.” — Jeremiah 29:7

When I reflect on 20 years of nurturing and empowering children in our community to rise to their God-given potential, I can’t help but go back even further in time. In 1988, I was asked to serve as the senior pastor at First Covenant Church of Oakland. I told the pastoral search committee, “My call is to be of service to the entire city, not just the church.” They took me at my word, and I eagerly moved my family from Oregon to the East Bay.

This idea of serving a community was based on my reading of Jeremiah 29: “Seek the shalom (peace and prosperity) of the city to which I have carried you.” Again and again, I was reminded of what Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount: “You are the salt of the earth…” I think salt is usually in small containers because a little goes a long way, but the key is getting salt out of the shaker and into the community! We need entry points for folks to be beacons of light in a practical way. Children Rising provides opportunities for communities of faith to increasingly turn inside out. Not preaching, but putting words into action.

Randy Roth Tutoring

For 20 years, you have helped us hold a crown before our students, and we have watched them grow into it.

“Small acts of grace and attention, like mustard seeds, will continue to have an accumulative impact on a child’s future.” — Randy Roth

At the same time, we have never limited ourselves to churches. There are so many caring people out there who want to come alongside the children in our community. I am reminded of a new tutor at Laurel Elementary School many years ago. I watched her tutor a young child. Without telling her who I was or my role, I asked her about tutoring. She said, “You know, my neighbor is a member of First Covenant Church, but I am not. She told me all about the tutoring program, and I asked if I can help too.”

Of course! There are many wonderful children looking for a little extra care.

As I look forward to the next 20 years, partnerships will be foundational to the continued growth of Children Rising. From the very beginning, we did not project our values or ideas onto the schools. We first listened to the needs of the schools. We then served those needs in order to empower the kids. We saw that children and families were stressed, and we engaged with them, developing caring, meaningful relationships.

The momentum is with us. I pray for wisdom to continue listening, and discerning, and not imposing agendas. As ever, small acts of grace and attention, like mustard seeds, will continue to have an accumulative impact on a child’s future. It’s all about holding a crown before our students and then watching them grow into it.

For the children,



YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

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

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