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Bidding Farewell to Health4Kids

By Eric Steckel
March 31, 2022

Program Provided 15 Years of Nourishing Meals to Families at Home

Providing nourishing food for children and families at home over the weekends ensured kids could come to school on Monday mornings ready to learn.

Children need nourishing food to grow and learn. Unfortunately, many kids in our community go home to empty cupboards on the weekends.

In 2006, Children Rising listened to the needs of our school partners and launched Health4Kids. A unique partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bank, the program provided nourishing food for children and families at home over the weekends so that kids could come to school on Monday mornings ready to learn.

Today we say farewell to Health4Kids.

Charlotte Martinez, who became the Health4Kids program director in 2007, has been with the program from the very beginning. “Mondays were a big problem. Many families just cannot afford nutritious food. And we found teachers paying for food out of their pocket.”

Volunteers were enthusiastic and eager to pack food, but the question arose: How do we get food to the families?

“That’s when we started working with the food bank, and they just got more and more cooperative.” The Food Bank went to schools and found out which children and families were in need. “Then they used their own trucks to deliver it on a Thursday so the schools could get it organized and have the families pick it up on Friday. And the food that went out was fresh, nutritious, and culturally appropriate,” she explained.

“Many families just cannot afford nutritious food. And we found teachers paying for food out of their pocket.”—Charlotte Martinez

“My connection with the people at the food bank really grew, and they were terrific. By the time I left, we were bagging 1,500 at each session.”—Charlotte Martinez

Over 15 years, Charlotte witnessed the growth of the program and the camaraderie among the volunteers and the Food Bank. “When I started volunteering in 2006, we were bagging about 300 bags of food, and I thought that was amazing. By the time I left, it was 1,500 at each session,” she said.

Judah Godoy served as Volunteer Coordinator/Manager at the Food Bank for nearly10 years. “The heart of it was community. Not one person, but a group of people,” he fondly recalls. “It crossed a lot of invisible lines. Different ages and races were there. There was a socio-economic difference between the volunteers. But when we met, we were all on the same level. True community leveled the playing field, and each and every volunteer was integral.”

Judah also pointed out, “A significant amount of food was going out, with real children and families receiving it. That is something that we are all very proud of.”

“The heart of it was community. (It) leveled the playing field, and each and every volunteer was integral.”—Judah Godoy

As we bid a fond farewell to Health4Kids, the good news is that our partner, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, will continue to get food into families’ pantries in our community schools. “Everyone that was a part of it can walk away and say, ‘That was cool.’ If we can have more of those moments in life…” Judah said, his voice trailing off. Indeed, let’s all find ways of having more of those moments in life and help many more children. How cool is that?

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Nyjah and His Online Math Tutor Work Late To Improve Numeracy Skills

By Eric Steckel
March 30, 2022

Flexibility Helps Busy Family Find Time for Online Math Tutoring

One-on-one Online Math Tutoring

Online math tutoring offers families flexibility in scheduling times that fit their life. Your support of online tutoring will help Nyjah get back to grade level.

Nyjah’s house is full! His mother, Tabetha, is constantly on the go, taking Nyjah and his six brothers and stepbrothers to and from school and after-school care while working full time. It’s the life of a working mother.

Nyjah is an active second-grader who loves football and basketball. Math is one of his favorite subjects. As with many children, Nyjah’s ability to learn foundational math skills has been severely impacted by COVID-19 constraints. He has fallen behind grade-level standards and struggled to catch up.

Nyjah’s teachers enrolled him in Path2Math for one-on-one online math tutoring this past fall. He was scheduled to meet with his tutor Robert Glickstein at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays. However, it was difficult for Tabetha to make that appointment each week.

“I am inside working all day, and Nyjah doesn’t get out of after-school care until 6:00 pm. With all the kids, I can’t get Nyjah on the Zoom tutoring session until 6:30 pm,” she explained.

Margena Wade-Green, Path2Math Program Director, wanted to find a way for Nyjah to remain in the program and catch up to grade level. She asked Mr. Robert if he would be willing to start his tutoring lesson at 6:30 pm instead.

“I really wanted to be flexible for Nyjah’s family,” Robert shared. “And they have responded. His mom is always there to get him set up, and he’s raring to go.”

“He looks forward to tutoring. To get home from school at the end of the day and want to join a tutoring session, and to be enthused, is amazing.”—Tabetha, Nyjah’s mother.

One-on-one Online Math Tutoring

Nyjah and Mr. Robert have “…established a relationship. There’s comfort. Nyjah feels OK saying, ‘I don’t know that.’”

The modified schedule is working well for both of them. “We’ve gotten through several areas where he’s aced every section and moved up a level,” Robert said. “In particular, he has made great progress in geometry and understanding fractions.”

The one-on-one relationship between Nyjah and Robert is rewarding to both of them. “It is one piece of a larger puzzle to get these kids back to grade level. It’s individual, and that makes a big difference.”

Nyjah’s mother agrees. “He looks forward to tutoring. To get home from school at the end of the day and want to join a tutoring session, and to be enthused, is amazing. He and Mr. Robert established a relationship. There’s comfort. Nyjah feels OK saying, ‘I don’t know that.’”

She also sees progress. “Nyjah’s more focused, getting his work done correctly. He is reading more. In math, he’s applying what he’s learned in tutoring. That’s where the progress is,” she reports.

Nyjah receives the nurturing, caring support he needs to succeed in school despite a full house and hectic schedules.

An hour a week can make all the difference for a child struggling in math. Your support of online math tutoring will help Nyjah get back to grade level.

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!

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