Blog

3 Ways Volunteer Tutors are the Beating Heart of Children Rising

By Eric Steckel
April 22, 2022

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew

This week we celebrate National Volunteer Week. As an organization, volunteer tutors and mentors are the beating heart of all that we do for children and youth in our community. For over 20 years we have provided opportunities for loving, caring individuals to come alongside eager young students, empowering them to rise to their God-given potential.

Volunteer tutors foster relationships that spark learning so essential to a child’s growth and development in school and in life.

“They embrace and share our mission and vision, creating a spark in our community—a beacon of light and hope.”

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of volunteers to our work. Here are three ways they are uplifting our community.

  1. Loving, caring, one-on-one relationships – Volunteers come to Children Rising with a desire to make a difference in the life of a child. The children feel that love and care. Over time, deep relationships develop. Those relationships spark learning that is so essential to their growth and development in school and in life.
  2. Really good at what they do – Children Rising volunteers are trained and supported so that they can be effective immediately. No experience is necessary, but by the time they meet the children they will tutor, they are prepared to step in and be part of the team that nurtures and empowers these amazing kids.
  3. A beacon of light and hope – Our volunteers are not a boastful bunch, but without a doubt, they shine a light for others to see. Most of them recruit others—family, friends, or loved ones—to join them. They embrace and share our mission and vision, creating a spark in our community—a beacon of light and hope. Their caring actions inspire and uplift others.

Children Rising volunteers are trained and supported so that they are prepared to step in and be part of the team that nurtures and empowers these amazing kids.

Of course, the benefit of volunteering is a two-way street. Almost every volunteer we speak to shares a similar sentiment—their lives are enriched by the relationships they develop. By going outside of their comfort zone, they develop a new vocation that, as Wendell Berry wrote, is a calling “by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.” When they find that fit, it’s heartwarming for all.

Fittingly, National Volunteer Week concludes on Earth Day 2022. Millions of Americans will join hands outside with neighborhood clean-ups of streets, sidewalks, schools, parks, and along creeks and other waterways. There is power in community volunteerism. What truly powers Children Rising is a spirit of community volunteerism that is a beacon of hope not just once a year, but throughout the entire year.

If you are interested in volunteering, learn more about opportunities with Children Rising.

 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!

Perspectives — The Power of Family

By Jim Wambach
April 20, 2022

“If there is one thing educators can agree on, it’s this: children do better in school when their parents get involved in their learning.”— William Bennett

By coming alongside an eager student, you are empowering them to overcome COVID-related learning loss and rise to their God-given potential.

Imagine you’re a third-grade teacher trying to teach a third-grade curriculum while 67% of your class are two or more grade levels behind in their reading skills. On top of that, 74% of the class are two or more grade levels behind their foundational math skills. Where do you begin? How do you avoid leaving eager children behind?

This is the dilemma the teachers in our schools face this year.

Now, imagine you are one of those third-graders, three grade levels behind, and you are NOT catching up very quickly. You enter fourth grade, then fifth, with low self-confidence and become increasingly frustrated. When it is time to move into middle school, you are unprepared to learn at a higher level in a new environment with new friends.

This is the dilemma children in our schools have faced for many years, but now more than ever.

In 2006, we recognized an urgent need for children to have nourishing food over the weekend, and Health4Kids became part of the solution. As a community, we must now have that same high sense of urgency to help the children catch up from the unprecedented learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a teacher, you can see the difference in kids who have parents who were involved. That difference, by the time these kids get to the third grade, is drastic.”— Jenna Bush

Nakoa works at home on math.

Your support of Children Rising programs enables parents to become more skilled and confident in helping their children learn at home.

Without a concerted effort to provide the kids additional support in elementary school, we fear an increase in the number of eager children who will eventually disengage academically. In the coming years, we are at high risk of a tremendous rise in the failure rate of the children in our local neighborhoods.

Part of the solution is home empowerment. As a community, we must provide the necessary educational tools, training, and support for parents. Doing so will empower them to be more skilled and confident in helping their children learn at home.

By strengthening the team supporting these amazing children—parents, teachers, and tutors—many more will become active, confident learners and thrive in school instead of dropping out.

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!

Jamari Gets a POWER Boost In Reading

By Eric Steckel
April 7, 2022

At-home Literacy Tools Support Family Learning

Your support of Children Rising provides children with one-on-one tutors and POWER Packs—a compact box packed full of early-reader books and literacy materials for eager young learners.

Sometimes, kids just need a boost of POWER—Practice Opportunities With Emerging Readers—to get them back to grade level in reading. A compact box, packed full of early-reader books and literacy materials for eager young learners, POWER Packs are a new tool that Children Rising developed this year. They are designed to empower the families of Succeeding by Reading students to improve their children’s reading skills at home using the same materials we use in our program.

Jamari enrolled in SbR last winter. His mother, Janae, describes her son as “a little adventurer” who aspires to become a police officer. Jamari was an eager learner and made significant progress. However, as school ended, he remained considerably behind grade level. Jamari continued to receive tutoring sessions over the summer and was one of the first POWER Pack recipients.

“He really likes it. He’s getting what he needs at home,” Janae said. “Jamari loves the different books and hands-on tools and usually uses the POWER Pack on the weekend.”

Jamari is currently in the third grade. His tutor Joanne Ghiglieri observed that the extra work Jamari put in at home has paid off. “When he first came in, he said, ‘Oh, I know that. Oh, I had that before.’ He’s familiar because he had that jump-start. It gave him confidence in himself, which is a great thing.”

“The one-on-one relationship and resources at home are significant for parents like me. He’s more engaged in the classroom and more self-confident.”—Janae, Jamari’s mother.

Since working with Miss Joanne this year, Jamari has advanced two reading levels, enjoyed reading books like Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and used the POWER Pack to start writing sentences for his other school homework. He has even begun helping his first-grade sister in her reading!

“He sees what his tutor is doing and wants to do it with his sister,” Janae reported. “This will be really good for her!”

Thanks to his POWER Pack and tutor, Jamari has progressed two levels in reading.

Jamari’s progress is evident in class as well. “He’s more engaged in the classroom and more self-confident,” she said. “The one-on-one relationship and resources at home are significant for parents like me. He’s still a little behind, but he’s getting there.”

While Jamari still has work to do, he will continue to progress and should reach grade-level reading this year. However, many children like Jamari still need extra support to reach their God-given potential in school. Our vision is that one-on-one tutoring and family resources—a POWER boost—are available to all children in Oakland!

You can become a tutor today. Give an eager child the boost they need to reach their God-given potential.

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!