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Volunteer Tutor Profile: Susan Kelso’s Journey of Enriching Young Readers

By Eric Steckel
June 20, 2024

A Story of Dedication, Joy, and Impact in Children Rising’s Succeeding by Reading Program
Susan Kelso feels a sense of dedication, joy, and impact as a Succeeding by Reading tutor.

Susan Kelso, a volunteer tutor in Succeeding by Reading, feels a sense of dedication, joy, and impact as a.

Susan Kelso is an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer tutor in Succeeding by Reading with a wealth of experience and love for the kids. She retired in 2008 after a long career as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. Reflecting on her journey, Susan said, “When I retired, I knew I wanted to keep teaching, especially reading. It’s the cornerstone of learning, and I wanted to instill that love for reading early on.”

Susan joined Children Rising after a year away from the kids. She now shares her passion for nurturing children’s confidence and unlocking their potential through one-on-one tutoring, which she relishes. “The sooner you can help them if they’re struggling, the better because otherwise they just get more frustrated, losing self-confidence. So that’s part of the tutoring, helping them gain self-confidence and wanting to learn how to read. For many kids, all they’ve had is frustration,” she explained.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

Remarking on the breakthrough moments in tutoring, “All of a sudden, it’s like a light switch is turned on. When children learn how to read, it’s often, bam!” she exclaimed. “The children get much more excited and begin to love reading.”

She smiled when asked about the two girls she tutored this year. “I had one first-grader named Patience and another second-grader named Avelina, and they were both a lot of fun to tutor. Patience had an older sister who was a teenager, so she noticed every bit of makeup. Well, she said to me, ‘I don’t know about your lipstick. I think you better wear a pink lipstick.’” she said with a laugh.

Your support of Children Rising tutors transforms the lives of young learners, one tutoring session at a time.

Your support of Children Rising tutors transforms the lives of young learners, one tutoring session at a time.

Her commitment and consistency shine through. She believes the children need a reliable person in their lives and sees the impact it has on them and her. “Even during difficult times, I knew the kids were counting on me. It made me not think about things as much when I was there because I was too busy and focused on the tutoring. That responsibility kept me going.”

Susan emphasizes the importance of structure and support within the program, noting, “Children Rising provides a wealth of resources and a structured approach that makes tutoring effective and rewarding.”

She enjoys tutoring and admires Children Rising’s inclusive approach to tutoring. She encourages individuals from all walks of life to tutor a child or two! “That’s one reason I tutor. I want children to love reading, enjoy it, and not just see it as drudgery,” she affirms. “You don’t have to be a teacher to make a difference. Anyone with a heart for helping children can become a tutor.”

With Susan’s dedication and uplifting spirit, Children Rising continues to transform the lives of young learners, one tutoring session at a time.

Tutor a child! Yes, I can embrace a child in a
circle of care!

 I want to tutor a child in reading or math!

I want to fund Children Rising tutoring programs!

Thank YOU for another uplifting year!

By Sophia Wambach
June 20, 2024

Volunteers are the heart of Children Rising!
SbR Tutor Henrietta Fabio at Horace Mann Elementary School in Oakland.

Your dedication and support have been instrumental in helping children overcome learning challenges and rise to their God-given potential.

You have played such a critical role in another amazing year of one-on-one tutoring. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for each of you. We have had the privilege of witnessing countless children blossom, making remarkable strides in their reading and math skills. Your unwavering dedication and compassionate support have been the foundation of their success, helping them overcome the challenges they face at such a tender age. You have been alongside them in their journey. Thank you for making a difference in their lives.

This past school year Children Rising had 181 tutors support children in their learning. Wow! That breaks down to 102 reading tutors, 56 math tutors, and 23 homework tutors. What a testament to the community supporting our neighborhood schools.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

In Succeeding by Reading, you have empowered many eager second-graders who came to us reading at a TK level and are now reading close to grade level. While they still have work to do, confidence and hope spring forth. Most of the third-graders in Succeeding by Reading advanced and are prepared for the rigors of fourth- and fifth-grade schoolwork. Your role in this transformation is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

“Our volunteer tutors are Children Rising’s ‘superpower!’” exclaimed Rebecca Buckley, Succeeding by Reading program director. “It is an honor and a joy to support your work with students as they build the skills they need to become fluent readers. Your dedication to these kids gives them the encouragement they need to thrive. Thank you!”

Likewise, children in Path2Math experienced fantastic growth in their functional numeracy skills and critical reasoning ability. Your nurturing guidance enabled eager young students to learn math skills for life. In addition, you have provided them the hope and confidence to succeed in school, and in life.

Homework Tutor at Sankofa United Elementary School in Oakland.

Your time and passion is what makes Children Rising special and effective. You are uplifting the City of Oakland, one precious child at a time, and one nurturing tutoring session at a time.

“Volunteer tutors truly are the heart of all that we do at Children Rising. Your dedication, love, and support instill confidence and hope in the kiddos. Thank you for all that you did for the children,” shared Margena Wade-Green, Path2Math program director.

This past year, FamilyBridge embarked on a journey of helping students after school through homework tutoring and foundational learning support. Most parents and caregivers struggle to find the time to help their children with homework or feel incapable of supporting their children due to a language barrier.

“Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we launched this new initiative,” said Tai Dillard, FamilyBridge program director. “I am grateful you answered the call to share your time and talents with Children’s Rising’s newest program, FamilyBridge. More importantly, parents and caregivers thank you for taking the time to help their child advance academically.

Your time and passion is what makes Children Rising special and effective. You are uplifting the City of Oakland, one precious child at a time, and one nurturing tutoring session at a time. Thank you.

Tutor a child! Yes, I can embrace a child in a
circle of care!

 I want to tutor a child in reading or math!

I want to fund Children Rising tutoring programs!

Cisco Foundation Donates $75,000 to Accelerate Literacy and Numeracy Gains In Oakland

By Chelsea Boniak
June 13, 2024

Community Impact Grant Contributes to Circle of Care Services for Children in Oakland Schools
Cisco Foundation Donates $75,000 to Accelerate Literacy and Numeracy Gains In Oakland

The Cisco Foundation Community Impact Grant Program will accelerate children’s literacy and math skills, providing them a fairer chance to succeed in elementary school and beyond.

Children Rising is pleased to be the recipient of a generous grant from Cisco Foundation’s San Francisco Bay Area Community Impact Grant Program. The $75,000 award marks the fourth year that Cisco has supported Children Rising’s one-on-one tutoring and family support programs, addressing low childhood literacy and numeracy in under-resourced, Title 1 elementary schools in Oakland.

Accelerating Literacy and Numeracy Gains In Oakland

Education is critical to a child’s future prosperity. Children who learn to read and understand foundational math skills by third grade are far more likely to succeed in middle school, graduate from high school, and enjoy a fuller, safer, more prosperous life. Many elementary school children in Oakland, primarily Black and Latino, experience the devastating effects of severe educational inequity. Without literacy and numeracy gains, a disproportionate number will fail to succeed in school and drop out before graduating high school.

Will you complete HER Circle of Care?

Through one-on-one reading and math tutoring, and family support, you will nurture an eager child in a circle of care so they may succeed in school.

Grant Supports High-dosage Tutoring and Family Engagement

The Cisco Foundation’s Bay Area Community Impact Grant program’s mission is to close the education achievement gap for low-income kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the Bay Area.

“Thank you for your important work to help close the educational achievement gap for students in the Bay Area. It has been a sincere joy working with you and your team,” said Hoa Tran, program manager, Social Innovation Investments, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Cisco Foundation Accelerates Literacy and Numeracy Gains In Oakland

Your support, as well as that of amazing foundations like Cisco Foundation, will enable many more children to become active, confident learners and thrive in school instead of dropping out.

Through the grant, Children Rising will enhance Succeeding by Reading, Path2Math, and FamilyBridge programming to provide higher dosage levels of tutoring to each child in the program while enabling parents and guardians to provide more confident and enhanced academic support at home. The result of this enhanced learning approach will allow young elementary school students to prepare for more advanced learning in fifth grade, middle school, and beyond. They will have a much more equitable chance of success throughout their school years.

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

Thanks to the Cisco Foundation. We are grateful to once again be part of the San Francisco Bay Area Community Impact Grant Program, and to work together to empower children and families in our community.

Tutor a child! Yes, I can embrace a child in a
circle of care!

 I want to tutor a child in reading or math!

I want to fund Children Rising tutoring programs!

I'm Interested in Volunteering and would like more information


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