Who We Are
Every young child deserves a fair chance
Children Rising is an education nonprofit founded in 2001 in partnership with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), devoted to ensuring that every young child gets a fair chance to learn in school and succeed in life.
Educational inequity is a long-term social injustice impacting children in low-income neighborhoods throughout the East Bay. Children, primarily Black and Latino, are systematically locked out of opportunity due to their zip code. Historically, these eager-to-learn children are not provided enough of the right resources to give them a fair chance to succeed in school.
Children Rising mobilizes community support for struggling elementary school children living in Oakland’s lowest-income neighborhoods. We concentrate our efforts on three programs that provide individualized reading and math support from trained, caring volunteer tutors and support for families of children enrolled in our programs.
Today, with over 200 trained tutors and mentors from church congregations and diverse community and business partners, we provide elementary school children one-on-one literacy, math and homework tutoring in the most in-need elementary schools.
To nurture and equip children to rise above the challenges created by generations of poverty, violence, and educational inequity.
Every struggling child is reached by a caring community at a critical time in their life to nurture hope, the courage to dream, and the opportunity to thrive.
How is Children Rising enabling struggling students to thrive?
We are inspired by our faith to act on behalf of those struggling from the effects of poverty and violence in our community. Just as faith without works is dead, our faith in action is a non-proselytizing, outward manifestation of a whole and harmonious relationship with God and with our neighbors. Seasoned by grace through prayer, our acts work for the Shalom of the city – its health, welfare, and prosperity.
We believe there is something wonderful about the East Bay – this “city” where God has placed us. We are proud of the East Bay’s vibrant history, cultural significance and achievements, and the tenacity of our diverse people to not just survive, but thrive. We recognize the people of this city – from lifelong residents to newcomers – hunger for a future of equal opportunity and prosperity. We believe in our city and seek to work with other individuals, organizations, and institutions in our community to fight for our children’s futures so that the East Bay is a beacon of hope and light for the rest of the nation.
We recognize God’s unyielding concern for the vulnerable, and affirm the dignity and sanctity of all persons because we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. We seek to open doors of learning and opportunity for children most impacted by poverty, violence, and educational inequity, regardless of their family’s economic status, education level, immigration status, nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or zip code.
We dream of a community where all children have access to resources they need to succeed, both academically and in life. In schools just a few miles away, there is a world of difference in achievement and opportunity. We value educational equity, where every student is provided not only equal resources, but also the caring attention and additional resources to catch up, succeed, and close the achievement gap.
Following divine precedent, we believe deep and caring relationship is vital. From tutoring to nurturing volunteers to working with community partners, we value relationship in all aspects of our work. We believe heartfelt relationship between tutor and student accelerates the learning process. Whatever the academic gain – great or little – a child is empowered by the knowledge they are worth the time of a caring community and therefore matter greatly to all. We prioritize cultivating strong relationship with volunteers, schools, community organizations, businesses, and congregations of all faiths because we know all want to serve the children in our city; and it is only by working alongside one another that we will have the greatest impact.
The ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote of a servant who, “Will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench…” Guided by the example of this humble servant, we seek to address inequity in the service of justice. Our work proceeds quietly, person-to-person, as we encourage and equip children and youth to discover and develop their unique gifts and potential…like acorns growing into mighty oaks.
“The training and experience of the Children Rising team is very important to success. Their ongoing evaluation of the students, and suggestions for dealing with particular student needs, greatly enhance the ability of the tutor to stimulate progress by the student.”
– Robert C. Field, Tutor