Children Rising: Helping Children Succeed in the Face of Adversity

With the help of a We Raise grant made possible by donors like you, youngsters in Oakland, Calif., are rising above the challenges of poverty, violence, and educational inequity to reach their God-given potential.

Four years ago, testing revealed the vast majority of second graders in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) fell one or more grade levels behind in math. Without intervention, children were at high risk for falling further behind, losing self-esteem, and eventually dropping out of school.

Children Rising — a nonprofit organization which had already proved to be effective in tutoring children with reading — wanted to address this need, but resources were scarce. In 2019, We Raise awarded the organization a $100,000, three-year grant to expand its tutoring program to include math. 

Today, they are experiencing remarkable success through a program called Path2Math, developed in collaboration with OUSD math educators. Path2Math develops foundational math understanding and critical reasoning abilities in second-grade children, the age a vast majority of educators now believe is key for determining future educational success.

Children Rising pairs a struggling student with a tutor for the entire academic year. Mikayla was one of the first children to enroll in the program. Though initially shy around her mentor, Kathleen, the pair bonded quickly and the two became a team on a mission.  

Kathleen is sold on the program. “If the child misses a few problems in a row, it takes them back to where they had success, but keeps moving them forward in their skill level. At the same time, you’re praising their accomplishments and building self-esteem. It diagnoses where a child is and then gives you recommendations.

“What really blew my mind was when Mikayla started adding and subtracting in her head, not on paper, and not counting on her fingers.”

Mikayla’s mother cites the one-on-one attention as pivotal to her daughter overcoming her learning challenges, “It’s helped her stay focused and engaged.”  

Throughout the year, deep, caring relationships are formed that foster confidence and hope.  “What I love about Children Rising,” adds another volunteer, “is their dedication to help the kids. No stone is left unturned to get the kids to show up for tutoring or to give them the extra support they need. The program is well-rounded, organized, and very effective.”

The future of vulnerable children is determined by what we do now. Children Rising has turned a profound need into an amazing opportunity to do more for the children in the Oakland community, helping to close the devastating achievement gap that widened during the pandemic.  

Your generous gifts to We Raise empowered Children Rising to reach Mikayla and hundreds of other students with the help they needed — any many still need — to catch up with their peers. Thank you for investing in the present and future success of children like Mikayla.

We work hand in hand with Christian non-profits to end poverty, violence and inequality in our communities. Take action today and raise up those in need.