Change A Child’s Life (and Your Own)

By Faith Network of the East Bay | November 2nd,2016

After teaching students for over 30 years, Vivian received a most unexpected gift.

“A dear friend and I were walking our favorite trail in Lafayette, out in the fresh air and experiencing God’s nature,” she explains. “Kim had been tutoring students, and asked me to join her. She just knew how much being with children and working with children fed my soul, and urged me to join her.”

That first encounter with Kim was just a little seed.

Vivian and student“It was a simple invitation, but it had big meaning for me.” Vivian accepted the invitation to be a reading tutor, and began tutoring second and third grade students in the Oakland Unified School District that fall. Her first students were already two years behind in their reading skills, but Faith Network of the East Bay’s Succeeding by Reading program was so well organized, she was ready to step in and immediately make an impact.

“That first day tutoring really set the stage for my anticipation and encouragement to come back and to be a part of that wonderful organization,” Vivian explained.

Not every week is not easy though…

img_7825Some days the kids just aren’t ready to learn. They’ve forgotten their material, or they’ve come to the session out of sorts, or they’re hungry and irritable. “There are days, and weeks, when it’s really hard to have the children focus, and to feel like you’re making some progress with them,” Vivian explains. “It can be difficult, whether you have been a teacher or not.” She is quick to point out the importance of the training that Faith Network provides, and the comradery of her fellow tutors.

“Sometimes it’s really helpful to have a chance to talk to the other tutors, or to the program director. They help overcome some hurdle that you, or the student, can’t quite get beyond. And to know that each week is another step in their lives, and in yours too.”

“It will give you a new purpose and joy in life working with them.”

“To have one-on-one time with a child is a rare privilege,” says Vivian. “They’re little sponges that soak up not just what you’re teaching them but how you’re loving them. It’s a great privilege to have those children that God gives me time with, and their progress by the end of the year is remarkable.”

Tutoring is truly a highlight of her week, and Vivian can’t wait to meet the next child she will tutor in the upcoming school year.

Your gift will help us accomplish our goal…and improve reading proficiency in Oakland Public Schools.

This fall we’ve embarked on our Second Matching Fund Campaign.  We’re seeking to match $60,000 pledged by major donors. The challenge is to raise an additional $60,000 by November 30 to reach our Matching Fund goal of $120,000.

The hundreds of donors and volunteers who support Faith Network are helping underperforming students reach their potential. Your financial gift helps loving tutors like Vivian make a difference in the lives of  at-promise youth.

You can send your check via snail mail (note Challenge Fund on the memo line) to the address below, or you can donate online by going to: http://www.faith-network.com.

Article by Eric Steckel, Turnpike Digital