Blog

Merry Christmas from Faith Network!

By Faith Network of the East Bay
December 24th,2018

As we celebrate advent and the birth of Christ, I want to thank you for the gifts you have shared throughout the year. Your contribution of time, talent and treasure has helped thousands of struggling children.

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from Faith Network of the East Bay

While it is always better to give than to receive, my sincere hope is that you have received something in return…

…such as a child’s smile as they made a breakthrough in reading or math.

…or the satisfaction of making a gift to a program that is making a profound difference in your community.

From all of us at Faith Network, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and thank you for being part of our family.

Warm regards,

 

It’s NOT JUST About Getting Better Grades – Part 2: Empowering Children!

By Jim Wambach
December 22nd,2018

Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director

Part 1: Volunteer Tutor: It’s NOT JUST About Getting Better Grades!

Empowerment: “The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights” – Oxford Dictionary

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week, I was speaking to a woman who is passionate about helping young girls overcome a false, but still too-common stigma, that “girls are not naturally good at math” – and the ongoing obstacles to professional success that can result from that assumption.

Empowering children to learn in math and reading.

You provide personal support to each student every week, empowering them to learn in math and reading.

This caused me to look more closely at the children who are currently enrolled in our Path2Math program. Path2Math is specifically designed to help struggling second graders become “math literate”, while strengthening overall critical reasoning ability. By doing so, these children are able to more confidently and capably improve their math skills and ability in middle school, high school and beyond.

Guess what? Two-thirds of our Path2Math second graders are girls! This is NOT because they have less math aptitude! Instead, as my new friend explained a couple days ago, girls are historically more likely than boys to be less encouraged or supported in math … and this can be exacerbated by expectations rooted in culture and history.

Our wonderful tutors provide personal support to each student every week and help the children develop both their enjoyment and foundational understanding of math. Importantly the young girls and boys are also:

Growing their confidence and self-esteem
Developing more independence
Building personal resilience
Developing self-respect
Becoming better learners

Empowering children to dream.

You are empowering children to dream of the future.

In short, we have an opportunity to be a part of empowering children to better engage in the world around them in a more meaningful way. This is why we do what we do!

Everyday, I’m reminded of how important it is for all of us to come alongside more struggling children who are at the very real crossroad of promise and risk. Please share your talent, time and love – or donate to help us say “Yes” to empowering more and more of these children.

For the Children,

Jim

YES, I CAN help transform a child’s life. Let’s talk!


 I want to be a tutor or mentor this school year. Tell me more!

 I want help fund Faith Network tutoring and mentoring programs.

Look At What We Accomplished Together In 2018!

By Faith Network of the East Bay
December 21st,2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I reflect upon what an amazing year it has been here at Faith Network of the East Bay. Through your steadfast partnership, generosity and prayers, we have been able to go deeper and broader as we come alongside children and youth at the crossroad of promise and risk.

Here are just a few of the milestones we celebrated this past year!

Miss Leslie and Dominic work on math problems.

One-to-one relationships that you build help struggling students like Dominic get back to grade level in math and reading.

  • During the summer break, Path2Math, a first of its kind, 1:1 math tutoring program was conceived, designed and co-developed with Oakland Unified School District. It has already surpassed its 1st year goals and is serving 60 children in 6 schools! We expect Path2Math to be available to all schools currently supported by our Succeeding by Reading Program within the next 2-3 years.
  • Our Succeeding by Reading program, continues to grow and be strengthened with extraordinary staff and volunteers, updated tutor training and tutoring materials. We are now able to support more struggling children to achieve grade-level literacy – and are implementing a total of 22 literacy clinics this year – a 15% increase over last year.
  • Our CareerBridge program excelled at providing newly arrived immigrants with work -based learning opportunities, and providing 46 paid summer internships, nearly double the previous year. Additionally, four deserving high school seniors received scholarships to help them realize their dreams for life after high school.
CareerBridge provides work -based learning opportunities

Your support of CareerBridge helped newly-arrived immigrants receive work -based learning opportunities.

There are so many children who are in need of love and support from the community… As we look forward to the New Year, we will continue our steadfast focus on nurturing and equipping more vulnerable children in the East Bay schools most impacted by poverty and violence.

… When evaluating your year-end donation priorities, consider a donation to Faith Network. Please make a contribution ONLINE, and help us move into 2019 with the resources to help more children. Just click on the link below.

For the children,

Jim

YES, I CAN help transform a child’s life. Let’s talk!


 I want to be a tutor or mentor this school year. Tell me more!

 I want help fund Faith Network tutoring and mentoring programs.

CareerBridge Gave Me a Dream Summer Internship in Oakland

By Eric Steckel
December 18th,2018

“Summer internships give you a view of the world, and life, and I wouldn’t have had a chance to do this without CareerBridge.”

Alicia has big dreams for her future, as well as a lot of drive and initiative. However, opportunities to gain valuable summer internship opportunities seemed totally out of reach… until she heard about CareerBridge.

“I would not have had a summer work opportunity at BART if it weren’t for CareerBridge,” she explains. “Mr. Sundman showed me that I can get involved, and work through the summer, and really dive in and see what they do there.”

Alicia at BART Summer Internship in Oakland

Summer Internships in Oakland that you provide open doors for eager students like Alicia.

Alicia jumped at the opportunity. She took CareerBridge workshops to prepare for her internship at BART. Throughout the summer internship in Oakland, she assisted the communications team while learning more about the communications field. Alicia learned to draft media advisories, run press events and coordinate community outreach.

“Working on projects at BART is not the same as school. It gives you a view of the world, and life, and I wouldn’t have had a chance to do this without CareerBridge.”

But a career in communications is not Alicia’s aspiration.

“If you are really serious about your dream career, CareerBridge saw that and wanted to help me pursue my dream.”

“I actually want to be a veterinarian,” she confesses. “I want to open up my own practice. So being in the business setting, and getting to know people from different cultures, and working with others is really going to help.”

Dave Sundman, the CareerBridge program manager, listened to Alicia and connected a few dots.

“The Kensington Veterinary Hospital has been a longtime supporter of Faith Network,” Dave said. “So I reached out to Beth Phimister, [owner and lead veterinarian], and asked if they would consider taking Alicia in for an internship or a job shadowing opportunity. She said ‘absolutely!’ And that set the wheels in motion.”

Alicia celebrates with Margena Wade-Green and Jim Wambach

Your generous support helps fund meaningful paid Summer Internships in Oakland and the Bay Area.

Alicia is preparing to job shadow at the Kensington Veterinary Hospital so that she can get a unique insiders perspective into her dream job. “I had no idea that Faith Network had those connections,” she said. “I don’t know any veterinarians, and I was just so thankful for the opportunity because this is really going to help me get a view of what it takes to start a practice.”

For Alicia, the internship at BART was an amazing experience. However, job shadowing at the veterinary clinic will provide an ever deeper level of experience as she pursues her career.

“If you are really serious about your dream career, CareerBridge saw that and wanted to help me pursue my dream,” she said. “They are helping me with the tools and connections to make that happen, and I am thankful.”

YES, I CAN help transform a child’s life. Let’s talk!


 I want to be a tutor or mentor this school year. Tell me more!

 I want help fund Faith Network tutoring and mentoring programs.

A Volunteer’s Words – “Learning and growing can’t happen with stomachs grumbling…”

By Faith Network of the East Bay
December 15th,2018

by Amy Hood, Health4Kids volunteer

This winter, we are excited to share the words of Amy Hood, a volunteer working with our Health4Kids program.

“This is my second school year volunteering with Health4Kids. A few years ago, Faith Network started working in partnership with Project Peace, an organization where I serve on the board and regularly participate in its Days of Service. I worked with a couple folks from Faith Network during those volunteer days and heard about some of its programs. I looked up what other volunteer opportunities were available and Health4Kids seemed to fit with my time constraints and passions.

Health4Kids

Health4Kids helps enable students to return to school on Monday mornings, nourished in both brain and body, and ready to learn.

I choose to volunteer with Health4Kids because, as a parent myself, I know that learning and growing can’t happen with stomachs grumbling. For me, food is nourishment and care. Spending an hour bagging food with the Health4Kids’ partners at the Alameda County Food Bank is a simple, yet profound opportunity for me to support the nourishment and care of so many kids, even though I don’t know their faces or their situations. Understanding that these two organizations ensure that kids reliably get some critical food needs met makes my effort more than worthwhile.

Each time I’ve volunteered with Health4Kids it has been an organized, efficient activity, which I’m certain is supported by lots of hours behind the scenes. I really appreciate this aspect. I’ve always been greeted enthusiastically and to my delight I have found camaraderie in some older, retired folks who have been volunteering for much longer than I have. In my daily circles of parenting two elementary-aged kids without family close by, I have missed multi-generational community. Health4Kids has given me the opportunity to fill some of that gap as I engage with older, wiser folks even just for an hour a couple times a month.

I am looking forward to the rest of this school year!”

Health4Kids Infographic

Health4Kids provides nutritious food for children and families.

Many children who are dependent on school-supplied breakfasts and lunches go home to empty cupboards and refrigerators over the weekend. Too often, these students come to school on Monday morning hungry, and unable to learn. The Health4Kids program was created to address the impact food insecurity and hunger can have on a child’s ability to learn. Health4Kids volunteers, in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bank, pack bags full of healthy, nourishing food to help ensure students come back to school well-fed and ready to learn on Monday mornings.

YES, I CAN help a struggling child. Let’s talk!


 I want to be a tutor or mentor this school year. Tell me more!

 I want help fund Faith Network tutoring and mentoring programs.

A One-to-One Relationship is Helping Dominic Get Back to Grade Level

By Eric Steckel
December 7th,2018

“When they feel safe, and that you’re on their side, they’ll take a risk in learning.” – Leslie Carey, Path2Math Tutor

Dominic is an enthusiastic, confident second-grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Oakland. However, like so many of his classmates, Dominic is substantially below grade level in math and reading.

Miss Leslie and Dominic are working to get back to grade level.

One-to-one relationships that you build help struggling students like Dominic get back to grade level.

“This has affected his ability to do and complete math and math word problems,” said Ms. Trosper, Dominic’s teacher. “Although he is stronger working with numbers, he has a hard time catching up in math due to the fact there are more word-heavy problems and equations he needs to solve.”

Second grade is a crucial year for Dominic. “It is a fun year to teach because we don’t have standardized testing and we can catch students up with their reading and math skills that they might not have through first grade or kindergarten,” Ms. Trosper continued. “A lot of things are at stake for Dominic next year because 3rd grade begins standardized testing, and these scores will follow him throughout his academic career.”

With the launch of our all-new Path2Math program in many of the same schools where we have our Succeeding by Reading clinics, Dominic has a unique opportunity to develop both his math and reading skills and get back to grade level. He will receive individualized instruction in both subjects from the same tutor, Miss Leslie.

“I just wanted to connect more with kids in a school community,” Leslie explained. “I’m distressed by the inequality in our country, and even within the city of Oakland. I think that education is part of addressing that problem.” Leslie, who started as a reading tutor last year, believes in the power of one-on-one relationships with struggling children.  “I think it’s really going to be very fun because I get to see Dominic twice a week and I will be able to build a stronger relationship with him. When they feel safe, and that you’re on their side, they’ll take a risk in learning.”

“I love that he has built up his confidence so that he can participate in class and really provide his insight and be very social.” –  Aasha Trosper, 2nd-grade teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

The goal is to help Dominic reach grade-level by the end of the school year. “I’ve been trying to bring reading into the ‘Math Club’ (as the students call it), so when we do the math club rules, the last time we had him read the rules aloud at the beginning. That was really nice, to just help him see the connections between things.”

Math Club helps students get back to grade level.

“The Math Club is super awesome because we get to count money and use the cash register,” – Dominic

At the end of a recent Path2Math session, the Math Club played shop. Dominic was given the chance to run the cash register, receiving “cash” payments from his classmates and giving back the correct change. “The Math Club is super awesome because we get to count money and use the cash register,” he boasts. But Leslie also makes him feel smarter, “Because she helps me. When I don’t know what I’m doing, she helps me.”

Early indications show that Dominic is prepared to put in the hard work. “One thing I love about him is that he’s really enthusiastic,” Leslie observed. “He’s always the first one with his hands up, trying to answer the problems. He’s eager to try the next thing.” Ms. Trosper agrees. “I love that he has built up his confidence so that he can participate in class and really provide his insight and be very social.”

There’s nothing like a supportive friend to give a struggling child a boost of confidence to get back to grade level. That’s the power of a one-to-one relationship.

YES, I CAN help a struggling child get back to grade level. Let’s talk!


 I want to be a tutor or mentor this school year. Tell me more!

 I want help fund Faith Network tutoring and mentoring programs.

  • I want to volunteer, BUT I don't know where to start.