What is a “Community Enablement Engine?”
By Jim Wambach
Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” – Alexander Den Heijer
“Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning but also capable of succeeding” – Robert John Meehan
At Faith Network of the East Bay, we are grateful for the growing team of volunteers, community partners, and financial donors who share a passion for helping vulnerable children in our community rise above the generational effects of poverty, violence and educational inequity.
We are truly in the midst of an educational crisis that is deeply affecting our city’s most vulnerable children. This academic year, it is estimated that 1,800 of the 4,000 second-graders at OUSD will complete the year with reading and math skills substantially below what is required for them to have a fair opportunity for success during the remainder of their education.
With your help, Faith Network of the East Bay continues to respond to the many school principals and teachers who need additional support for students struggling to learn critical, foundational reading and math skills. These children are typically performing at two or more grade levels below expectations, and are very much in danger of getting “lost” in the system without immediate additional help.
Our Community Enablement Engine in Overdrive
Last fall, greatly concerned by the scope of the educational inequity in our local neighborhoods, we made a decision to substantially expand our efforts so we can enable more members of the community to support many more children in the coming years. In fact, we have recently implemented a four-year plan designed to provide personalized tutoring to as many as 2,000 struggling children – more than 5 times as many students as we tutor today!
Of course, none of this is possible without all of the wonderful people and organizations of the East Bay who consistently rally around the children and invest their love, time, skills and financial support. Meanwhile, our community enablement engine provides the opportunity, training and support.
Meeting vulnerable children at the crossroad of promise and risk
It takes a village to not only raise a child, but also to help that child truly be empowered to realize their full potential. We know that empowered children develop from healthy relationships and healthy relationships are most successfully cultivated within diverse and loving communities of people who want to make a lasting impact.
In the coming months we will be working hard to better inform and educate the broader community about the children in our local schools most impacted by poverty, violence and educational inequity – children truly at life’s crossroad of promise and risk. We hope to make it easier to understand both the urgency of the need and how possible it is for each one of us to transform a child’s life from one of despair to one of hope and fulfillment – while making progress toward realizing a future of educational equity for all.
By nurturing vulnerable children in our most under resourced schools with a caring community and equipping them with academic and life skills crucial to their growth and fulfillment, all of us will be providing hope, the dare to dream and an opportunity to close the achievement gap for the many children and youth who need us the most.
For the children,