Volunteer Network Has East Bay Kids ‘Succeeding By Reading’
Jefferson Award Winner Founded Faith Network of the East Bay
When an East Bay pastor decided to give up preaching, it wasn’t because he was ready to retire. Instead, this week’s Jefferson Award winner is helping second graders improve their reading.
Randy Roth couldn’t believe that 60% of Oakland third graders were behind in their reading skills. So 15 years ago, he gave up his work as a full-time pastor to establish “Faith Network of the East Bay.” He says it’s not a church, it’s a “community benefit” non-profit.
“We do not provide religious services,” he explained. “But we provide services.”
Those services now reach into 36 East Bay schools, mostly in Oakland. Programs include workplace internships and college scholarships. But a key program is one called Succeeding by Reading. Three hundred tutors spend an hour a week working one-on-one with second graders, focusing on reading and comprehension.
“It’s one thing to read words on a page. It’s another thing to carve a pumpkin so you know what pulp really means,” Roth pointed out.
Alameda: Benefit Concert Set for Ruby Bridges Elementary Science Camp
“ALAMEDA — The inspirational voices of the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir will be heard Jan. 25 at Alameda’s Kofman Auditorium in a benefit “Seedlings” concert for Ruby Bridges Elementary School’s fifth-grade science camp in March….
“Now in its sixth year, the three-day, two-night science camp at Mission Springs Outdoor Education Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains gives Ruby Bridges’ students — some for the first time — the chance to explore nature and the outdoors and discover science in a completely new way.
“Faith Network of the East Bay, a collaboration of congregations and organizations founded in 2001, sponsors the science camp as well as other practical help for East Bay children and families.”
West Oakland Youth Help Bay Bridge Opening
“As the old Bay Bridge closed and construction teams worked over Labor Day weekend to prepare for the opening of the new span, a number of teenagers were among those who worked tirelessly to help get the job done.
“Young people had the opportunity to gain work experience in different capacities – engineering, directing traffic, and raising awareness about the bridge closure. They had been hired through multiple organizations including the Caroline Yee Future Scientists Fund through Faith Network of the East Bay, the Transportation Management Association of San Francisco (TMASL Connects), Job Corps, and Teen Challenge….”
Good Samaritans: Faith Network’s volunteers and deeds help students in need
FIVE YEARS AGO, Emerson Elementary School in Oakland had no library. Yes, it had a room that was designated as the library. But the books were hopelessly out of date, some going back to the 1950s. And they were packed away in boxes and crates amidst piles of old furniture, so the children couldn’t access them even if they wanted to.
Then, one day, some Good Samaritans showed up…
Thanks to Barbara Rogers and KPIX staff for the excellent piece on Faith Network’s school adoption program which was aired on the 5 PM Newscast on Channel 5 (CBS) on Friday, November 14. The broadcast included clips of the Skyline Gospel Choir, one-on-one tutoring at Burbank and interviews with volunteer Ruth Banks and Principal Alanna Lim.
“Wishes can come true, if you find the right “genie.” Just ask Michael Scott, an East Oakland school principal. He has a dream to energize the student body and beautify the campus at E. Morris Cox Elementary School. But without the money, he needed some magic to pull it off.
“What came instead was divine intervention, from Faith Network of the East Bay. The group hooked Scott up with Berkeley muralist Edythe Boone, who shared his mission and saw the benefits to the school and the neighborhood. The mural was unveiled on the playground this week and the sense of pride was heartwarming. You hear plenty of bad news about Oakland schools. But good news comes from small acts of kindness like these.”
“With the presence (at Burbank Elementary) of Faith Network, a non-profit church-related volunteer organization, a remarkable difference in the school has been made in spirit, flesh and improvements.”