THERMAL —Superintendent of Coachella Valley Unified School District, Dr. Edwin Gomez, recently received a check for $8,000 as a grant towards the $35,000 cost of using district school buses for nonprofit Read With Me Volunteers.
On hand to present the check were Read With Me founders Roberta and Clay Klein.
“Clay and I are delighted to be in a meaningful partnership with the CVUSD,” said Roberta Klein. “We greatly appreciate their support in bussing our volunteers to the extent of CVUSD’s ability.”
In 2004, when founders Roberta and Clay learned of underprivileged children from the east valley facing a future with poor reading skills, they started the nonprofit with one school. An idea was born. Why not provide transportation for retirees to go to the overcrowded East Valley schools and tutor those children who desperately needed help with English, grammar, pronunciation and reading skills? It worked like a charm and now, today, there are 12 local schools with two in Nevada.
So, going back to 2004, the year that Read With Me began, the Coachella Valley the graduation rate was 51.1 percent. In 2016 it was 86.1 percent. Its team of volunteers were and are responsible for improving language skills and helping more and more children have an opportunity for success. Language barriers can be overcome, and every child can have the opportunity to develop to their maximum capacity.
Now, more than 700 Read With Me volunteers travel weekly to twelve different schools in the Coachella Valley as far as 30 miles away, with two in Nevada. Every child in the Read With Me program has the opportunity to develop to their maximum capacity. All research indicated that if a child is not reading at grade level by the third grade most likely, they will drop out of high school. And when they drop out of high school, more than often, they will get into trouble, and sadly many times wind up in prison.
Read With Me volunteers commit to one to four hours a week working in the classroom under the direction of a teacher. The teacher in that classroom targets which children the volunteer is to work with and the materials to be used. Sometimes the volunteers work one on one and sometimes with a small group. An orientation class is provided in November and again in January at each school. Training videos are available.
During the season, Read With Me normally engages 500-600 registered Read With Me volunteers. Each volunteer is required to make a commitment of participating in a minimum of 8 weeks to work at least once a week, with the same teacher, in the same classroom. The teacher then directs which children need help and the materials to be used. Volunteer opportunities are available. For more information about Read With Me, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org