Read with Me Nonprofit Faces Current COVID-19 Volunteer Tutoring Challenges Head on with Innovative Remote Programming

It’s 2020 and Covid-19 pandemic shut down not only businesses around the world, but also many of the good humanity services provided by nonprofits, especially Read With Me Volunteers (RWMV).  RWMV has been sending volunteer tutors to Coachella Valley Unified School District schools since 2004.

RWMV founders, Roberta and Clay Klein, saw the need to bus volunteers to schools that serve disadvantaged students to help them develop to their maximum potential with the primary effort to provide English speaking role models for students who are in need of individual assistance in learning to become fluent in English.  With the help of local churches and the school district, their vision to help disadvantage children came true.

Since that time, RWMV has sent more than 750 volunteers every year to ten schools in the Coachella Valley.  They assist the teachers.  Students read to these volunteers – not the other way around.  The volunteer was then able to give individual attention to correct grammar and pronunciation, as well as ask questions to make certain the children comprehend what they have read.  This individual attention established a love for reading and incentive to learn.  The success stories over the past 16 years have been remarkable as these dedicated volunteers have helped many disadvantaged children to strive for a brighter future, as well as better job opportunities.

To keep up with modern challenges during this time of crisis, starting this month, RWMV has set up training centers to help teach volunteers to work with students remotely with the help of their teachers.  Social distancing and safety measures have been established at each location. RWMV is accepting new and returning volunteers to tutor 100% remotely at these training stations. Also, phone training for long-distance volunteers is being designed for the future.

“After months of working with the CVUSD, said RWMV President Roberta Klein, “we have created a program that will permit our volunteers to learn how to tutor from computers or other electronic devices such as I-Pads.  Local churches have made space available to hold training sessions four mornings a week in rooms large enough to accommodate 10 volunteers at a time, as well as a trainer using 6-foot social distancing.   Five specialists are available to conduct the training.  Everyone will wear masks except the trainer who will wear a clear plastic shield when addressing the group and a mask when sitting near them.  Our organization has rented a 860 sq. foot office from the H. N. and Frances C Berger Foundation in Palm Desert.”

Volunteers must agree to a background check.  When approved, they can then make a reservation to come to an assigned Resource Center for an information session.  RWMV specialists will load appropriate software onto the volunteer’s device.  The RWMV board of directors recognizes that the children, who have already missed six months of full classroom learning, need tutoring assistance more than ever.

Remote learning cannot replace in-person tutoring with the children, but it is the best way to fulfill the RWMV mission to make certain that every child has the opportunity to develop to their maximum potential, become productive citizens, and  fully enjoy the American way of life.

For more information about Read With Me Volunteer Programs, click here.