Read with Me Volunteer Luncheon Offered Up Special Moments, Surprises, Announcements [Review]The annual Read With Me volunteer luncheon was held at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells on April 4. It was an exceptional event with Riverside County officials, school principals and teachers representing 17 local elementary schools; clergy from local churches; and loyal supporters, who were on hand to not only honor RWM devoted volunteers, but to honor their cherished leader, Roberta Klein, who is retiring after 18 years of devotion and leadership to the charity she founded along with her husband, Clay.
While awaiting the luncheon program to begin, guests were treated to several traditional dance numbers by adorable young girls and boys from Ballet Folklorico Dancers and Mariachi Band of Cesar Chavez Elementary under the direction of Maria Hassan and Hernan Marquez. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by General Guido Portante. Pastor Reverend Gregory Elder conducted the opening prayer. The master of ceremonies for the day, KESQ Meteorologist and Read With Me board member, Patrick Evans, introduced Roberta Klein, who gave the annual report and introduced representatives at each table of the schools who were in attendance.Dr. Edwin Gomez, Supervisor of Riverside County Office of Education, who has been a longtime supporter and board member of Read With Me Volunteers, came to the podium. As usual, Dr. Gomez gave an inspirational speech. “I can’t think of a more important subject in the realm of public schooling than in the area of literacy,” said Dr. Gomez. He continued with the exciting announcement that a partnership between Read With Me and the Riverside County Office of Education has been formed. Through this partnership, an executive director will be hired to run the Read With Me Volunteers day to day operations in 17 local schools, as well as fundraising to pay for the $600,000 annual budget. “This has proven to be an outstandingly effective tutoring program since 2004,” continued Dr. Gomez.
Under her direction, Roberta Kline has achieved miracles as President and Founder of this nonprofit. The facts speak for themselves. She has raised almost $4 million dollars to sustain the program. She has recruited, registered, and assigned more than 4800 volunteers who tutored over 100,000 students at 19 different schools. Over the years, under Klein’s leadership, Read With Me Volunteers has given away 300,000 books to children. And now, she feels it is time to retire.
“I am thrilled to be able to hand the reins over to Sean Webb who will assume that role on May 15,” said Klein. “I will remain on the board, act as a mentor for Sean, and continue as volunteer coordinator for Sacred Heart Church and Mecca school. Sean Webb has all the credentials and experience to handle this challenging but rewarding role making a huge difference in the lives of students and volunteers. Sean most recently has been the Executive Director of the Desert Sands Community Education Foundation.”
After lunch, 19 volunteers were acknowledged with award certificates for their dedication and service. Clay Klein was honored as Overall Volunteer of the Year. Then Roberta Klein received a parade of well-deserved proclamations and certificates of honor from many politicians and clergy including U.S. Congressman 25th District Dr. Raul Ruiz, U.S. Congressman 41st District Ken Calvert, Assemblymember District 35 Eduardo Garcia, Riverside Board of Supervisors V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Supt. Of Schools Dr. Edwin Gomez, Catholic Diocese San Bernadino Biship Alberto Rojas, and Pacifica Synod of the ELCA Bishop David Nagler.
All in all, it was a befitting celebration for this amazing woman and the hundreds of volunteers in attendance. More volunteers are urgently needed to continue the Read With Me Volunteer’s vital missions. For more information or how you can become a volunteer and work with disadvantage children to help develop their maximum potential, please go to www.readwithmevolunteers.com
Photo caption above:
Board Member and Founder Clay Klein, President and Founder Roberta Klein, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Office of Education Dr. Edwin Gomez. (Photos by DeAnn Lubell and Judy Vossler.)
- Roberta Klein with six-year-old Alyeza Guzman, who delivered a touching speech.: DeAnn Lubell and Judy Vossler
- Board Member and Founder Clay Klein, President and Founder Roberta Klein, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Office of Education Dr. Edwin Gomez.: DeAnn Lubell and Judy Vossler