Read with Me Volunteer Programs Honors Donors, Supporters

The Annual Major Donor Meeting and Brunch for Read with Me Volunteer Programs was held Sunday, November 14, at the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage.  Nearly 50 guests enjoyed the elegant setting, inspirational speeches, and delicious cuisine.

Read With Me Volunteer Programs mission is to assist local children from a low income, limited English speaking environment develop to their fullest potential by learning to read, comprehend and speak English while understanding that people care about them as individuals.

Master of Ceremonies and new board member, Patrick Evans, welcomed everyone before introducing Father Gregory Elder of Sacred Heart Church for the benediction and a short speech.

“Whether you are a volunteer reader, supporter, or whatever your part is in the mission of this nonprofit,” said Father Elder, “you are giving little children the opportunity to grow up, to prosper, to be successful members of American society and to pass on the message of liberty and justice for all.”

Evans returned to the podium to impart the story about how his grandparents were Italian immigrants who spoke little or no English.  However, they insisted that Evan’s father speak only English in the home as they felt it was very important that he learn English to be able to function in American society. He went on to earn a PhD in mechanical engineering and eventually he taught engineering at the University of Virginia.

After brunch, President Roberta Klein gave a review of the annual report.  “We trained over 200 volunteers to be able to tutor over Zoom and that was a huge challenge,” said Klein referring to the time during the pandemic shutdown.  “Last year, we tutored 2000 students.  Normally, we tutor 4200. The volunteers gave 5,314 hours of their time. We had 22 families that we helped with our emergency fund.  This includes food, clothes, rent, and even funeral expenses for a 10-year-old. We donated 35,000 books to 10,000 children in the Coachella Valley.  Currently, we have 315 volunteers. Volunteer tutoring makes a huge difference.  They are helping every child achieve a successful life as citizens of this country.”

The main speaker of the day was the former Superintendent of the Coachella Valley School District and current Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Edwin Gomez.  Dr. Gomez told his own story about being a poor immigrant and how two adult volunteers at the time would come to his classroom and help him with his math and reading.  It made a tremendous impact on his life.

“So, in essence,” said Dr. Gomez, “Read with Me volunteers are the extra hands, eyes, and hearts that are assisting our educational professionals to ensure that all students receive the support and encouragement that they need to become successful.”

Guests at the event included: Horst and Jo Engle, Pat & Ron Harris, Molly & Chip Harris, Andrea Evans, Dan & Sandy Giavanetti, Kelley Levy, Bob Maddox, Jeanie and Jim Morris, Dorothy Nipp,Dr & Mrs Luiz Valentino, Penny Wrobel.

For more information or to obtain an application about this rewarding volunteer opportunity, please click here or call 760-567-1830

Lead photo caption: from left to right:  Patrick Evans (RWM Board Member), Dr. Edwin Gomez (Supervision Riverside County Office of Education), Sherrie Auen (Auen Foundation), Father Gregory Elder of Sacred Heart), Roberta Klein (President of RWM), and Clay Klein (Secretary of RWM).

Image Sources

  • Read with Me Donors, Supporters: DeAnn Lubell