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Read With Me Ministry Reading Program

Ministry Contact: Roberta Klein

email (Roberta Klein) Robertaeklein@gmail.com

VISIT OUR NEW WEBSITE!  http://www.readwithmevolunteers.com


To provide assistance to children in the poorest geographic area of the desert so that they may develop to their maximum potential by learning how to read, comprehend and speak English and know that people care about them as individuals.
English speaking volunteers of all faiths commit one half day a week to go to Mecca Elementary School and Saul Martinez School to help children who live in homes where the primary language spoken is Spanish. The parents are from Mexico and work long hours in the fields and service industries.   The parents speak little or no English but they want their children to learn. We volunteer in individual classrooms to carry out whatever assignment the teacher gives us.  The teacher may want an individual volunteer to work with a specific child who will read to the volunteer.  He or she then helps the child with pronunciation and comprehension, or the teacher may ask the volunteer to help a small group (four or five) children with their lesson plan, essentially doing the same thing-- assisting with reading, comprehension and pronunciation and of course, encouraging and complimenting the child for their efforts.
Children who have been here for only a short time struggle with English.  Those who have been here for some time may be able to sight read and pronounce the words, but they often do not know the meaning or significance of what they have read.  You, as an English speaking mentor  help them understand what they have read by asking  questions about what happened in that story or assignment.  The emphasis is on learning to read, speak and understand English.  You are the English speaking role model. You are also a mentor who is encouraging each child to learn about our world and develop to his or her maximum capacity.  Your interest in each child and encouragement is a major reason for the success of this program.
It is ideal if you can volunteer once a week in the same classroom and work with the same children.  We ask for a commitment to going to a school a minimum of 8 times. The children need consistency and glow from the attention of the volunteers. (A number of volunteers go more than once a week)
We all have things that arise in a given week, so if you are not able to go on your regular day or days, just communicate with your teacher.   Your boss is the teacher.  Just tell the teacher the days you are unable to attend and she or he will adjust.  There are at least 20 children in each class (other than Special Ed) and your help is greatly valued by the teacher, the principal and the school district superintendent.
 Car pooling will be available at Sacred Heart every Tuesday, through Friday.  Some people drive themselves or car pool because they live closer or want to stay longer.  We will give you a map if you would like to do that.  If you drive please go into the school office each day and sign in.  The school needs to know the names of everyone on the campus. Those who take the bus are signed in at the bus and can go directly to the classroom.
We ask for a commitment to going to a school a minimum of 8 times. If you are interested please contact Roberta Klein at robertaeklein@gmail.com and we will provide you with more information.  All volunteers must also complete a Background Check and return it to the parish office and preregister with Read With Me indicating what day of the week they are available and what grade levels they prefer.
During the first week of November there will be a group orientation meeting each day at the   school for new volunteers.  Experienced volunteers will go in register and get classroom assignments. The school principal will bring us up to date on the changes at school and will answer questions.  Experienced volunteers can then go to directly to their assigned classrooms.  New volunteers will receive a formal orientation, decide how often they want to go and on what days, get an assignment and then go to their assigned classrooms for a brief time on their first day.  If you cannot go the first seven school days in November, then on your first day as a volunteer this year go to the office, indicate whether you have volunteered before, after filling out the paper work, if you have volunteered in the past you will be assigned to a classroom and can go directly there.  If you are a first time volunteer you will register and receive a small group orientation and then be assigned to a classroom based on your preference of week day you wish to volunteer and grade level you would prefer to be involved with.  There will be a second series of Group Orientations and additional training in mid-January.

On your first day this year, please introduce yourself to the teacher and tell him or her how often you will be coming.  Give the teacher your phone number or email address and ask for theirs.  Ask what specific task they want you to do.  It is difficult to chat in class so you may want to communicate by phone or email if you have other questions.
If you are not happy about the dynamics between yourself and the teacher or the students, go to the school office and ask the Volunteer Coordinator for reassignment to a different classroom.  It is very important to the success of the program that this experience is beneficial to the children and that you individually have a meaningful experience.
After you register to volunteer for the current year an identification tag will be given to you. It is VERY important that you wear it whenever you are on campus.
Volunteers who drive can start as early as mid-September and continue until the school year is over in early June.  The bus transportation will be available on Tuesday through Friday on all school days from November 1 until mid- April

We at Sacred Heart are focusing on Mecca Elementary School and Saul Martinez School along with volunteers from Hope Lutheran Church.   St Francis in La Quinta started the same program with volunteers going from their location to Las Palmitas School in Thermal which has the same demographics of student population as Mecca Elementary. The Palm Desert Presbyterian Church has the same program for The Oasis School. Friendship church volunteers go to Palm View School.  Southwest church volunteers go to Valley View school and Joslyn Center volunteers go to John Kelly School.
We also have volunteer opportunities at Cathedral City Elementary School.
Ideally we would like to have at least one volunteer for each class room each day of the week.  There are over 40 classrooms and some do not have volunteers.  In some classes the teachers want more than one volunteer at a time because certain children need more individualized help..
When you register to volunteer you will receive an information kit which will have the school address, telephone numbers, the lay-out of the classrooms, the teacher's names and a calendar of the school year with all school holidays listed.  If your regular volunteer day falls on a holiday and you want to go out that week anyway, just tell your teacher you would like to help on a different day.