Former National Executive Roberta Klein Is Newly Elected Chair Of Alzheimer’s Association Coachella Valley Advisory Council

PALM DESERT, CA. – (February 23, 2005) With a long career serving the non-profit sector in Chicago and as the author of four books for community-based agencies, Rancho Mirage resident Roberta Klein has been elected Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Coachella Valley Regional Advisory Council and joins the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties Chapter.

Klein’s long tenure in the non-profit arena began as a volunteer benefit chair with educational television and the Heart Association. Her professional association began with the Ray Graham Association for Handicapped People in Chicago in the early 70’s. She went on to become the Executive Director of the Illinois Epilepsy Foundation and, later, the Director of Human Resources for National Easter Seals, where she reorganized its benefit pension plan administration and investment procedures and began a series of management training programs to certify the 500 Executive Directors of Easter Seal chapters all over the United States. In recent years she has been a consultant to private foundations and public charities.

A New York native educated at Columbia University, Klein also earned a Masters Degree in management of rehabilitation agencies from DePaul University, Chicago. Under her professional name, Roberta Nelson Walker, Klein is the author of four books for community agencies serving disadvantaged and handicapped people. Her latest book, Fund Raising for Community Agencies, will be published this spring by High Tide Publishing in Homewood, Ill.

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Roberta’s skill and expertise and, given that we look to the Advisory Council for guidance and support on matters ranging from service provision to fundraising, I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified,” said Coachella Valley Regional Director Stephen Geist.

Locally, Klein started the Adopt-A-School Program with the Desert Community Foundation and Valley Partners and started a donor advised fund to provide for the special needs of students at the Saul Martinez Elementary School and the Mecca Elementary, both in Mecca. She initiated and continues to steward the Read With Me literacy program at Mecca Elementary School with 200 volunteers from Sacred Heart Church. Over 95% of the children at Mecca Elementary live in home where no English is spoken.

“The volunteers let children read to them and help with pronunciation and clarification of meaning. The aim is literacy for the children by listening to people who speak fluent English,” said Klein. “The wonderful by-product is the children love the individualized attention and learn to love reading and the volunteers feel they are truly being of help. Many of the volunteers say they learn as much from the children as they impart.”

The Alzheimer’s Association is the national volunteer health agency dedicated to researching the prevention, cure and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and to providing support and assistance to afflicted patients and their families. Klein’s mother died of dementia, one of the related disorders addressed by the Alzheimer’s Association.