Adele Gerber, a professor emeritus of Temple University and retired author, has been involved with RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) of Montgomery County, Inc. for over a dozen years. Gerber, through RSVP's award-winning Service Learning collaboration with the Norristown School District, has personally designed and directed an innovative choral poetry program. The program, which involves high-risk elementary, middle school and high school students, stimulates an appreciation of language and helps young people refine speech and communication skills through choral performance. The students perform in local hospitals, nursing homes, and senior centers in Philadelphia. As Ms. Gerber has worked with her students, she has had an incredible impact on their abilities as well as their self-esteem.
About five years ago, Ms. Gerber developed a model family literacy project which trains county Head Start volunteers, day care personnel and parents who work with disadvantaged children. Her goal is to help the children attain language proficiency and instill an early love of books and reading. Ms. Gerber helped develop a reading list of books for preschoolers and researched each book to categorize it for 2, 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Ms. Gerber has also presented many workshops to professionals on how to read aloud effectively to young children and on how to encourage their language development.
Recently Ms. Gerber wrote a tutoring manual for the citywide "Philadelphia Reads" summer camp program. She has been invited to offer observation on her initial research as well as the follow-up camp tutoring project at the "America Reads" Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Washington this fall.
For the past eight years, Ms. Gerber has used her expertise during weekly visits with Tiffany Plummer, a young girl who has been neurologically impaired since birth. Ms. Gerber's love, care and hard work have helped Tiffany's speech improve significantly. She has also worked with others in RSVP's Literacy Program since 1991, helping freshmen with reading and writing to enhance their success in college.
RSVP is funded through grants and donations.