For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Public information Officer, (510) 981-7008

CITY EMPLOYEES ARE DROPPING EVERYTHING TO READ
More than 30 City of Berkeley employees will be giving their time to read

Berkeley, California (Monday, March 12, 2007) - When the call comes to Drop Everything And Read, it won’t be just Berkeley students who cozy up with a book.

On Tuesday’s DEAR Day celebration, 160 volunteers— including more than 30 City of Berkeley employees— will come to Berkeley public schools for reading time. Almost three dozen City of Berkeley volunteers are taking a morning break to share their love of books and learning.

“The employees of this city are truly outstanding,” said City Manager Phil Kamlarz. “Every day they work for Berkeley residents, and then they take a break to help the community a little more. That’s a real mindset for service that everyone in Berkeley can be proud of.”

The readers come from a variety of departments, including the police department, the fire department, and the library. Fire Chief Debra Pryor will be reading, and some of Berkeley’s elected officials will also be picking up their favorite books: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will be reading at Washington Primary School, Councilmember Linda Maio will be at LeConte Science Magnet School, and Councilmember Gordon Wozniak will be at John Muir School. Washington is located at 2300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, LeConte is at 2241 Russell Street, and John Muir is at 2955 Claremont Avenue.

"Reading a story to kindergartners is a wonderful way to start my morning,” said Julie Sinai, Senior Aide to Mayor Tom Bates.  "The kids are so eager and enthusiastic and the schools are so welcoming - it's such a rewarding experience for all involved!”

The City’s involvement in DEAR Day is part of a citywide campaign to increase opportunities for employees to volunteer their time in the community. Past by the City Council last fall, this is the second major event to receive City volunteer participation.

The Berkeley community has a long history of supporting students and the public schools. Because of that commitment, the waiting list to volunteer on DEAR Day has the names of more than 20 people. Visitors arrive in the classroom at 9:20 a.m. and read at 9:30 a.m.

Those interested in volunteering for Berkeley Public Schools can learn about those opportunities at http://www.bpef-online.org or call 510-644-8833.

For more information about DEAR Day or to coordinate a media visit, call Mark Coplan, Communication Director for the Berkeley School District, at (510) 472-3811.

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