Richmond Rotary delivers $100 checks to all Peres Elementary teachers

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Richmond Rotarian Earl Brown (standing in yellow) with the teachers at Peres Elementary School on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2022. (Photo credit: Darlene Rios-Drapkin)

By Mike Kinney

Teachers are known to dig into their own pockets to ensure their students have the supplies they need for their education.

Recognizing this, members of the Richmond Rotary Club pay a visit to Peres Elementary on an annual basis — as they did again this past Wednesday — to deliver $100 checks to all teachers to help them buy school supplies.

Checks were provided to 31 teachers at Peres Elementary, located at 719 5th Street in Richmond. 

“These wonderful teachers at Peres put out their heart and soul for their students when they buy school supplies out of their own pocket,” said Richmond Rotary President Darlene Rios Drapkin.

Earl Brown, a Richmond Rotarian since 1976, joined in the visit to Peres Wednesday. His wife Phyllis was the granddaughter of the school’s namesake John Peres, a ranch owner whose land included the property where Peres Elementary is located. Peres donated land where the school was built in 1908.

Brown noted that Peres was on the local school board that hired Walter T. Helms to be superintendent of Richmond schools in the early 1900s. There is a middle school in San Pablo named after Helms, Mr. Brown noted. 

“Richmond Rotary Club’s service to Peres Elementary has been a tradition”, Rios-Drapkin said.

Richmond Rotarians deliver $100 checks to Peres Elementary School teachers on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2022. (Photo credit: Darlene Rios-Drapkin)

The Rotary Club established a dental clinic and a computer support center at the school, provides scholarship support and a variety of other programs.

When Brown’s wife Phyllis died in 2017, she left $10,000 to the Rotary Club with the understanding that it needed to raise the necessary funding to go to the teachers at Peres. Each year when the Rotary Club raises the money to fund the teachers, they Club provide $1,000 dollars to provide Art Education programs.

The Rotary used those funds to establish an after-school art education program at Peres with supplies and a teacher from the Richmond Art Center. The teacher they sent to Peres, believe it or not, is the great granddaughter of John Peres, said Brown.

“So proud to join Erle Brown to present checks to Peres School Teachers, who grinned from ear to ear, to receive these special gifts from Rotary Club of Richmond,” Rios-Drapkin reported on Facebook. “This is why we do what we do.”