Richard Imperiale – Individual

Imperiale-001Richard Imperiale began volunteering in the early 1970’s.  Over the years he was involved with his children’s activities including Boy Scouts (as a leader and merit badge counselor), DeMolay, Little League Baseball, and Rainbow Girls.  He coached long jump for five years at Woodside High School. For the last fifteen years he has been involved with the Junior Olympics for 7-12 year olds held at Woodside High School.

Even though he has never had children or grandchildren at Hoover School in Redwood City, for the past thirteen years Richard has volunteered four hours a day Monday through Thursday.  To all he is affectionately known as Mr. I!  He reads books with students and works with small groups on their math and reading skills.  If you saw him in the classroom, you would think he was a second teacher. You would see him reviewing a range of skills from learning new vocabulary words to remembering the steps in three-digit subtraction problems. The students especially love when he shows up sporting a Dr. Seuss hat or dressed as the Grinch in December.  On Fridays he visits Fair Oaks and Selby Lane Schools where he reads stories to preschool students. The teachers and students always look forward to his visits.

One kindergarten teacher described Mr. I’s impact on many parent volunteers. “The parents know that he has no children or grandchildren at Hoover, yet he is so generous in helping their own children. He breaks the ice for many new Kindergarten parents who at first may feel a little uncomfortable with their ability to help.  Each year he is recognized at our school volunteer tea and those parents who have come to know him over the year and in past years, and especially the new Kindergarten parent volunteers celebrate with applause and admiration at his many years of service.  Each year we have new parent volunteers to be thankful for, but some of the same familiar faces that return year after year, started in a classroom where perhaps they were even more inspired to volunteer because Mr. I was also there to help.”

Mr. I was born in Oakland and raised in San Francisco until his junior year in high school when his family moved to Redwood City.  He graduated from Sequoia High School.  He and his parents owned IMPERIALE Hardware in Woodside Plaza, and then he went on to work at United Airlines for almost thirty years as a computer operations manager.  He has been married to his wife Judy for fifty years, and has three children, Jill Imperiale, Richard Imperial Jr., and Salad Imperiale.

Mr. I is an inspiration to us all, showing us daily how one individual can make a real difference in our community.