Salute to Karla Romberg

Un­sung Hero hon­ored for 20 years of com­mu­nity ser­vice to Pottstown

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Mer­rill We­ber Dig­i­tal First Media

Karla Romberg has em­braced the Pottstown com­mu­nity for 20 years. Soon she will be leav­ing to live in Switzer­land. But first, we salute this Un­sung Hero.

Work­ing with its founder, Joanne Class, Karla Romberg served as co-chair of the Com­mit­tee for the Name­less. The group co­or­di­nates ser­vices and ef­forts across dif­fer­ent agen­cies and churches to help folks strug­gling with low in­comes and hous­ing in­sta­bil­ity. “I love pulling ideas and peo­ple to­gether to en­sure that change con­tin­ues to hap­pen,” said Karla. “We col­lab­o­rate and share re­sources and in­for­ma­tion. We make pro­grams and things hap­pen.”

“Karla builds pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships with com­mu­nity lead­ers and en­lists their co­op­er­a­tion in find­ing so­lu­tions,” said Com­mit­tee for the Name­less co-chair, Dea­con Robin Robb. At the same

time, she builds con­nec­tions with the dis­en­fran­chised and their ad­vo­cates.”

Karla is also proud of her work with Fel­low­ship Farm, where in­di­vid­u­als of dif­fer­ent col­ors and back­grounds are brought to­gether to so­cial­ize and get to know each other. “Typ­i­cally, peo­ple gather to­gether in their own churches or in their own lit­tle neigh­bor­hoods. They don’t have that op­por­tu­nity to learn about oth­ers, to mix,” Karla ex­plained.

Fel­low­ship Farm of­fers many pro­grams for stu­dent and adult groups, all fol­low­ing the Gandhi Prin­ci­pal of non­vi­o­lent protest and chang­ing the world peace­fully. There are ropes cour­ses and team build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Karla was trained in both. “Fall­ing in some­one’s arms and try­ing to get the en­tire group up and over the wall is a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said. She has helped with Fel­low­ship Farm’s or­ganic gar­den­ing event each April, and with their Autism Fam­ily Fest which is sched­uled this year for Oct. 3.

In 1995, Karla got her start as di­rec­tor of the YWCA Tri-County Area, where she ran the Young Women Em­ploy­ment Group.

She vol­un­teers at many lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, and serves as a board mem­ber at the Child Guid­ance Re­source Cen­ter, the agency that runs Fel­low­ship Farm. Ad­di­tion­ally, she helps with The Min­istries at Main Street where overnight-shel­ter, break­fasts and din­ners are of­fered to the home­less dur­ing the cold­est months of year. In the sum­mer, they pro­vide an out­door com­mu­nity meal ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 7 p.m., at Washington and Ch­est­nut streets. She also vol­un­teers at In Ian’s Boots, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that col­lects and dis­trib­utes shoes to the un­der­served.

She is a re­source for the Pottstown Clus­ter Out­reach, Your Way Home, Pottstown Re­cov­ery and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter, Mo­saic Gar­den and the Pottstown Sal­va­tion Army.

Karla was born in New­town Square where she lived with her par­ents and two sis­ters un­til she was five, when her fam­ily re­lo­cated to Spring City.

“My par­ents were great role mod­els. My mom, an RN, BSN, taught me that life was about car­ing and giv­ing to oth­ers. She worked to im­prove peo­ple’s lives. Af­ter Pennhurst closed, she helped folks tran­si­tion to life out­side an in­sti­tu­tion. She drew pic­tures of clocks to teach them how to tell time. My fa­ther is a sec­ond ca­reer United Methodist pas­tor.”

She and her hus­band, Val, have six chil­dren be­tween them, all ed­u­cated in the Owen J. Roberts School Dis­trict where she is a vol­un­teer.

In Au­gust, this pub­lic­minded dy­namo will re­lo­cate to Switzer­land for three years, fol­low­ing her hus­band’s job. He is a chemist for a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany, con­cen­trat­ing on ill­nesses such as he­mophilia. They met at Bethel United Methodist Church in Spring City and will be cel­e­brat­ing their 25th wed­ding an­niver­sary on July 1. Of course she hopes to vol­un­teer while in Switzer­land. Although she plans to re­turn for hol­i­days, she’ll most miss her older kids and grand­kids.

Karla is com­mit­ted to build­ing a pos­i­tive im­age and vi­sion for Pottstown. “Progress will al­ways hap­pen in Pottstown be­cause we have a com­mu­nity of folks who want to help and reach out,” she said with pride.

For 20 years of ded­i­cated ser­vice, help­ing the Pottstown area’s dis­en­fran­chised, we salute Un­sung Hero, Karla Romberg. Bon voy­age!

Here are op­por­tu­ni­ties for you to vol­un­teer:

1. Com­mit­tee for the Name­less meets the sec­ond Thurs­day of each month, from 9 a.m. un­til 11 a.m., at Vic­tory Chris­tian Life Cen­ter, 28-30 N. Washington St., Pottstown. The public is welcome and en­cour­aged to at­tend. For more in­for­ma­tion as to how to get in­volved, con­tact CoChair Wendy Gaynor at wgaynor@pottstown­clus­ter.org or 610-970-5995.

2. Help Beau­tify Me­mo­rial Park, or­ga­nized by the Com­mit­tee for the Name­less. Vol­un­teers are needed from 10 a.m. un­til noon on June 18, July 23 and Aug. 27. Adults are welcome, as well as chil­dren with su­per­vi­sion. Lunch will be pro­vided. Please con­tact Wendy Gaynor if you plan to at­tend: wgaynor@pottstown­clus­ter.org.

3. Fel­low­ship Farm, www.fel­low­ship-farm.org, 2488 Sanatoga Road, Pottstown. Year round vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties for kids, fam­i­lies and adults in­clude: sec­re­tar­ial sup­port, so­cial media as­sis­tance, care and feed­ing of barn­yard an­i­mals, or­ganic gar­den main­te­nance, help with land­scap­ing, serv­ing meals, ba­sic clean­ing and help with car­pen­try and plumb­ing. To vol­un­teer, con­tact Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor David Tulin at 610-326-3008.

SAVE THE DATE! Fel­low­ship Farm’s Autism Fam­ily Fest, Satur­day, Oct. 3. A fun-filled day for those with autism of all ages, their par­ents, sib­lings, friends and care providers. Ac­tiv­i­ties will in­clude groom­ing horses, horse­back rid­ing and face paint­ing. There will be mu­sic and lots of food.

PHOTO BY MER­RILL WE­BER

Karla Romberg with Fel­low­ship Farm ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, David Tulin.

MER­RILL WE­BER — DIG­I­TAL FIRST MEDIA

Karla Romberg, sec­ond from right, meets with new co-chairs of the Com­mit­tee for the Name­less, Amy Ross­man, Wendy Gaynor, Dea­con Robin Robb and Dave Dou­glas.

Karla Romberg, right, and Dea­con Robin Robb dur­ing a plan­ning meet­ing of the Com­mit­tee for the Name­less, dis­cussing park clean up pro­ject.

Karla Romberg, cen­ter, with Dea­con Robin Robb and Pas­tor Reg­gie Brooks, fol­low­ing a Prayers for Peace gath­er­ing at Vic­tory Chris­tian Life Cen­ter in Pottstown.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion is key for Com­mit­tee for the Name­less mem­bers Wendy Egolf of the Sal­va­tion Army, com­mit­tee founder Joanne Class, Un­sung Hero Karla Romberg and Pas­tor Kork Moyer of The Min­istries at Main Street.

There are many vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties at Fel­low­ship Farm, in­clud­ing car­ing for lla­mas and other an­i­mals.

Karla Romberg

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