Meet Our Founder

Betty J. Mohlenbrock, M.Ed. is an educator, reading specialist, Founder and CEO (Retired) of United Through Reading, and Founder and President of Reading Legacies (her current endeavor).  

Betty has extensive experience in the areas of management, fundraising, and program strategies based on her experience with international programs as well as her integrity and wise stewardship of millions of dollars contributed by community members. 

Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialty in teaching Reading.  Both degrees are from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Throughout her 35 years as a nonprofit leader, she has designed many replicable programs including the current programs at Reading Legacies.

  1. Book Bridges
  2. First Teachers
  3. Storybook Inspirations
  4. Youth Readers

These four programs are for children and youth throughout San Diego County and beyond. 

Their mission is to facilitate supportive relationships for children through family and friends reading aloud with them. 


Betty’s awards include:

  • Congressional Medal of Honor Society Community Service Hero Award (for her leadership at United Through Reading) 
  • Peter Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation 
  • L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree 
  • LEAD San Diego Visionary Award 
  • University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award 
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor Award 
  • Traditional Home publication’s “The Classic Woman Award” 
  • San Diego Regional East County Chamber of Commerce 20th Annual Women in Leadership Award 
  • Rotary Club of Coronado Success Above Self Award  
  • San Diego Business Journal’s Business Women of the Year Finalist 
  • Coronado Soroptimist International Legend Award 
  • George Washington Honor Medal (from Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge) 

L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth 2018 Highlight: Betty Mohlenbrock

Julianne Moore Introducing Betty Mohlenbrock at 2018 Women of Worth Event

Nicole Vargas

My name is Nicole Vargas. I joined the Reading Legacies team in January 2023. I have a BA in Child Development from Point Loma Nazarene University and 6 years’ experience working with children from ages infancy to adolescence. My role as the Storybook Readers Program Manager is to oversee the programing and implementation of our Youth Readers and Storybook Inspirations programs. As a child development professional, I have firsthand experience seeing the immense impact that reading aloud to children has on their early literacy skills and relationship building within the family and community. One of my favorite children’s books is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff.