We are 26,000 members in 120 chapters nationwide focused on making our communities a better place to live.
Assistance League in the Community
More than Just Clothes
Assistance League cares about kids—we clothe them, feed them, provide comfort in difficult circumstances, and we educate them on staying safe. Chapters across the United States provide programs that convey to the children the message that they have the right to say “no” to strangers and to bullies, as well as providing other information about their personal rights and choices.
In San Antonio, the award-winning I’m In Charge program is designed to teach and empower children to plan for personal safety. At the request of school counselors in ten San Antonio school districts, Assistance League volunteers present this 45-minute program to students in kindergarten through 5th grade at no charge. The presentation includes a DVD, colorful presentation cards and role-playing to make this an easy-to-relate-to program. The “I’m In Charge” booklet is sent home with each child to share with his/her family and to encourage further communication between parents and their children. A Spanish text is also provided.
Topics covered include: what to do when home alone; being approached by a stranger; recognizing unsafe situations in malls, movie theaters, and parks; protecting themselves on the internet; gun safety; and bullying and cyber-bullying.
Many chapters use puppet shows to deal with social issues children face every day. In Stockton for example, the subjects covered are: divorce and separation, bullies, physical abuse and Cerebral Palsy. The shows are performed for Stockton’s public elementary schools. Over 2,500 third graders enjoy these shows each year. At the end of each show, the children ask the puppet character questions and make comments. One youngster told Mark, the Cerebral Palsy puppet, “I have C.P. too, and someday I’ll be in a wheelchair.” The child met with Puppet Mark after the skit and they talked for a few minutes about all the things the child could still do in a wheelchair. Often the children’s questions can reveal some real concerns, which the teachers pursue later, such as the young boy who asked, “You mean it’s not right for my brother to shove my head down the toilet?” Last year the Stockton chapter began working with the Child Abuse Prevention Council during the month of April, touring schools with their “Pinwheels for Prevention” program, and the chapter’s puppets went with them to perform Physical Abuse for over 12,000 children.
For a complete list of chapters, which present these and other related programs, click here.
Assistance League in the Community
Operation School Bell®
Can you imagine never having a new pair of shoes, only attending school half of the time as you must share your clothes with a sibling or an entire family sharing one toothbrush? This is happening to 50% of the children in our country. Operation School Bell, the national program of Assistance League, strives to meet the needs of children across our country. During the past year, over 331,000 children were reached by the 120 chapters. Since the program was started in 1958, over 4.3 million school-age children have been served.
Many chapters provide new school clothing, shoes and coats along with other items, including backpacks, books, school supplies and food for the weekend, in their programs. Another aspect of this program is to provide dental or vision care and personal care kits. The goals of providing children with these items are raising self-esteem, building confidence in the students and make a tremendous impact in their education. This program also reduces the teasing and bullying of these students.
Watching the children as they are given new shoes, shop for clothing for the first time or receiving a new backpack is as rewarding to the member as it is for the children. Whether the chapter provides vouchers, shops with the students in a local store or clothes them in their own facility, the members feel such a bonding with these students. Operation School Bell takes a huge amount of effort, dedication, funding and manpower, which is willingly given by the members.
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million dollars returned to local communities
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Community Volunteer Spotlight
Meet Kathy Baskerville
Volunteer from Assistance League of Salem-Keizer
How does a career as a crime scene cleaner, a bachelors degree in psychology, and experience working on a crisis hotline all combine to make the perfect community volunteer at a furniture store? Just ask Kathy Baskerville, who volunteers 12 hours per month at Assistance League of Salem-Keizer’s Encore Furniture Store. When Kathy came in to shop for furnishings a few years ago and learned that one of the chapter’s programs helps young adult foster children set up their first household, she immediately wanted to help- and knew she could. Her skills all came together to give her the volunteer job she loves- working with furniture and décor, keeping things very clean and knowing how to listen to customers.
Kathy feels that her contribution helps provide the kind of helping hand she wishes she had received when she was a foster child in Portland during her youth. Sometimes everything comes together for just the right reasons!
We Need Your Help
Join us! Become a part of an incredible group of volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in your community. Assistance League offers unique volunteer opportunities that fit your interest and time.