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Transforming Lives • Strengthening Community

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Assistance League in the Community

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Summertime and the living is easy, or so goes the Gershwin song. Although the kids are out of school and families are planning vacations, Assistance League member volunteers are just gearing up for a new year of service.

Works of philanthropy have always been important throughout the history of our country and the philanthropic programs of Assistance League carry on that strong tradition of service to others. With 120 (soon to be 121) chapters across the nation, you might think each is a carbon copy of the other, but you would be mistaken. Those 120 chapters are a unique group of member volunteers coming together to help fulfill unmet needs and make their local communities stronger.

Whether it be through the trademark programs Operation School Bell® and Assault Survivor Kits®; or through individual chapter programs such as Kansas City’s I’m in Charge program or Flintridge’s Instrumental Music program; to food pantries, health and dental programs, books, school supplies and scholarships; chapters tailor their programs to assist their individual communities in whatever way is needed. By providing clothing and backpacks, shoes and shampoo, teddy bears for comfort or greeting cards for senior citizens, every effort is made to reach out to those less fortunate.

Funding for these programs is as varied as the programs themselves. Whether through grants from local and regional foundations, or funds raised by managing thrift stores or hosting grand gala events, each dollar raised stays in the local community. The key to the success of these programs lies in the heart of each volunteer who gives so freely of their time and talent.

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1.5

million people served

$38.8

million dollars returned to local communities

3.2

million hours of volunteer service

News from our Chapters

Assisteens® Spotlight

HISTORY OF ASSISTEENS®

Assisteens is the youth auxiliary of Assistance League chapters.  Assisteens provides volunteer opportunities for young people in grades 7 through 12.  The goals are to develop a sense of community responsibility, self-reliance, personal responsibility, poise, public speaking, leadership skills and to support the chapter.  Assisteens raise money in a variety of ways to fund ongoing Assistance League and Assisteens philanthropic programs that benefit their community.

Assistance League was founded in 1919 by Anne (Mrs. Hancock) Banning and her friends, based on an informal charity in Los Angeles started in about 1894.  In the 1890s, social events raised money for local charitable giving. Assistance League, with Anne Banning and Ada Edwards (Mrs. Homer II) Laughlin and friends, provided money and clothing for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire victims.  When the war started in Europe in 1914, Anne and her friends worked for the Red Cross and, in 1917, set up the Red Cross Shop that raised $150,000 in one year.  After the war ended in 1918, the ladies wanted to continue working together, helping people in need.

In 1919, Assistance League was formally organized, with Good Samaritan providing aid to returning veterans and their families and the Film Location Bureau raising the needed funds by renting private properties to movie companies.  Founding members were prominent women of Los Angeles of all faiths and political views.  In 1923, Assistance League moved to DeLongpre Avenue in Hollywood where the campus of Founder Chapter (Assistance League of Southern California) remains today. The motto was “All For Service and Service For All.”  Anne Banning felt that women worked best in like-minded groups, so auxiliaries were formed.  Day Nursery was added in 1924, followed by Girls’ Club, Theatre for Children, Toy Loan and Boys’ Club. Junior Auxiliary was formed in 1929 for post-college-aged young women.

Read the full history of Assisteens.

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.