Assistance League of


Celebrates 60 years

The Assistance League of Albuquerque is happy to celebrate 60 wonderful years of service to New Mexico with the announcement of our 60th Anniversary!

We’re honored to have been able to enrich our community all these years through our nine philanthropic programs. These programs have long been a staple of our organization and the community, and we could not fund them without the generous help of every single one of our amazing volunteer members, partners, and customers.

We are excited to celebrate everyone who has helped keep our programs active and relevant by hosting a series of events over the next 12 months.  Each month we will bring to light a philanthropic program and host a cooperative community activity, highlighting all the values the Assistance League of Albuquerque embraces.

We are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with New Mexico and look forward to sharing many more years of service and enrichment with our community!

Read about our 60th Invitational Celebration.

March Activities

March features Shoes for Kids

Hear from Sarah Ranjbaren, Assistant Principal at Puesta del Sol School in Rio Rancho and from the School Principal, Dana Petro. KQRE partners with ALA’s Operation School Bell to provide each child with a new pair of shoes.

Michelle Martinez is the Principal of New Futures School. Hear how delighted they were to receive not only vouchers for new shoes, but also new diaper bags full of essential care items for the babies of New Futures students.

February Activities

February is Sharing Partnerships month

Christianne Santisteven, who works with NM Solutions, talks about working in partnership with ALA Albuquerque. This organization offers person-centered behavioral health services in central New Mexico. ALA donates $40 Vouchers for their clients to use in our Thrift Shop.

March Activities

Ann Edenfield Sweet, the Executive Director/Founder of Wings for Life International talks about the work they do to transform lives by breaking the generational cycle of incarceration. ALA donates $40 Vouchers for their clients to use in our Thrift Shop.

January Activities

January is TLC month

ALA’s Tender Loving Care Program is Chaired by Pam Verstynen. She describes how many ALA member volunteers create new blankets and caps for newborns and adults in the hospital. Also highlighted is Barbara Temer, who is Director of Volunteer Services for UNM Hospital.

We also like to work with volunteers from the community who are not ALA members, but who would like to create blankets and caps for those who need them.

If you are interested, email Pam at There are guidelines given to us from UNM which Pam will share with you.

December Activities

December highlights both our partners in the Hungry and Homeless Program

Anita Cordova, Chief Advancement Officer with Albuquerque Heath Care for the Homeless and John Silver, Resource Center Coordinator detail the huge value of the partnership with the Assistance League for their clients.

John Patterson is the Director of Service, Delivery and Development for Silver Horizons. Silver Horizons offers food products to their customers in a unique way. They can come into the building and select the specific items they want to take home rather than being given a pre-packaged set of goods.

November Activities

November is for ASK/KAPS programs

 We’ll start by introducing our KAPS program which stands for Kids Are Pretty Special.

We partner with several non-profits to help children in crisis. One of them is CLN Kids which stands for Cuidando Los Ninos.

Watch Ashley Martinez explain our relationship and how it benefits the children. She’s the Development and Communications Director.

Leticia Salinas is with NM Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD). Watch her tell how beneficial their partnership is with ALA’s Kids Are Pretty Special (KAPS) program. ALA provides their foster kids with necessities like clothing, books, items of hygiene and more.

Tracy Weaver is Executive Director of Saranam, which works with families who are experiencing homelessness. ALA provides clothing for the kids that they serve . . . and much more.

October Activities

October is for Buddy Bears

Debbie Zamora tells how Buddy Bear Patrol began here in Albuquerque and how the bears turn “tears into smiles” for traumatized children.

Barbara McWilliams explains the Assistance League’s role in distributing Buddy Bears to first responders like the police and fire departments, UNMH Pediatrics and the Family Advocacy Center, among others.

Watch Barbara Temer talk about the comfort these bears give to
children in the hospital. Ms. Temer is Director of Volunteer Services

September Activities

September is about Scholarships

Meet one of our recipients – Esperanza Montoya. She is pursuing her Associate Degree for Welding at CNM.

This is Dan Mitchell who is pursuing an Electrical Degree in PLC, which stands for Programable Logic Control – a skill needed in controlling buildings and houses.

August Activities

August is about Operation School Bell

Hear comments from Heather Fritz, the Principal at Hawthorne Elementary School. She is excited about our new literacy initiative, where OSB purchases the books for the One Book, One School program. The entire school reads the same book and develops associated activities.  When the program is completed, the school holds a celebration in which ALA members participate.

Hear from Vanessa Anderson, who is the Outreach Coordinator for PB&J Family Services. In addition to ALA providing shoes for the children, Vanessa was delighted last Thanksgiving when ALA provided DINNER (except the turkey) for all the PB&J families.

July Activities

This month we are celebrating one of our philanthropic programs, the Blue Portal Gift Shop in Old Town (next to the Church Street Café). Our Blue Portal committee works directly with our senior New Mexico artists and crafters by pro­viding them with a perfect location to sell their creations to the public. The service is free to over 450 artists and crafters, who receive 100% of the asking price for each piece sold.

Our Assistance League volunteer member – Sally Ruscitti was the featured guest on the KRQE Morning Show this month. You can watch the 4 minute video HERE(There are a couple of real short ads first)

Check out the Blue Portal Facebook page at

See what two of our artists want you to know about this opportunity for them to sell the items they make.

David Merryman makes wind chimes and has been a contributing artist for 17 years

Priscilla Day is a watercolor and acrylic artist. She says “it’s easy for us to keep our creative process going if we are able to sell our artwork and reinvest that in our business.”

June Activities

June is Donor month.

Amy Tapia tells us about Sandia National Labs working with the Assistance League.

RJ Marcuse owns a number of antique shops and loves to work with the Assistance League’s Thrift shop. Find out why.

Find out how the Albuquerque Community Foundation has worked with the Assistance League to refurbish the Blue Portal and help fund Operation School Bell.

May Activities

Natalia is big fan of the Assistance League of Albuquerque.

Hear what she has to say . .

David’s hobby is Thrift shops and he appreciates the variety and quality of the items at the ALA Thrift Store finding it the “best Thrift Shop on the planet”.

Listen to why he thinks that.

Barbara appreciates the work that the Assistance League does for others, especially Operation School Bell which gets new shoes to children in our Title 1 schools.

Listen to her thoughts.

A long time customer, Linda has shopped at the Thrift Shop since she was a student and still shops there because of the great people, reliable quality of goods, and excellent prices! Even on furniture.

Here’s her story!

April Activities

April 5th – KRQE AM Morning Show

with Lynne Baehr and Judy Parker

Subject is History of ALA

Beginning April 26, watch for public service announcements for Assistance League ABQ

from our partner KQRE on KRQE News 13, MY 50 TV, CW New Mexico and Fox New Mexico.

60th Anniversary Celebration – Invitation Only
After Hours Celebration from 3 -5pm!

April 26th

We will be showcasing our nine philanthropic programs to our

donors, partners, and dignitaries.

Chapter History

Judy Parker, joined Al in 1975. She was President from 1981-1982.
She has held many positions in AL and has been on the National Board for several years.
Elizabeth Cohen, known as BJ, is 92 years old. She was a President from 1962-1963. BJ has many memories and has been sharing them with our Historian.
A shorter history of the Albuquerque chapter of the Assistance League