History of Assistance League of the Bay Area
The idea of a national service organization in the Bay Area first surfaced in 1988. Assistance League of Houston conducted research to determine if our area could and would support the philanthropic programs and fundraising activities of such an organization. The Houston chapter asked Bay Area volunteer leaders to form a steering committee to help them organize an auxiliary for our community.
On October 5, 1988, Assistance League of Houston and the steering committee held and invitational meeting at the Houston Yacht Club, and on November 15, 1988, eighty-five charter members formed the Bay Area Auxiliary of Assistance League of Houston. By January, enthusiastic members organized Operation School Bell®. Programs at Armand Bayou Nature Center and the University of Houston-Clear Lake followed.
In 1992, after much research and deliberation, our auxiliary took the necessary steps to become a chapter of the National Assistance League. With the approval of our founding chapter, and ultimately the National Assistance League Board, Assistance League of the Bay area was chartered as a guild in January 1993. Assistance League of the Bay area was chartered in May 1994.
Today we have approximately 200 members who volunteer in the Bay Area approximately 32,000 hours each year for our philanthropic programs. In addition, we have a very active Assisteens® auxiliary composed of approximately 180 male and female high school students. These students work on their own philanthropic programs and provide assistance to Assistance League with various programs.
Assistance League of the Bay Area provides services for our community through philanthropic programs:
Operation School Bell provides new clothing and hygiene kits for elementary, intermediate and high school students from the local area schools.
Assistance League Partnership with Communities In Schools Bay Area Inc. provides nutritional support, tutoring services, vision referrals, eyeglasses, and donated dental care to identified students of the in-school dropout prevention program.
Operation Cinderella provides economically disadvantaged high school senior girls and boys with everything necessary to have a positive prom experience.
The Community Outreach Program, a flexible program that provides goods or services to recipients on a limited basis, allows the chapter to meet a range of community needs on a one-time or short-term basis.
The Ready for Work Program provides interview-appropriate clothing for individuals referred by United Way of Greater Houston THRIVE Center at Bay Area and The Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
Assistance League funds these programs through various fundraising activities. Assistance League has an annual fundraising event. In 1996, a decision was made by the membership to produce a cookbook. Settings on the Dock of the Bay was available for sale in October 1999. A second cookbook, Settings Sunrise to Sunset, was published in April 2007. The chapter’s resale shop is a major source of funds the philanthropic programs. Grants received from foundations, businesses, and individuals contribute as well.
The philanthropic programs are continually evaluated and retired or expanded as new demands and needs arise. In 2015, the name of Communities In Schools philanthropy was changed to Operation Support Our Schools. In 2015, the chapter also added Assault Survivor Kits® as a philanthropic program.
Two programs were retired on May 31, 2017 – Hands from the Heart and the Kids’ U Discovery Through Play in partnership with University of Houston-Clear Lake.