National Organization Issues Call to Action

In the fall of 2018, Assistance League issued a call to action to all 120 chapters and chapters-in-formation to participate in a nationwide effort to raise awareness of the importance of promoting childhood literacy and putting books in the hands of children who might not have access to them.

Coinciding with founder Anne Banning’s birthday on February 25, Assistance League Action! Week is officially celebrated February 25 – March 3, 2019.

Why is this initiative so important?

Consider the following facts:
In low income communities, books and educational resources are scarce. Kids start school behind their more affluent peers and never catch up.
A record number of kids are growing up in need.
•More than half of U.S. public school students live in low income households.
Public education and programs are deeply underfunded.
•23 states are spending less on education than before the 2008 recession.
Without adequate resources, children cannot learn.
•79% of fourth graders from low income households do not read proficiently.
The impact of this cycle is staggering.
•Poor educational outcomes are tied to future poverty, unemployment, illness, and crime.

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Annie E. Casey Kids Count, World Literacy Foundation

Assistance League® of the Bay Area wholeheartedly answered this call to action.

We invite you to learn about our participation and how community partnerships were key to our success.

“As President-Elect of the chapter, I was honored to spearhead Assistance League Action! Week.  We are so fortunate to have solid relationships with Barnes & Noble in Webster as well as the Albemarle Foundation.  Those two companies made it possible for us to provide over 1150 books to students ranging in age from 4 to 18.  In addition, those students who have sustained injuries, some requiring months of convalescence at the Shriners Galveston Hospital Burn Unit, can now have the ability to be transported, if for only a minute or several hours, to a different place because of the magic of books.”

Lisa Holbrook President-Elect Assistance League of the Bay Area

Pictured are Mark Girouard, Store Manager, and Sharon Siman, Community Partner Development Manager, Barnes & Noble Webster.

Barnes & Noble Webster Ships Over 1100 Donated Books to Bay Area Chapter

Assistance League of the Bay Area continues their partnership with Barnes & Noble in Webster.

Just prior to Thanksgiving and through the Christmas holiday season, Barnes & Noble Webster invited shoppers to purchase an additional book and donate it to our organization, in order to allow us to reach as many students as possible. The response was staggering, as over 1150 books were bought and sent to us for all levels of readers.

These books were distributed at our monthly Operation School Bell® dressing days at area Kohl’s Department Stores and Target on Galveston Island in the months of December, January, and February.

Without Barnes & Noble Webster, Assistance League of the Bay Area would have been unable to champion literacy in such an impactful way.

“It was a huge undertaking but well worth the effort to partner with Assistance League of the Bay Area to bring books into the lives of these students.”

Sharon Siman Community Partner Development Manager Barnes & Noble Webster

Assisteens begin the process of labeling over 1150 books for Assistance League Action! Week.

Assisteens® of the Bay Area Label Purchased Books

Over 1150 books were labeled by Assisteens of the Bay Area at the December monthly meeting.

Sorted by location, groups worked to ensure the inside of the books reflected the chapter’s role in this initiative.

Once completed, volunteers for each of the locations picked up the boxes of books to arrange for selection by participating students.

“The chapter appreciates and is well aware they are dependent on our Assisteens in a variety of areas.  We love to help!”

Carole Perry Assisteens Coordinator Assistance League of the Bay Area

Albemarle Foundation Gifts Assistance League of the Bay Area with Unexpected End of Year Donation

The Albemarle Foundation, located in Bayport, Texas, has been a significant financial contributor to Assistance League of the Bay Area through an annual gift of $15,000 per year for the past three years.  This donation is specifically for the chapter’s largest philanthropic program, Operation School Bell.

During December 2018, the Albemarle Foundation awarded the organization an additional sum of money to be used at the discretion of the chapter.  A portion of those funds, voted on overwhelmingly by the membership, were allocated towards the purchase of Spanish audio books for the patients, who are simultaneously students, at the Galveston Shriners Hospital in their Burn Unit.

This unexpected holiday gift allowed the chapter to expand their Assistance League Action! Week plans to reach students who may not have ever seen a book in their entire life.

Albemarle Foundation and their continued generosity, inspires our chapter!

“Providing funding is only one component to the foundation’s purpose. Our goal is to generously and enthusiastically make a positive, sustainable difference in the communities in which we live and operate.”

Brian Robb Albemarle Foundation Board Member

Sisters look over the books they selected during Operation School Bell Dressing Days at Kohl's.

Students Select Books During Operation School Bell Dressing Days at Kohl’s and Target

Beginning in December and continuing through February, students who were referred to three area Kohl’s locations at Baybrook in Friendswood, League City, and Fairmont Parkway in Pasadena, as well as the Target on Galveston Island, were given the opportunity to select two books when shopping for school apparel.

One thousand books were placed in the hands of these students in six school districts.  Each and every one of these students expressed appreciation and excitement about whatever plot line awaited them.

“Through Assistance League Action! Week, nationwide, chapters join together to support and encourage a love of books and reading.  Many of the children and teens at the Shriners Children’s Hospital Burn Unit, Galveston, have never attended school, never learned to read and do not know that reading opens the world to them. Our donation of Spanish audio books will hopefully help these students escape the traumas facing them and they will develop a desire to continue reading and learning.”

Sarah Foulds President Assistance League of the Bay Area

Pictured left to right: Veronica Villareal, Classroom Teaching Assistant, Sharon Siman, Barnes & Noble Webster Community Outreach Coordinator, Myra Sanders, Classroom Teacher, Angela Bernard, Donor Development Assistant, Sarah Foulds, chapter President, and Lisa Holbrook, chapter President-Elect.

Galveston Shriners Hospital Burn Unit for Children Receives Spanish Audio and English Print Books

Over 150 books in print as well as Spanish audio books were donated to the Galveston Shriners Hospital’s Burn Unit for Children on Thursday, February 28, coinciding with the designated time frames for Assistance League Action! Week.

Students from all over the world, but in particular Mexico, Central and South America, are brought to this location to recover from their injuries.  Many of these students have never been exposed to any type of formal classroom experience.  Some can not read or write.

With Myra Sanders, classroom teacher, and Veronica Villareal, teacher assistant and translator, they are given the opportunity to learn.

Of particular importance are the audio books as often patients spend their initial time in intensive care.  These books can provide entertainment and perhaps a few moments of pain relief.

Assistance League of the Bay Area is proud to contribute in a small way to their recovery.

“As our patients recover here in the hospital, it is very important that they feel a strong connection to their education. Books and Audio books, give them that special tool to enjoy a time of happiness and connection. This wonderful donation of books in English, Spanish, and audio versions will provide many hours of happiness now and in the future. Thank you for your generosity and compassion for our special children at Shriners.”

Myra Sanders Teacher in The Schoolroom at Shriners Hospital for Children