Summer Newsletter 2017
2017-2018 Board of Directors
Every year blends into another seamlessly as a new group of leaders steps up to take the helm in guiding Assistance League.  Everyone in our chapter plays an important part, but these individuals have agreed to give extra time, thought and dedication to ensure we continue to do good works, are financially feasible and responsible to each other and the community. Thank you to all the Officers listed below:


President – Kelly Fifield
President Elect – Lynn Pazder
VP Member and Volunteer Services – Cindy Gadd
VP Philanthropic Programs – Laura Gallagher
VP Marketing Communications – Ann Davis
VP Resource Development – Jean Midkiff
VP Strategic Planning – Grace Bednarcik
Secretary – Renee D’Amico
Treasurer – Mary Lou Grgurich
VP Education – Susan Roberts
Parliamentarian – Dolores Jones


Jeff Swartz Receives National
Operation School Bell® Award

The National Operation School Bell® Award was presented to Jeff Swartz at the Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Jeff is the Community Business Development Manager for the Morrison Place Barnes & Noble in Charlotte. He has been a supporter of Assistance League’s Operation School Bell Program for over 10 years.


For the past several years, the Morrison Place Barnes & Noble has held a book drive for Assistance League during the peak retail Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season, resulting in over a thousand new books being collected for our Operation School Bell Program. Barnes & Noble has also donated several hundred out-of-stock books on multiple occasions to Operation School Bell.
Literacy is an important component of Assistance League of Charlotte’s mission and commitment to improve the lives of children and youth in our community, Jeff Swartz and the Morrison Place Barnes & Noble, have greatly impacted our mission by assisting Assistance League in placing thousands of books into the hands of children in the Charlotte community.


Assistance League of Charlotte Awards
15 Scholarships in 2017

Maya Patel    Assistance League of Charlotte $10,000 recipient

Maya Patel was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Ardrey Kell High School and is a highly motivated student, athlete, leader, and community member.
At school, Maya ranks in the top 2% of her class of 640 students and was named a Junior Marshal. She is also an AP Scholar with Distinction. She is an ardent participant in National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, and Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society.
Maya is determined to make a difference in the world by serving her local community. She is the president of Girls Engineering Change at Ardrey Kell which encourages underrepresented females to pursue STEM careers. Additionally, Maya has volunteered at the Novant Matthews Medical Center for the past four years. She also volunteers with the CMS North Star Reading Program weekly. Last summer she was selected as a Bank of America Student Leader and participated in an eight-week internship with a local nonprofit, Freedom School Partners.
In the fall, Maya will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was accepted into the honors program. She is currently undecided on her major but she hopes to pursue a career in global public health and work with organizations such as the United Nations or UNICEF.
Assistance League of Charlotte Scholarships
  • $10,000                Maya Patel                               UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $  8000                Tanvee Wakankar                    UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $  6,000               Sara Hernandez                       UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $  2,500               April Bourommavong              UNC – Chapel Hill
Assistance League of Charlotte Previous Recipient Scholarship Awards
  • $2,500                   Melody Alexander – rising sophomore  UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $2,500                   Emma Caponigro – rising sophomore   UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $2,500                   Kelsey Gonzalez – rising junior              UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $2,000                   Sydney DiDonato – rising junior             UNC – Chapel Hill
  • $1,000                   Nicholas Perdomo – rising senior          NC State
  • $1,000                   Olivia Redd – rising sophomore             UNC-Greensboro
  • $1,000                   Solomon Amaning – rising sophmore   UNC-Greensboro
  Assistance League of Charlotte Scholarship in Honor of Gary and Margaret Lincoln
  • $3,500                   Fausto Espinoza                                CPCC
  • $3,000                   Miguel Ortega                                     CPCC
  • $2,500                   Kristal Arechiga                                 CPCC
  • $1,000                   Cameryn Reid                                    CPCC
Operation Check Hunger’s annual protein donation was made this week to Second Harvest Food Bank’s executive director Kay Carter. Second Harvest was able to purchase more than  3,500 pounds of ground beef with the $5,500 donation from Assistance League Charlotte.
Pictured (l to r) Sandy Holloway, Kay Carter, Laura Gallagher


Presidents Message – Grace Bednarcik
It has been said life is like a circle as some things end and others begin. Just as the school year has ended and summer has begun, Assistance League of Charlotte has just finished one year and has begun a new one.   A new group of leaders have taken over the reins of what Creative Loafing named the Best Charity in Charlotte for 2016, as well as the Best Place to Volunteer!
But this organization works as the best not because of who sits on the Board of Directors – it works because of all those who stand at the donation door and take in what we sell in the Thrift Shop. It works because of the people who sort, mend, wash, repair, steam, tag, display and prepare for sale all the donations that come in our doors.
It works because of the folks who order, assemble and distribute thousands of articles of clothing, hygiene kits and school supplies to the thousands of children in our community who need them. Some students come by school bus to our Operation School Bell® store, to shop with a personal shopper member volunteer for themselves, but many receive what they need via requests from their CMS school counselors.
Those same members helped to distribute food to 1300 families through our 9 Mobil School Pantry Nights this year. They worked at Second Harvest to assemble 14,670 backpacks of food which were passed out at the end of the school day every Friday to help hungry children get through the weekend.
Members were able to touch the lives of over 400 teens who participated in Assistance League of Charlotte Mecklenburg County Teen Court. These young adults were taught the valuable lesson of restorative justice, whether they were volunteer teens or defendants in the court process. Many were mentored and counseled during those court hours. And you will also read in this newsletter about the students who were awarded Assistance League of Charlotte scholarships which will help these young people achieve their dreams.
Everything also works because of you! You come to our Thrift Shop, like what you see and buy what we have. You also make donations when we collect extra change or make special requests at the registers. It has been my pleasure and honor to be a member of this organization for the past 15 years and I hope to continue to be able to be a part of what makes Assistance League of Charlotte work. Join us, become a member, you will never be rewarded more or have as much fun while you too work!
Grace Bednarcik, President 2016 – 2017


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