Kids In Need — School Uniforms

Assistance League of the Chesapeake Kids In Need Uniform sorting

Welcome to our blog! We will update this blog at least monthly, letting you know about our programs, activities and fundraisers. Check us out regularly to keep up-to-date on what our chapter is doing. Assistance League of the Chesapeake has a wonderful group of members who are really dedicated to their work transforming lives and strengthening community in Anne Arundel County.

“This is something new, just for me and nobody has ever worn this before,” exclaimed a student last year upon receiving a uniform package from one of our members.

Operation School Bell, Kids In Need Uniform Sorting

It’s back-to-school time in Anne Arundel County, and the Assistance League of the Chesapeake is hard at work in our Operation School Bell® program. One of the Operation School Bell programs is Kids in Need (KIN), under which we provide uniforms to students at five Title I elementary schools in Anne Arundel County. Last year we provided 2,296 uniforms to 1,780 in-need students! We’ve provided almost 8,000 uniforms since 2012.

Members shown sorting uniforms in the photo above are Chris Kennison, Ann Behrens, Marie Bossie, Marty Sippel, Vicki Koshtinant, Pam Meehan and Debbie Vickerman. Kim Hudyma took the photo.

Why do the students wear uniforms? In 2005, Anne Arundel County’s school board adopted a policy that allows schools to require students to wear uniforms. The rationale for the policy is that having students dress uniformly takes away social pressures and provides an environment that is most conducive to learning. Parents and teachers have found this to be true.

“We receive many thanks from the counselors and principals at the schools we serve. They observe positive changes in students in classroom behavior and student confidence. The students’ level of engagement with peers and school activities after they receive their uniforms also increases,” said Marie Bossie, KIN chair.

Our members have been busy this month taking an inventory and organizing our supply of uniforms. We are also restocking emergency closets at our five schools. The uniform package consists of a navy blue shirt, khaki pants, navy blue crew neck sweatshirt, socks and underwear. Each student also receives a bag of toiletries, which have been collected all year at our chapter meetings. Members and members’ dentists donate these items to Assistance League.

“I was working with one little boy who tightly wrapped his tiny arms around his shirt that was still in the plastic bag and kept saying ‘I can’t open this now, I have to show my mom this! I have to show my Mom this. This is something new, just for me and nobody has ever worn this before.’ I suddenly realized that he had never had new clothing before. I turned to our chapter president and whispered, ‘We are putting this unopened shirt in his book bag. He can wear a second one home,’ ” relayed Michelle Kelly, Assistance League member about her experience helping with uniform distribution.

The program will get off to a giant start when we distribute 1,500 uniforms in September!

Assistance League of the Chesapeake is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults through community-based philanthropic programs.