This initiative is part of the Center’s prenatal health-initiatives program for under-served women. At right, Assistance League members and Stork’s Nest representatives at last year’s baby shower.
This signature program of all Assistance League chapters aims to provide appropriate assistance to enhance self-esteem, promote learning and encourage regular school attendance. In 2021-2022, our chapter served more than 8,500 students through two Operation School Bell programs:
Kids In Need (KIN)
Did You Know? Your donation of $50 will purchase a uniform for one child.
In 2021-22 Assistance League of the Chesapeake provided 3,100 new school uniforms to students in six Title I elementary schools and one middle school in Anne Arundel County. We are on target to provide to exceed that number in 2022-23. Since 2009, we have provided over 23,000 uniforms to in-need students in our county.
The uniform package consists of a navy blue shirt, khaki pants, navy blue crew neck sweatshirt, socks and underwear. In addition, each student receives a bag of toiletries which includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner. The toiletries are collected all year at our chapter meetings and are donated by members and members’ dentists. Most students receive one uniform set and some receive two, depending on their need.
Our volunteers staff a monthly Guest Reader program, tutor children, work in classrooms, sponsor literacy-based enrichment programs, donate books to students, and organize several enrichment activities that promote positive behaviors for an effective learning environment.
In 2021-2022, the program reached more than 7,500 students.
Assistance League makes sure every child in the schools we serve receives a book of their own to take home and share with their families.
Did You Know? Your donation of $80 can provide books for an entire classroom.
During “Make A Difference Day,” Assistance League collects books to distribute to numerous Title I schools in the county.
“When we first started participating in Kids in Need, we would hand the children each packaged item and tell them to open it up and get dressed after the school nurses had helped each child with the toiletries we also donated. This one little guy I was working with tightly wrapped his tiny arms in an “X” formation 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, with misty eyes, 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.’ ”
— M. Kelly, AL Chesapeake member since 2005
An Educational Puppet Troupe
Our volunteers and their life-size puppets visit elementary school classrooms throughout the county to talk with students about cultural differences, bullying, and learning differences. The targeted scripts help children accept individual differences and learn valuable social skills. This year, we will be distributing a video of the KOTB performance so that even more students can be reached.
Meet our puppets: Eddie is being bullied by a nasty boy in school, but learns to deal with the boy in a positive way, thanks to his friend Claire. Claire is smart, kind, and wise beyond her years. She counsels Eddie to do positive things when being bullied: tell a teacher, stand by a friend who is being bullied, and work together to raise awareness of the problem. Jennifer is a rough and ready little girl with a learning difference. She can sing, dance, and play soccer. She gets straight A’s in math, but has an issue with reading and writing. Brenda is a little overweight but very sensitive to being bullied about how she looks. Jennifer helps her learn to ignore the bad remarks and like how she is. Melody is a smart and sassy girl who does well in school and offers to help Jennifer with her school work.
Kids On The Block puppets teach children:
- What constitutes bullying
- Problem-solving techniques
- How to get help from adults
- How to accept differences and similarities among their peers
- How to reject unacceptable bullying behavior
The children in the audience come to identify with the puppets and open up to them as if they were trusted friends. Students are encouraged to accept physical, social, medical, and cultural differences, and are empowered to tell an adult about any perceived bullying.
Thank you for the puppet show. It made me feel that being different is good. Now I am so so grateful by how I look. And what my language is.” — Student at Piney Orchard
An interactive Sing-Along program allows senior citizens in assisted living and nursing residences to enjoy the songs they remember from their youth. Assistance League members provide the music, song sheets, encouragement, and companionship.
We also provide hundreds of greeting cards at major holidays to residents at local assisted living and nursing home residences. These cards reach seniors who don’t often get visitors or mail.