Operation School Bell®

Since 1979, the core philanthropic effort of Assistance League of Greater San Diego has been Operation School Bell, a national effort to provide clothing and support to children in grades kindergarten through grade six.   Children in need are referred by school personnel based on eligibility for free/reduced-price school lunches and whose need for appropriate shoes and clothing interferes with their success in school.

Children who need school uniforms travel with their parents or school staff to our Assistance League facility where they are greeted by member volunteers who outfit each one with two full uniforms including navy blue pants, shorts, skorts, or jumpers; white or light blue polo shirts; a hooded jacket; and underwear and socks in addition to a hygiene kit, a packet of school supplies, and a new book.

Operation School Bell funds can also be used to supply regular school clothes and needed shoes at neighborhood Target and Payless Shoe Stores.  Our volunteers assist in the stores while families pick out clothing for their child.  The cost to fully outfit one child is $100.00.

Resources needed to fund Operation School Bell at its current level come primarily from the proceeds of the Assistance League Thrift Shop, supportive community partners including Price Family Charitable Fund, Mission Bay Women’s Club, BookStar in Point Loma, and our auxiliary, Women In Business Assisting the Community (WIBAC).

Book Buddies

Volunteers promote literacy at Florence Elementary School in Hillcrest and Johnson Elementary and Magnolia Elementary schools in El Cajon, through classroom tutoring and reading incentives.  Volunteers partner with classroom teachers to assist individuals and groups of students to improve reading proficiency in comprehension and word recognition.

Awards of magazine subscriptions and other incentives encourage student achievement.  Book Buddy partners also receive library books from our Assistance League through our business partnerships with Barnes and Noble and BookStar.


In collaboration with Florence Elementary School’s Prime Time After School Program and San Diego Ballet, our Assistance League provides standards-based, weekly dance classes for third and fourth graders.  Assistance League of Greater San Diego provides ballet clothing and shoes for each student, maintains liability insurance for program activities, and funds a ballet teacher from San Diego Ballet.  Our volunteers supervise and assist during the classes and bring freshly laundered leotards and tights to class each week.

The culminating activity of the school year is an Annual Spring Dance Recital attended by the parents and school staff, followed by pizza and desserts provided by Assistance League.  The children love dancing for an audience and are enamored by seeing a professional ballerina perform at their recital.  The Master of Ceremonies is San Diego Ballet Artistic Director, Javier Velasco.