Operation School Bell is a philanthropic program of Assistance League of Long Beach, dedicated to the vision that no child should fail to attend or perform in school for lack of adequate clothing. Operation School Bell Corporate Partners share this vision for the children and schools of Long Beach and assist in underwriting the purchase costs of school uniforms for the students most in need.
Operation School Bell has been clothing children in Long Beach schools since 1974. With the introduction of mandatory school uniforms in 1994, the program has taken on new significance and new urgency. It has been demonstrated that:
- School uniforms improve the learning environment and reduce distractions in the classroom.
- Schools that mandate uniforms have fewer absences, fewer suspensions, and better test scores.
- School uniforms improve discipline and reduce gang influences on campuses.
But the families of many Long Beach students cannot afford uniforms.
As many as fifty percent of the nearly 80,000 students in the Long Beach Unified School District live in households with incomes at or below the poverty level. Nearly seventy percent of the district’s students qualify for subsidized school lunches.
Operation School Bell exists to serve these students. As the number of students in need increases, the services must expand to keep pace. In partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District, Operation School Bell is making plans to nearly triple the number of children clothed each school year, to provide complete uniforms to 10,000 students annually.
Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent, Chris Steinhauser states,
We attribute much of our nationally recognized success regarding school uniforms to the Assistance League, which has clothed thousands of school children whose families cannot afford to buy uniforms. We need and deeply appreciate the Assistance League’s continued and expanded support.
There is nothing like seeing the pride and joy on children’s faces when they receive and wear new uniforms. The boost to students’ self-confidence is vital to their success in the classroom. Teachers, parents and school administrators report that uniforms help to reduce peer pressure, prevent gang violence, reduce disciplinary issues and enhance the image of our schools.
For more than 40 years, Assistance League of Long Beach has supported Operation School Bell through the volunteer action and fundraising of its members. Our first auxiliary, Rick Rackers, started this program. For many years, Rick Rackers provided new school clothes to elementary children who were the most in need. Since the 1970s, Rick Rackers and chapter members have clothed thousands of children from grades K-12 in the Long Beach Unified School District.
To meet the schools’ challenging new goals, Assistance League invites the business community to join as Operation School Bell Corporate Partners, assisting in underwriting the purchase costs of school uniforms for the students most in need in the Long Beach Unified School District.
Funding from Operation School Bell Corporate Partners is exclusively dedicated to purchasing uniforms to clothe children: Senior Partners ($10,000) provide school uniforms for 167 students each school year, Partners ($5,000) clothe 83 students per year, Associates ($2,500) provide uniforms for 42 students, Friends ($1,000) provide uniforms for 17 students, and Supporters ($500) clothe 8 students per year.
Operation School Bell Corporate Partners join with Assistance League of Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School District to fulfill the vision that each child must arrive at the classroom door ready to learn and no child should fail to attend or perform in school for lack of adequate clothing.