It was a wonderful privilege for Assistance League® of Temecula Valley to present the National Operation School Bell Award to Laura Boss, Public Information Officer, Temecula Valley Unified School District, at their Annual Meeting at Galway Downs on May 1st. This award is available for presentation by a chapter to honor those in the community who have had a direct, powerful and positive effect on Operation School Bell, thus warranting recognition from National Assistance League®. A letter from the National President was read at the presentation.
Operation School Bell, the signature program of Assistance League, provides assistance to children in need. Assistance League is widely recognized for its efforts to provide new school clothing to children in need in communities across the country.
Last year, it became apparent a new procedure for scheduling low-income students was needed for the district. After discussions with program leaders, Ms. Boss suggested the Operation School Bell registration process be taken from paper to online. The previous system was based on the site health clerks and nurses being “in the know” of potentially needy families. This was a disservice to district families and placed a tremendous burden on the site health clerks to make the decisions about whom to approach.
Ms. Boss said, “I am so blessed to work with the amazing ladies of Assistance League of Temecula Valley,” said Ms. Boss. “They are amazing and I want to be one of them when I retire and can dedicate more volunteer time to the organization. For now, I truly appreciate the willingness and faith that the Operation School Bell leadership placed in me to make the transition from paper to online. We believe it is a win-win for our families and Assistance League’s volunteers. Being recognized nationally as one of only two people in Assistance League of Temecula Valley’s 29 years, is a compliment that I don’t deserve but I am so grateful and appreciative of the honor. I will cherish it forever and it sits proudly on my desk!”
In TVUSD, the annual registration process is done completely online for every family and it has been this way for the last several years. Being that the families have become accustomed to using the online process, this was a good time to transition to the same kind of process for Operation School Bell. By creating the online forms and pushing the information out by email to all district families, they had the opportunity to review the information and qualification requirements in the comfort of their own home and not have to directly be singled out by any individual. In an effort to target the most needy families, the Operation School Bell application process was rolled out in phases: to the title 1 school families; then to identified foster youth families. Once those emails circulated for a few days, the application was distributed to the remainder of the families within the district. The responses were overwhelming and all three dressing dates were filled within four days. Many of the district families shared that this was the first time they knew about the program’s existence and they have had students in TVUSD for years. The other benefit was that the registration process provided Operation School Bell volunteer administrators detailed spreadsheets with contact information provided by the families as well as all of the information they needed for the actual shopping events. This online application procedure made the follow-up and the day of shopping experience easier on the volunteers and more streamlined for the excited parents and students. Ms. Boss and Operation School Bell administrators look forward to expanding the program to Lake Elsinore and Murrieta Valley Unified School District’s this fall.
Because of this new procedure, more district parents were made aware of the program and as a result, more families that had never participated in Operation School Bell and more low-income students were able to receive new school clothes.
Pictured: l/r: Denise Lanier, Assistance League Philanthropic Programs Chairman; Laura Boss, Public Information Officer, Temecula Valley Unified School District; Diane Koirth, Operation School Bell Chairman