Our History

Assistance League of Victor Valley was founded in 1979 and, under the leadership of Mmes. Joseph Campbell, Hanley Heikes and Timothy Hoiles, attained Chapter status on May 26, 1982, becoming the eleventh chapter in Region III and the 70th chapter of National Assistance League.


National Assistance League is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization. Public support funds raised by chapters are returned to their communities through philanthropic programs. Victor Valley chapter directs its funds to the serving students, young adults, and families in the High Desert.



  • Project R.E.A.D. (Read, Enjoy, and Develop) was established to assist students in the development of reading and comprehension skills. The San Bernardino County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission recognized Project R.E.A.D. as an outstanding youth program.
  • In conjunction with Project R.E.A.D., hand-held computers, special books, and kits requested by teachers, were donated to four elementary school districts.
  • A vision-screening program was initiated and an emergency fund for eye-related problems was established.
  • Programs were funded by the Home Tour (suspended in 1996).



  • The Operation School Bell was adopted and became operational in 1987. Through this program, children who would otherwise not be suitably or adequately clothed for school were furnished with up to two full sets of clothing, upon recommendation of authorized school personnel.



  • Funds were allocated for binding of books written by students for the annual “Young Authors Conference”.
  • Contributions have been made to the Apple Valley Science and Technology Center (now known as the Lewis Center for Educational Research) for its library and video expansion fund.
  • Kids on the Block™ was adopted. The “kids” are puppets, manipulated by trained puppeteers performing with set scripts, which helps children understand the problems, differences, and capabilities of disabled youngsters being mainstreamed into the classroom. Program was discontinued in 2018.



  • Spring Ball was initiated to raise funds for the chapter’s philanthropic programs. It is now known as the Spring Fundraiser.



  • Operation Hug was approved. Cuddly bears, dressed in colorful tee shirts bearing the chapter logo, are donated to hospital emergency rooms for distribution to children in physically and mentally traumatic situations.



  • July 5, 1995, the Common Cents Thrift Shop opened. This is a year-round fundraiser for the chapter’s philanthropic programs.
  • A chapter logo was approved to be used for the furtherance of the chapter’s identity and image in the local community.
  • The chapter office and Operation School Bell were moved to a new location in Apple Valley.
  • Later in the year, Operation School Bell was moved to quarters next door to the thrift shop, and in December 1995, escrow was closed on the purchase of the commercial building in which they are housed.



  • The chapter office was moved into its current location complete with an office with a new computer, with space for holding committee, board, and regular meetings.



  • After much planning, a room was added to the Thrift Shop to provide more room for sorting and storage. This room was later named the Jean Russell room in memory of one of the Thrift Shop founders.



  • The office and meeting room were completely renovated and enlarged to what it is today.



  • National Assistance League adopted a new logo to be used by National Assistance League and all chapters.



  • Big milestone for Operation School Bell – the 10,000th child was outfitted. The age level was increased to include preschool children.
  • Assault Survivor Kits®, consisting of a full outfit of comfortable clothing, were assembled and distributed to the Rape Crisis Center (Now Partners Against Violence).
  • New heights were reached in Thrift Shop income, grants received, and donations to Sock It To ’Em Campaign.



  • An electric opener was installed on the back gate with an opener button in the Thrift Shop, making deliveries much easier to receive.
  • New signage was installed on the front of the building and the exterior of the building was resurfaced.



  • To raise public awareness of both Assistance League and Operation School Bell, our members spoke at numerous professional and fraternal organizations.
  • The chapter approved participation as a sponsor for the Newspapers in Education (NIE) program. This is a win/win situation—not only do we sponsor newspapers for five elementary school classrooms in the Victor Valley, but every Monday the Assistance League logo appears on the NIE page in the local newspaper—a great way to get Assistance League of Victor Valley’s name out in the community.



  • A new philanthropic program was undertaken—I’m In Charge! This was an educational program designed to support families as they begin to teach children age-appropriate safety skills when they are alone at home or on their own.



  • The chapter’s website was brought online. This website is a great public relations tool since it will enable us to tell our story to a much greater audience.
  • The Chapter paid off the mortgage on our building!
  • Our logo disc was installed and is on display at the City of Victorville’s monument area, further increasing our visibility within the community.
  • The Thrift Shop, grants received, and donations to Sock It To ‘Em Campaign all exceeded projections with thrift shop income at an all-time high.



  • Operation Hug grew by over 30%.
  • The Assisteens® auxiliary ended the year with 35 active and enthusiastic members.
  • I’m In Charge! added another school district.
  • Common Cents Thrift Shop achieved another all-time high-income year.



  • Operation School Bell had now clothed over 19,000 since it started in 1986.
  • Project R.E.A.D. increased funding to bind books by 100% due to more schools participating in Young Author’s Conferences.
  • Science & Technology funding expanded by 140%.
  • Operation Hug grew by 27%.
  • The Thrift Shop purchased a shed to help ease storage issues and again surpassed their budgeted income goal.
  • Assisteens ended the year with 37 members who contributed time and effort to their philanthropic programs, as well as helping the chapter with Operation School Bell and the Thrift Shop.



  • Operation School Bell celebrated clothing the 20,000th child since the program began in 1987.
  • Our participation in National Assistance League’s Make A Difference Day – Children’s Book Drive brought in over 2,000 books—several were donated to local school libraries.
  • As philanthropic programs expand to meet increased needs in our community, fundraising efforts continue to exceed budget projections through the Sock It To ’Em mailer campaign, funding of several grants, successful fundraising events held in the fall and spring, plus ongoing Thrift Shop surplus revenue.
  • Chapter Standing Rules, Strategic Plan and Assisteens Policies were updated and revised utilizing the latest National Assistance League templates.



  • In It To Thin It, a weight loss program for high school students in the community, became a new project.
  • Our chapter funded supplies for court-ordered counseling sessions to Lucerne Valley Domestic Violence Outreach, Inc.
  • Operation School Bell clothed an all-time high of 1,310 students this year.
  • Partnered with Kohl’s for clothing students through Operation School Bell to ensure that students receive clothing that best suits each individual.
  • The Thrift Shop changed its name from Common Cents Thrift Shop to Assistance League Thrift Shop.
  • Our spring fundraiser was a success, with a record number 226 attendees.
  • Assisteens graduated 16 seniors, all proudly attending college in the fall.
  • Membership has increased by 8%, well above the targeted number in the Strategic Plan.



  • Partnership with Kohl’s proved to be very successful. More children were served in a shorter period of time, no-show rates continue to decrease, and parent and school surveys show 99% approval of the program.
  • Project R.E.A.D. increased its budget to meet the growth in the Young Authors program and in support of Science and Technology for elementary, junior, and senior high schools.
  • The Spring Fashion Show, Sock It To ‘Em Campaign, grants, community donors and the Thrift Shop provide funds to support all philanthropic programs.
  • Participation in National’s “Make A Difference Day” was a success. Elementary and junior high school libraries were the recipients of over 2,000 books collected each year.
  • Facebook, Constant Contact, newspaper ads, our website and being a GuideStar gold participant help provide continued visibility to the community.
  • A Social Media Policy was introduced.
  • We established a Pay-Pal and eBay account.
  • Joined the National Assistance League multi-site platform for our chapter website.
  • Made changes to our membership requirements to allow for more flexibility in how members volunteer.
  • Assisteens continue to serve the community, as well as support the chapter. We are proud of several past Assisteens who are now pursuing advanced degrees in engineering, medical, and dental fields.



  • The fall of 2016 brought the long-anticipated remodel and expansion of our building. Our meeting room was expanded for greater occupancy. New office space was added, and the Thrift Shop increased in size by 783 square feet.



  • Chapter’s 35th Anniversary! The 2017 installation meeting was a celebration of our 35th Anniversary.  Several founding and long-time members were in attendance.
  • As the 70th chapter of National Assistance League we continue to grow and meet the needs of our community through our philanthropic programs.
  • Operation School Bell expanded to include a partnership with Fallas Department store.
  • Payless Shoe cards are, once again, available.
  • Young Authors continues to grow with more schools participating.
  • We are in the fourth year of our five-year strategic plan.
  • We continually strive to increase our membership, are developing qualitative and quantitative measurements for our philanthropic programs.
  • We maintain sufficient funds through our ongoing fundraisers, generous donations, and a very productive Thrift Shop.
  • In the final year of the annual Make a Difference Day book drive, we exceeded expectations by collecting over 3,000 books for local school libraries.



  • Increased our membership by 10%.
  • Increased our funding through our thrift shop, annual fundraising, and grants, and continued to give back to our community through our philanthropic programs.
  • Began work on our new five-year strategy to take us into the future.
  • Although we continue to have ‘flexible’ membership, our members gave a record breaking 29,000 hours of volunteering! Half of those hours were spent in the support of our Thrift Shop.
  • Built a strong and growing customer base with over 500 customers now on our mailing list for our weekly sales.
  • Our Operation School Bell program continued our partnership with Kohl’s, Fallas and Payless Shoes, providing for 1,357 students, bringing us to over 27,000 since inception of this program.
  • Plans are in place for our new partnership with Target in the year ahead.
  • Implemented National Assistance League’s ‘Outcome Survey’ and the results showed that over 85% of the students participating in Operation School Bell demonstrated a positive significant change in classroom behavior, confidence, and level of engagement with peers.
  • 5,025 books collected and distributed to local schools, libraries, family centers and the Professional Firefighters Association through our participation in National Assistance League’s annual book drive.
  • First annual ‘Come Fly with Us’ fundraiser was held.
  • First annual Assisteens ‘Mad Hatter Tea’ was held.
  • First annual Open House (for prospective members) was held.


2018 – 2019:

  • Added new Board role of Technology Chairman
  • Reviewed and Updated Bylaws and Standing Rules
  • Strategic Plan 2018 – 23 was developed, accepted, and approved.
  • Developed and implemented a weekly Chit-Chat newsletter for members.
  • Implemented a new member recognition program of a monthly President’s Heart Award
  • Streamlined, and made more flexible, our information and orientation for new members.
  • Developed and implemented four new Philanthropic Programs:

-Teens Helping Teens — Assisteens program to help teens in need.

-Pass It On! — This program helps other non-profit organizations by our re-purposing and re-donating items from our thrift shop that are not sold.

-Outreach — Will allow us to help in special one-time circumstances.

-Moving Forward — This program helps foster young who have aged out of the system transition to being out on their own.

  • Improved our facilities by resurfacing our parking lot, purchasing a new storage shed to help handle the increase in donations, and ordered a new and more visible sign for our Thrift Shop.


2019 – 2020:

  • Operation School Bell reached an additional 620 students in need to bring our total number of students served to 2,057, surpassing the 30,000 number of students served!
  • Board training was offered to all board members by a representative from National.
  • Sent six representatives to National Assistance League’s CONNECT2019 conference in Las Vegas.
  • New storage cabinets were put in the chapter meeting area.
  • A new computer was purchased for the treasurer and another for member use.
  • Began a program working with Disney® Resorts that enabled us to receive Disneyland tickets to use as a fundraising event.
  • A back-room manager position was implemented in the Thrift Shop.
  • Our job descriptions for the board positions were edited so the Nominating Committee had a clearer description when recruiting new board members.
  • Platinum status maintained for GuideStar.
  • Amended the Operation School Bell program to serve K-12 students.
  • Recruited 20 new members during the year.
  • Created a capital budget for a new roof, which was completed in May 2020.
  • Canceled and suspended chapter activities March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Outreach program funding was utilized to provide support to 890 AVUSD students.




In spite of the continuing restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistance League continued to maintain a standard of excellent support to our communities.

  • Operation School Bell® touched the lives of 2,290 students, bringing our total since 1987 to over 32,000.
  • Our membership contributed approximately 10,000 hours of volunteering. Less than past years but amazing considering we were all staying home for a great deal of the year.
  • Our board met each month via Zoom and learned to efficiently conduct business.
  • We are very grateful that our chapter had the foresight to add a Technology position to the board. This enabled us to continue to meet with members via Zoom meetings are we embraced this new way of staying informed.
  • National Assistance League provided a great deal of information and support through their webinars, a virtual chapter visit, and learning modules.
  • 18 Assisteens volunteered over 270 hours; donated 35 Easter baskets to the Thrift Shop, assembled 1,400 grooming kits for Operation School Bell, and helped set up for the Annual Christmas Sale.
  • Through our STEM Awards, seven requests were funded and included STEM Robotics, a digital camera, an iPad, class garden and library materials, coding and engineering supplies, and home office needs.
  • Outreach program funding was utilized to provide more than $5,000 worth of food, diapers, and personal hygiene products to Apple Valley USD and reached 1,351 students and families in this time of great need.
  • Through a special CDBG-COVID grant of $10,000 from the City of Victorville plus some additional funding from Operation School Bell, we provided 205 Family Feast Bags and 35 food boxes to both Victorville school district family centers serving 1,200 members of the community.
  • Action Week! was a huge success with 1,120 students impacted through a book distribution to 36 kindergarten teachers across the districts. In addition, they received a Dr Seuss DVD, a bingo game, and a bookmark.
  • Moving Forward collaborated with “Oasis House” to support their sheltering of transitional-aged youth by providing household items, curtains for windows, closet organizers, and personal hygiene items valued at $4000.
  • The Sock It To ‘Em Campaign, proceeds from the Amazon Smile Program, Southwest Gas grant, and grants in general, the chapter received funding far beyond our wildest expectations.
  • The Thrift Shop opened, and closed, and reopened again. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support as donations exceeded expectations.  It was good to see happy customers again.




  • Happy 40th Anniversary Assistance League of Victor Valley!
  • Operation School Bell® touched the lives of 1,159 children so far this year, bringing our total since 1987 to over 34,000.
  • Our membership contributed over 15,000 volunteer hours as COVID restrictions lifted.
  • Up until March, our board met each month via Zoom and learned to efficiently conduct business.
  • Starting in August we offered regular meetings in the meeting room as well on Zoom. Our hybrid meetings were popular with many of our members.
  • National Assistance League provided a great deal of information and support through their webinars, Leadership Connection, Connect 21 and quarterly meetings for the President and Thrift shop Chairman.
  • 19 Assisteens from 7 different schools volunteered 782 hours as they assembled and donated approximately 55 Easter baskets to the Thrift Shop and the domestic violence center, assembled 1,000 grooming kits that were distributed through Operation School Bell, and help set up for the Annual Christmas Sale. In addition, they held their 3rd annual Mad Hatter Tea and fashion show this year with 69 guests in attendance.
  • Welcomed 17 new members to the chapter.
  • Operation Hug delivered 1,080 bears to the local emergency rooms.
  • Literacy Awards – 39 new teachers received $300 in books for their classroom. This year over 1600 students will enjoy the books that will remain in the classroom.
  • STEM Awards – eight awards were presented to teachers in Apple Valley and Victor unified school districts and included math applications, literature and STEM activities supplies, Aerogarden, Garden supplies, and STEM center supplies as well as engineering activities. More than 320 students will benefit from this funding that provides a good educational experience.
  • Pass It On! has proven to be a great program for helping others with items we cannot use. We budgeted to donate $10,000 worth of donations this year.
  • Outreach – This year once again we received special CDBG-COVID grant funding for $10,000 from the City of Victorville. We used this funding to provide 102 Family Feast Boxes to the Victor elementary school district family centers and 55 families in the Victor Valley High School District were given food boxes bringing our total to 628 individuals served.
  • The Sock It To ‘Em campaign, Amazon Smile program, Southwest Gas Grant, grants in general, and the Thrift Shop provided much needed revenue to support our philanthropic programs.
  • Action Week! distributed literacy packages (a Dr Seuss DVD, a bingo game, a new book that focuses on the topics and values in the Dr Seuss books and a bookmark) to 45 kindergarten teachers across school districts to reach 1,057 students.
  • Members volunteered more than 15,000 hours in support of our chapter.




  • Operation School Bell® touched the lives of 1,343 children so far this year, bringing our total since 1987 to over 35,000.
  • Our membership contributed more than 19,000 volunteer hours!
  • We welcomed 19 new members.
  • Assault Survivor Kits® – 24 kits were assembled and delivered to Partners Against Violence.
  • Operation Hug – approximately 800 bears were delivered to the three local emergency rooms.
  • Literacy Awards – $500 awards were given to new teachers to buy classroom sets of books estimated to affect 540 students over the next three years.
  • Young Authors – paid to bind 397 books for Snowline Joint Unified School District: Elementary.
  • STEM Awards – $500 awards were given to teachers throughout the high desert, and it is estimated this will affect 450 students over the next three years.
  • Outreach – funds were utilized to purchase $10,500 worth of food for Apple Valley Family Center, Hesperia Family Center, and Victorville Elementary Family Center to supply their families who are in need. We estimate this will benefit 646 students and families.
  • Moving Forward – provided household items to both the Walden Family Center and Family Assistance Program.
  • Pass It On! – made a total of 73 deliveries to local schools, non-profit agencies, national organizations, and local charities; total value of the items we delivered was $6,714 and touched 3,834 lives.
  • Action Week! was an enormous success as we distributed literacy kits (containing a Dr Seuss DVD, BINGO game, and bookmark) to 65 kindergarten teachers at 15 schools for a total of 1,650 books.
  • We were thrilled to once again hold the Spring Fundraiser with our “Come Fly With Us to the Fabulous 50’s” theme. Between the proceeds from that event, the Sock It To ‘Em campaign, Amazon Smile program, Southwest Gas Grant, grants in general, and the Thrift Shop, we had a banner year for revenue to support our philanthropic programs.
  • 25 Assisteens from 11 different schools volunteered 865 hours setting up for the Annual Christmas Sale, assembling 1,500 hygiene kits for Operation School Bell, put together 125 large duffle bags (containing full size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, personal products, and socks) and 50 queen size blankets to the Apple Valley Family Resource Center for distribution, and 25 duffle bags and 10 queen size blankets to the Victor Valley Family Resource Center, sponsored a family of five children for Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts and delivering three large boxes of food, and held their fourth annual Mad Hatter Tea and fashion show enjoyed by a sold-out crowd of 83 guests.




  • Operation School Bell® touched the lives of 1,253 students from all 8 school districts in the Victor Valley (81 public schools). This brought our total since 1987 to over 36,000.
  • We purchased approximately $15,000 worth of non-perishables for the food pantries Apple Valley Unified School District, Victor Elementary School District, and Hesperia Unified School District. It is estimated that 720 individuals were served based on items and quantities ordered and included breakfast, lunch, and snack items.
  • Our dedicated member volunteers logged more than 17,000 volunteer hours!
  • Assault Survivor Kits® – 26 kits were assembled and delivered to Partners Against Violence.
  • Operation Hug – approximately 600 bears were delivered to the three local emergency rooms.
  • Literacy Awards – We purchased 4,590 books, valuing $8,856, to distributed to 18 schools in all eight high desert school districts. 1,863 students received two different grade-appropriate books each, and the rest of the books were given to the schools’ libraries and A Better Way.
  • Young Authors – We paid to bind 295 books for winning students from Snowline, (95) Apple Valley students (89), and Hesperia students (111).
  • STEM Awards – -$800 awards were given to teachers who applied from Lucerne Valley Elementary, Vanguard Preparatory, Galileo Academy, Sycamore Rocks, Cobalt Institute for Math and Science, and Dr. Ralph H. Baker 21st Century Learning Center to purchase $5,392 worth of teaching materials/ supplies. We estimate that this will affect 3,610 students over the next three years.
  • Outreach – Spent $2,003 on three specific needs; an Apple Valley couple who lost their home and both cars in a house fire, clothing for a large family who had a house fire, and food was purchased for the Ruth and Naomi Project — a home which houses senior women.
  • Moving Forward – We partnered with Family Assistance Program and provided them with $344 worth of household items and linens to support their programs.
  • Pass It On! – This program was a tremendous success thanks to the new partnerships formed with other non-profits organizations in the Victor Valley. Members made more than 55 deliveries re-donating $16,488 worth of merchandise that touched the lives of approximately 5,763 people.
  • We were thrilled to once again hold the Spring Fundraiser with our “Come Fly With Us to the Psychedelic 70’s” theme. Between the proceeds from that event, the Sock It To ‘Em campaign, grants, and Thrift Shop sales, we had a banner year for revenue to support our philanthropic programs.
  • 22 Assisteens from many local schools and home school groups logged a total of 529 hours of volunteer service during which they donated 23 sleeping bags and 25 duffle bags/backpacks filled with personal hygiene items to four school districts, assembled 13 Easter baskets to donate to A Better Way. In addition, they assembled over 1,000 hygiene kits in support of Operation School Bell, helped transfer all the priced merchandise from our storage container to the meeting room in support of the 2023 Holiday Sale, purchased and wrapped gifts for a local family at Christmas, volunteered at two events for American Medical Response’s Christmas Toy drive, and worked in the Thrift Shop when schedules allowed. Their fifth annual Mad Hatter Tea and fashion show enjoyed by another sold-out crowd.