OUR INCREDIBLE SHRINKING PRICES ON KIDS’ CLOTHES!

What happens in summer? Things grow! Grass grows. Flowers grow. And your kids grow!

But their clothes don’t grow with them. You’re always buying them new things. We KNOW your budget doesn’t grow along with your kids – so the ALI thrift shop is having a SPECIAL SUMMER SALE! That’s right – our prices didn’t grow. They shrunk!

Infants’ clothing from 0 – 24 months is just $1.00 per item! That’s right – $1.00!

All other kids’ clothing is just $2.00 per item! That’s right – $2.00!

Children’s accessories, bedding, and toys are still priced individually.

Your kids will grow this summer, but our prices have shrunk! And we have our usual GREAT selection. Stop in now to take advantage of these incredible prices!

BACK TO SCHOOL – ALREADY????

At the supermarket this morning I saw a whole display of notebooks, pens, and rulers with a sign, “Back to School Supplies!” And it’s only the beginning of August. Don’t these poor kids get any summer breaks any more? Even if you like the year-round school idea, it sure doesn’t seem like they got much of a summer vacation.

ALI has actually been in “Back to School” mode for several weeks now. Operation School Bell, our largest program, starts up when the schools open in September. OSB provides school clothing and school supplies to income-qualified students in the Irvine Unified School District. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on behind the scenes. We make up a packet of instructions and applications for each school in the district. We schedule dates for “Meet and Greets” with families, and for shopping days at Target. Then we have a whole team of people, including teenagers from our Assisteens auxiliary, who purchase backpacks and school supplies, and assemble hygiene kits for each child (plastic bags with shampoo and other personal care items). We also start our BOOK DRIVE, asking for donations of books from the IUSD grade-level reading lists, so that each child can pick out a book to take home. When the families arrive at our Community Outreach Center (upstairs from the thrift shop) for the first “Meet and Greet,” we’ll have everything ready for them!

If you’d like to contribute to OSB, you can write a check to ALI and either drop it off at the thrift shop, or mail it to us at 2452 Alton, Irvine, CA 92606. Include a note that it is for Operation School Bell. To donate a book, you can drop off new, age-appropriate books at the thrift shop as well. Thrift shop hours are 10 am – 3 pm Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or 10 am to 5:30 pm on Friday.

It’s Operation School Bell® time!

Over the next few months, you’ll be hearing a lot about Operation School Bell® when you visit the thrift shop.  ThroughOperation School Bell®, ALI provides school clothing and school supplies to qualifying low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District.  Every year, from the beginning of September up until Thanksgiving, your ALI volunteers donate many hours of their time to OSB. Operation School Bell® is the signature philanthropic program of National Assistance League, and we are proud to be a part of it.

Upstairs from the thrift shop, our community outreach center is full ofOperation School Bell® supplies.  Backpacks, packets of school supplies, and “hygiene kits” containing shampoo and other personal care items, cover every available space! Each child gets to choose an age-appropriate book to take home, and every family gets a dictionary – so we have several full bookcases, too.  Our OSB families purchase their school clothing at our partner store, Target North in the Irvine Marketplace – but everything else is upstairs, waiting for OSB to start!

People are often surprised that we have a need for OSB in Irvine, but we assisted over 800 children last year.  Families apply for OSB through their schools, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in this program, ask them to contact their school nurse or counselor.

Operation School Bell®, like our other philanthropies, is financed by sales from our thrift shop.  Next time you’re shopping with us, remember that you, too, are helping to give some child a better start for the school year. 

ALI AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS AT IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE

June brings the end of another school year and the excitement of graduation! At ALI, June is also the month when we recognize our scholarship winners. Each June we award two categories of scholarships for students planning to attend Irvine Valley College. One scholarship program is for graduating seniors who attend an Irvine Unified School District High School. The other program is for older students, mainly single parents, who are returning to IVC to further their education and earn a degree.

We’re extremely proud of our scholarship recipients! They are all incredible people who come from a variety of backgrounds and have amazing plans for the future. This June we awarded nine scholarships to graduating high school seniors, and eleven more scholarships to previous high-school winners who will be returning for their 2nd year at IVC. Our adult single-parent program presented scholarships to six new recipients and three who had received awards from us last year.

Our scholarships are funded by our thrift shop sales. So the next time you’re visiting our shop, remember that your purchases are helping these students realize their dreams.

YOUNG MASTERS ART SHOW IS COMING!

I know we’re always telling our blog readers to “Save the Date,” but this is a really SPECIAL date to put on your calendar now. SATURDAY, APRIL 30 is the 26th annual Young Masters Art Show, sponsored by Assistance League of Irvine in the Irvine Civic Center Plaza from 1 to 4 pm. This is a FREE family event with hands-on craft activities, refreshments, and a fantastic art exhibit featuring over 600 pieces of children’s art.

Irvine Unified School District art specialist teachers select one piece of art from every K – 6 classroom in the district to be showcased at Young Masters, and these young students are SO talented. The art will stay on display in the lobby of City Hall through MAY 12, but you have to be there APRIL 30 for everything else!

This year our craft stations will include Clay Creations, decorating picture frames, painting your own small wooden bird house, Pet Rocks, and our ever-popular Selfie Station! Face painting and balloon creations will be add to the fun.

Don’t miss the entertainment, which will feature the award-winning Woodbridge High jazz and percussion ensembles.

Art, crafts, music – what better way to spend an afternoon? Bring the whole family and we’ll see you on April 30!

 

Support our book drive.

“There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” -Walt Disney

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Nothing opens the world to a child like books and the love of reading.  Studies have shown that having books in the home plays an enormous part in school success.  At Assistance League of Irvine, we’re all about making sure kids have a level playing field for success in school – and that includes books of their own.

We give each Operation School Bell student an age-appropriate book of their choice, plus a dictionary for each family.  And where do these books come from? From YOU, our generous donors and thrift shop patrons!

Each year we hold an annual Book Drive to collect new and gently-used books for these students.   The Irvine year-round schools start up in August, so our Book Drive is starting RIGHT NOW!

We supported over 800 students last year through Operation School Bell – so as you can see, we need LOTS of books! We’re particularly looking for books on the middle school or high school required reading lists.  You can drop off your book drive donations at the thrift shop during any time than we are open.

Help us encourage the love of reading in this new generation through our book drive.  And many, many thanks to ALL OF YOU who make it happen!

YOUR THRIFT SHOP DOLLARS AT WORK!

TargetCartsAuthor Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

All you faithful thrift shoppers have been buying up a storm! We know what you’ve been doing with all those tops, pants, housewares, and toys you’ve been buying. But we thought YOU’D like to know what WE’VE been doing with the money from our thrift shop sales over the past couple of months.

We’ve been spending your dollars on our annual “Operation School Bell” philanthropy, which kicks off at the start of every school year. (You may have been at the shop during one of our OSB “Meet & Greets,” and seen families with exuberant school-age kids heading upstairs to our 2nd floor community resource center to meet with our OSB committee.) Operation School Bell provides school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District, from pre-K through 12th grade. We’ve been helping qualified IUSD students through OSB since 1990.

Every child is allocated a set amount of money to purchase school clothing, on a sliding scale from $75 to $125 depending on grade level. Families come to a “shopping event” at our partner retail store, Target North on Jamboree and Irvine Blvd., to pick out their clothing, and ALI pays Target when they check out. Target provides us with an additional 5% off every transaction for using our Target Redcard, and also extends us a tax exempt status discount.

At the introductory “Meet & Greet,” each student gets a backpack, school supplies, a set of personal care items, and an age-appropriate book to take home. Each family with school-age kids receives a dictionary, and our littlest pre-K people get to pick out a stuffed animal. We also provide parents with information on other resources for low-income families, such as vision care, dental care, the 211 resource guide, and our own scholarships for Irvine Valley College and SAT test prep for high-school students. And we give each family member a $5 gift card to our thrift shop – because everyone should have something new and fun from the thrift store for back-to-school!

NOW FOR THOSE STATISTICS – YOUR SHOPPING DOLLARS AT WORK!

We’ve clothed 662 children since August, when the year-round schools started. All the money for these 662 kids came from YOUR thrift shop purchases. Shoppers, that’s a lot of $5 tops and pants! We appreciate every one of you who supports our shop and helps us get these students ready for a successful school year.

ALI RECEIVES AWARD AT CITY HALL

041605810456467_10151867185532255_4859917203299874926_nAssistance League of Irvine was honored on May 31st by the Irvine Prevention Coalition and Irvine Community Drug Prevention. We were one of three groups and 15 individuals receiving awards at City Hall for outstanding work in support of Irvine youth.

ALI was nominated by Susan Holt, a school social worker who coordinates the Irvine Family Resource Program. In her nomination, Susan wrote: “The Assistance League has provided basic needs support through their Operation School Bell Program for decades, assisting low income students to be ready to learn by providing backpacks, school supplies and clothing to needy families in IUSD. Over the last few years, they have gone above and beyond OSB by making additional funds available to help some of our especially challenged K-12 students with graduation costs, bus passes to get to school, additional clothing and gift cards for extra school supplies. For these students, even getting to school can be a challenge. The help provided by AL funds helps them feel more prepared and ready to move forward with their education. It is hard to describe what a difference these supports make for homeless kids who may also be dealing with extreme family problems and financial pressures, personal challenges, multiple moves, and housing and food insecurity.”

The Irvine Prevention Coalition was formed in 1995 to bring together resources and services to support children, youth, and families. Today there are over 60 community partners participating in the coalition. Their mission is to support a safe and caring community by working together to provide prevention strategies and coordinated services designed to reduce substance abuse, violence and related problems among our youth.   Preventive strategies take many forms – education about drug and alcohol abuse, encouragement of healthy lifestyles, and giving young people the tools to be successful in school and life without drugs.

We are honored to be recognized for Operation School Bell. But we couldn’t provide everything we give the kids through OSB without the continued support of our thrift store shoppers and donors! Thank you!