SKIP THE SUPPLEMENTS – VOLUNTEER!

The headline for an article in the June 2017 issue of the AARP Magazine read, “Planning to Live to 100? Volunteer!”

Now personally, I’m not sure I want to live to be 100. For one thing, I KNOW the DMV will take away my driver’s license by then. (On the other hand, I could find some cute guy from Uber to drive me around. I may have to rethink this.)

The real issue isn’t how long we live, but how well we live. And no matter how young or how old you are, volunteering does amazing things for your quality of life.

Eric J. Schneidewind, the president of AARP and the author of the article, writes, “A growing body of research tells us that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates and less depression, along with a greater sense of control over one’s life and high rates of self-esteem and happiness. Some studies showed that volunteers who devote about 100 hours or more per year to volunteer activities are the most likely to experience health benefits.”

If you’re serious about aging well (or simply living well now), add volunteering to your life. Find a cause you’re passionate about and join in. At Assistance League of Irvine, we’re passionate about our philanthropic programs – Operation School Bell, the Young Masters Art Show, and our Irvine Valley College Scholarships, to name a few. If we walk 10,000 steps while we’re working a shift at the thrift shop, so much the better. We’re not thinking about living to be 100 – we just want to give back to our community for as long as we’re able.

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Celebrate National Volunteer Week with ALI!

April 23 as the beginning of National Volunteer Week! Sponsored by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was started in 1974 as a way to encourage volunteerism and recognize those who volunteer their time and efforts to make a better life for others.

At ALI, we volunteer 52 weeks a year, whether it’s by staffing our thrift shop, helping families purchase school clothing and supplies through Operation School Bell, interviewing applicants for our Irvine Valley College scholarships, or promoting artistic expression at our annual Young Masters Art Show.   We know that volunteering connects our community, and builds a support system for those who are struggling. And it often brings out untapped talents – how many times have we seen one of our members discover a passion for public relations or creatively arranging our store displays?

Many of you blog readers are also volunteers – at schools and youth organizations, environmental groups, at food banks and homeless shelters – the list is endless. We’d like to say “THANKS” to all our readers who volunteer in so many ways.   In today’s world it often seems that one individual’s effort can’t make a difference – but we’ve seen time and again at ALI, that it can.

If you’d like to learn more about National Volunteer Week, visit their website at www.pointsoflight.org.   And if you think you’d like to join us volunteering at ALI, go to visit ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF IRVINE.

Celebrate National ‘Simplify Your Life’ Week

Like me, blog readers, you probably never knew that the first week in August is “National Simplify Your Life Week”!

It’s not our place to address the philosophical reasons why we now need a designated NATIONAL week to remind us to clean out our garages. There are actually many things that go into simplifying a lifestyle, but for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is getting rid of all those things we no longer use. (I can recall a time when clutter was actually seen as sort of a good thing. You never knew what you might find down in your grandmother’s basement – stacks of old magazines, boxes of clothes, discarded furniture that you could use to play house. You could get hours of entertainment out of it.)

Nowadays, experts recommend that you periodically go through your closets, kitchen cupboards, kids’ rooms, and, yes, your storage unit. Separate everything into things you want to keep, things you want to pass on, and things to throw away.

Bring those things you want to pass on to the ALI thrift store! While we don’t take furniture, TVs, old computers, or large appliances, you can bring us everything else. We take donations at our shop during the hours we’re open (Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm; Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm). Drive around to our rear door at the back of our building, and we’ll happily help you unload your car.

Once you’ve simplified your life, you’ll be so happy you’ll be ready for the second week in August, which is “National Smile Week”!

LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GIVE BACK?

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carole King:

“Good people help their neighbors in communities every day. Whether through military service, political activism, volunteering at a school, hospital, or library, or simply through quotidian acts of kindness, each of us has something to contribute to improve another person’s life.” (from Carole King’s autobiography, A Natural Woman)

 If you’re reading this blog, you’re familiar with the Assistance League of Irvine and what we do to help our community. But have you ever thought about joining us? We currently have 118 members, with more joining us every month. We have several levels of membership or volunteer opportunities, that can accommodate just about anyone’s schedule. Our members have diverse backgrounds and interests, and along with our philanthropic work, we have a LOT of fun!

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, or want to expand your activities and your circle of friends, stop by our thrift shop at 2452 Alton (between Jamboree and Von Karman) and fill out a membership interest form. You can also email us at: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. Our membership chair will call you and meet with you to give you more information about ALI. We’d love to have you join us!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES

Blog readers, are you ready for the 22nd Annual IHeart OC Giving Day? This is the one time a year in a 30-hour period you can give back and it’s so easy!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES.

Our thrift shop supports about 80% of our budget. The rest has to come from donations. And the IHeartOC Giving Day is the easiest possible way to make a donation to Assistance League of Irvine. Just click on this link to the IHeartOC website and it will automatically take you to the web page where you can make a tax-deductible donation to Assistance League of Irvine.

ALL the money ALI raises supports our programs right here in Irvine. School clothing, school supplies, and eyeglasses for needy children, scholarships for single parents and high school seniors planning to attend Irvine Valley College, help for the Human Options shelter, our annual Young Masters art show, our Assisteens auxiliary that builds character and leadership skills in 7th grade to 12th grade students through volunteer activities, and our incredible thrift shop – all of these directly affect the lives of Irvine families. AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO CONTINUE ALL THESE WONDERFUL PROGRAMS.

We’re not an organization that sends you mailers every month asking for donations. We don’t have a “pledge week.” But we’re asking for your donation in any amount, during the IHeartOC campaign. Thank you for supporting us!

CLICK HERE TO GIVE WHERE YOUR ❤ LIVES

(The IHeartOC campaign is sponsored by the Orange County Community Foundation as a way to publicize non-profits in Orange County and encourage donations.)

It’s Just Coffee

You’ve probably seen ads for a local matchmaking service called “It’s Just Lunch.” Prospective matches meet for lunch at a local restaurant and hopefully, get to know each other enough to see if they’d like to go on another date. It’s informal, convenient, inexpensive, and doesn’t take up the whole day – it’s just lunch!

ALI would like to be matched up with some new people, too! We KNOW there are many of you out there who would love to get to know us better and perhaps join our chapter. To keep things even simpler than a lunch date, we’re sponsoring “COFFEE AND A TOUR” on Saturday, March 7.

JOIN US AT 10 AM at our Community Outreach Center/Thrift Shop, 2452 Alton Parkway in Irvine (between Von Karman and Jamboree) for coffee and a presentation about our philanthropic activities. Learn how Assistance League of Irvine turns second-hand treasures from our Thrift & Gift Shop into community giving, through scholarships, clothing and school supplies for Irvine students, and much, much more. You’ll have a chance to meet some of our members, enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, take a tour of our Thrift Shop, and even do some shopping!

For more information, RSVP by March 1 to: 949-798-5020, or email: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. We’ll see you then – and bring a friend!

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California Dreamin’ – Thrift Shop Road Trip

If you drove by the thrift shop a couple of Mondays ago and saw a group of ALI volunteers in their blue aprons clustered around a red Thunderbird convertible in front of the shop, you weren’t California Dreamin’. That was a visit from National Assistance League’s Anne Salenger, and her “Thrift Shop Road Trip.”

Anne is traveling around the country, visiting and blogging about different Assistance League thrift stores. We were thrilled to have Anne join us for one of our Monday behind-the-scenes work sessions. Our shop was filled with eager ALI volunteers sorting, cleaning, and changing out the merchandise for the coming week. Anne’s visit came just after our Holiday Extravaganza, so the shop looked especially festive with all our holiday items. Anne was able to see first-hand the incredible effort that goes into getting the shop ready to open for the week each Wednesday morning.

While everything ALI does is for our own community, it’s inspiring for us to be able to share our story with other chapters – and to learn from them as well. We hope Anne and her “Road Trip” come back soon for another visit!

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