Thank you pops!

We celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 21, and what better place to find a gift for Dad than the Thrift Shop?

It may seem that Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, has been around forever.  But that’s not really the case.  Father’s Day celebrations were held informally in the early 20th century, and President Woodrow Wilson supported the idea of a Father’s Day holiday.  But it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson issued a presidential proclamation that the third Sunday in June would be known as Father’s Day.  It took another six years for President Richard Nixon to name Father’s Day a permanent national observance in 1972.

Now we know that a gift from the Thrift Shop for Dad isn’t going to make up for all those years of official government neglect.  And we know that what Dad wants most is your love and respect, and to know that he’s made a difference in your life.  BUT it wouldn’t hurt to add a little something, and he’ll be pleased that you made the thrifty choice of shopping with ALI.

We have items that would suit Dads of all ages and personalities (INCLUDING a huge supply of Father’s Day cards!).  Stop in and pick out something that will make Dad feel special.  And you’ll probably save enough that you can afford to take him out for a Father’s Day dinner!

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Help Us Celebrate 25 Years!

FullSizeRender 25 years ago (way back in 1990), members of the Assistance League of Irvine had an idea. Many of these members were teachers or retired teachers, and they believed that the arts had a vital place in children’s lives. They knew, firsthand, that many children who might not be top students academically, blossomed when they were able to express their creativity. And they wanted a way to recognize these young artists and let them know their talents were special.

This was the start of ALI’s “Young Masters Art Show!” It’s a FREE family event that has grown over the past 25 years to include over 500 pieces of children’s art, hands-on craft activities for kids, refreshments, and entertainment by award-winning Irvine high school music groups. This year it will be held on SATURDAY MAY 2 in the Irvine Civic Center Plaza from 1 to 4 pm. It’s the ONLY event of its kind in all of Orange County!

Irvine Unified School District art specialist teachers have select one piece of art from every K – 6 classroom in the district to be showcased at Young Masters. It’s amazing to see the incredible creativity of these students – you just know many of them will have careers as professional artists.

This year our craft stations will include Clay Creations, decorating picture frames, painting mini-flower pots, and – a Selfie booth! Face painting and balloon creations will be back by popular demand.

The entertainment will feature the Irvine Elementary Honor Choir, the Irvine High Jazz Ensembles, and the Woodbridge High Percussion Ensemble (consistently ranked as one of the best high-school percussion groups in the nation). You’ll be amazed at how talented THESE kids are, too.

Join us on Saturday to help make our 25th Young Masters the best celebration of all! See you there!

14 amazing hammocks you need to nap in…

Summer is well on its way and the warm outside is calling your name. Hammocks are a relaxing way to chill and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Pick up a book, play some music, put your feet up and fall back into these hammock ideas. Happy resting!

 Click here for more Hammock inspiration. All photos via PINTEREST

YOUNG MASTERS ART SHOW IS COMING!

image-3I 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, MAY 2 is the 25th 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 500 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 14, but you have to be there MAY 2 for everything else!

This year our craft stations will include Clay Creations, decorating picture frames, painting mini-flower pots, and – a Selfie booth! Face painting and balloon creations will be back by popular demand.

Don’t miss the entertainment, which will feature the Irvine Elementary Honor Choir, the Irvine High Jazz Ensembles, and the Woodbridge High Percussion Ensemble (consistently ranked as one of the best high-school percussion groups in the nation).

Art, crafts, music – what better way to spend an afternoon? Bring the whole family and we’ll see you on May 2!

Blog readers – Help Us Win Free Advertising and continue helping the community!

we-need-your-voteThe Orange County Register is giving away $2MM in FREE ADVERTISING to non-profits! HELP US WIN some of this free advertising!

We’re competing with many other non-profits for a share of these advertising dollars in the Register’s annual “Golden Envelope” contest. With our goal to return at least 67% of our revenue back to the community, our advertising budget is very small. And we don’t have to tell you that newspaper ads are expensive. More money to spend on ads in the Register (at no cost to us!) would really help us tell our story to the community, showcase our philanthropies, recruit new members, and bring more shoppers (and donations!) to the Thrift Shop. But we need your help!

All you have to do is VOTE for Assistance League of Irvine to win. You can vote once a day between now and the end of the contest on March 31. And we’re making it so easy to vote!  Just CLICK HERE to vote and then click on the big CHECK MARK. That’s all you have to do!

Every vote counts, and we sincerely appreciate your votes. Tell your friends – tell your neighbors – and help us win!

 

KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE!

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For the past two months, one of the top books on the Los Angeles Times’ best-seller list has been “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. Judging by the book’s sales, there are a LOT of us out there who want to change our lives, or, at least, to straighten up our houses.

Now I don’t want to give away all the details of Ms. Kondo’s de-cluttering strategy (if you want the whole scoop, you need to buy her book). I WILL tell you that one of the steps is to discard anything that doesn’t make you feel “a spark of joy.” Maybe you felt a spark of joy when you bought that sweater. Maybe you felt a spark of joy the first ten times you wore it. But if you don’t feel a spark of joy right here, right now, it needs to go.

That doesn’t mean the sweater can’t bring a spark of joy to someone else! If you donate all the things you discard out of your life (after you read the book) to the ALI Thrift Shop, the spark of joy will keep burning. In fact, one of the things that continually amazes us is how often we put an item out on the shop floor and a customer exclaims, “This is just what I’ve been looking for!”

So as you’re tidying up, think of the Thrift Shop. We accept donations during any hours the Shop is open. If you have a large donation (a car full of boxes, for instance), drive around to our rear door and ring the bell. Our volunteers will happily accept your donations and give you a receipt.

And then, of course, you may see something ELSE at the Thrift Shop that brings you . . . a NEW spark of joy!

February 14th is around the corner. Shop with us!

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the greeting card aisle, the calendar strikes again. It’s Valentine’s Day! Well, not quite, but it’s on the way.

Now we know all of you headed over to the cell phone store at the end of December so you could trade in your phone before the free upgrade expired. We also know that 97% of you have yet to download the instruction manual for your new phone, and thus have NO IDEA how to program a reminder to buy a Valentine gift for your significant other into your phone.

You have two options before February 14:

– Download the manual, which will appear in teeny tiny print on your cell phone screen. Since you can only read one paragraph at a time when you enlarge the text enough to be visible, it’ll take you 5,294 hours to go through it.

– Go to the Assistance League of Irvine’s Thrift Shop RIGHT NOW and pick out all your Valentine gifts from our selection of incredible bargains. We have jewelry, crystal, china, silver, and picture frames. For the kids, we have a whole menagerie of Valentine-themed stuffed animals. We have the ever-popular DVDs, CDs, and books. And if a special Valentine’s Day dinner or party is in your future, we’ve got the clothes.

See how easy a holiday can be? Now pull out that new phone and start making Valentine’s Day plans!

OUR VISION OF IRVINE’S FUTURE

BrightFutureEvery organization has a vision of what they want to accomplish, and Assistance League of Irvine is no exception. Since you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably shopped at our thrift store and know something about our programs. But you probably (unless you’re a member!) don’t know our actual Vision Statement, which defines and explains our goals. It is:

“Assistance League of Irvine envisions a community where all individuals and families are empowered to achieve their full potential through access to education, the arts, and human services.”

Those words “access to education” led to ALI’s newest philanthropic program: Prep for Success. We’re partnering with Comprehensive College Prep in Laguna Hills to offer at least 20 need-based scholarships to high school juniors in the Irvine Unified School District who need financial help to pay for SAT/ACT test prep classes.

Most four-year colleges and universities require SAT or ACT test scores as part of their application. In recent years, as college admissions have become more competitive, “test prep” classes have become routine for families who can afford them. These classes familiarize the student with the type of questions on the tests, and let them take practice exams.   A student who has taken a “test prep” class is likely to do better on the SAT or ACT, and in the world of college admissions, a higher score helps. Perhaps the most important point is that students who take these classes start to think of themselves as college-bound. For students whose families have significant financial hardship or are the first in their family to go to college, “test prep” classes put them in a group of peers who see college as a desirable, and achievable, goal.

“We want to level the playing field for all students in the Irvine Unified School District by helping them to better prepare themselves for admission to a four-year college or university,” explains Dr. Annelle Arthur, ALI’s Vice President of Philanthropy.

So when you next visit our thrift shop, remember that YOU’RE helping us to create this new program – and to make our vision of the future a reality!

OUR OWN BLUE-LIGHT SPECIALS!

abstract-wallpapers-abstract-blue-lights-wallpaper-37323Author Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

No, we’re not K-Mart – but if any of the following apply on the day you’re shopping, you’ll get a special discount off your purchase!

  1. It’s your BIRTHDAY! Join our BIRTHDAY CLUB, and you’ll receive an in-store coupon good for 15% off your entire purchase, which can be used on any one day of your birthday month! You can sign up at the thrift store during regular business hours – just ask one of the ALI volunteers. Be sure to sign up early as it takes us about a month to process your membership.
  2. You’re a SENIOR CITIZEN! Seniors age 65 and over get a discount of 25% on their total purchase, on the 3rd Thursday of every month! All you need to do is shop on the 3rd Thursday and show us your I.D.
  3. You’re shopping on ANY THURSDAY! Every Thursday is “Mystery Discount” day! After your purchases are totaled, you can pick a token from our “Mystery Discount” cup. Whatever is on your token – 10%, 25%, etc. – is taken off your bill! (This can’t be combined with the “Senior discount,” however – it’s one or the other.)
  4. You follow us on YELP, using the YELP app on your smartphone. You can receive a $2 coupon to use on any minimum purchase of $5 or more, when you “check in” to our thrift shop with the YELP app.   (This app searches for businesses in the area based on your location, and tracks and posts your activity to a social media site of your choosing, such as Facebook or Twitter.)

YELP will then send you an electronic coupon! The coupon is delivered to your smartphone immediately and can either be used on the same day, or saved for your next trip to the thrift shop. But it can’t be transferred, emailed or re-used – once it’s opened, it disappears!

YELP being YELP, you’ll also be encouraged to post a review about your shopping experience at the thrift store. We read all our reviews on YELP and take the comments very seriously. If you do take advantage of this coupon, we welcome your feedback on YELP!

With all these SPECIAL DISCOUNTS, shoppers, (not to mention our regular weekly sales), there’s NO EXCUSE not to shop at the ALI thrift store!