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!

DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas from the heart and not your wallet.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Happy Mother’s Day to our beautiful moms out there. Here are some gift ideas inspiration from the heart ❤

 

Click here for even more Mother's Day Inspiration. All photos by PINTEREST

Our newest gift idea!

iStock_000009799796MediumDid you know that the ALI thrift shop has GIFT CERTIFICATES? These come in $5 denominations and are a perfect solution for those situations where you need an affordable gift. Like these:

  1. You belong to a Bunco group where everyone has to bring a token door prize to award during the evening.
  2. Your 8th grade daughter wants to have a sleepover birthday party, and you need party favors.
  3. The kid down the street, who has been sleeping on his parents’ couch ever since he graduated from college five years ago, because he’s “writing a screenplay,” finally moves into an apartment, and you want to give him something to send him on his way. (You give his parents a bottle of champagne, however.)
  4. You’re the church youth group advisor/band mother/drill team chaperone or some other type of adult volunteer for a high-school group, and need a unisex-type gift or prize for the kids, that isn’t food.

See how easy this could be? Just visit the thrift shop and tell the cashier you want to buy some GIFT CERTIFICATES. (And while you’re at the shop, reward yourself with a little something, too!)

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!

SAVE THE DATE! Young Masters Art Show 2014

“Every child is an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

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Every year in May, Assistance League of Irvine sponsors an amazing event that allows every child to be an artist for an afternoon. Our 24th Young Masters Art Show will take place on Saturday, May 3, from 1 – 4 pm at Irvine City Hall. The FREE activities will include hands-on art projects for children, musical performances by Irvine high schools, face painting, balloon artists and – complimentary refreshments! A perfect event for the entire family!

Along with all this, almost 500 artworks created by Irvine elementary school students (one selection representing each elementary school classroom) will be on display inside City Hall during the festivities. These “Young Masters” are so talented, it’s unbelievable. You’ll be awed by the creativity of the artwork, and you’ll have a new appreciation for the work our Irvine Unified School District Art Specialist teachers are doing in the classroom. And you’ll be similarly impressed by the high school music groups – these teenagers sound like professional musicians.

But the best part of Young Masters is seeing the joy the kids have as they make their own art projects at the hands-on art stations. Here “every child is an artist,” feeling the thrill of creativity and reminding us that the arts enrich us all.

Put Young Masters on your calendar for May 3 – we hope to see you there!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW EVENT DETAILS

No Cuts Here!

It seems lately that whenever we turn on the news, we hear about aid to needy families being reduced.  Congress cuts the food stamp program; extended unemployment benefits are expiring; food pantries have to spread the same amount of food donations among an ever-increasing number of people.   But the help that ALI gives families is one area that’s NOT being cut.  In fact, the total amount we give needy families is going UP, not down.

Operation School Bell is ALI’s largest philanthropic program.  Through OSB, we give school clothing and school supplies to students in need, in the Irvine school district.  Each child receives a backpack, a set of notebooks and pencils, and a sum of money to purchase school clothing and shoes at Target in the Irvine Marketplace, our partner shopping store.

In 2012-13, we clothed 761 OSB kids.  We’re currently in the final stages of our 2013-14 program, and we’ve clothed 816 kids to date, That’s an increase of 55 students – or 7% – and these aren’t the final numbers.  And we’ve been able to do this WITHOUT  lowering the amount of money we allocate for each child.

This is largely due to our generous thrift store shoppers!  We are a completely volunteer organization with no paid staff, and ALL the money we raise from the thrift store goes to support OSB and our other programs in Irvine.

The fact that more families need to reach out to us for help in these tough times, is not a statistic to be proud of.  But we ARE proud of the fact that we’re able – thanks to our generous thrift store shoppers – to meet this growing demand.

Downton Abbey on a Shoestring

The new season of “Downton Abbey” on PBS has started.  According to USA Today, 10.2 million people watched the premiere. Media experts everywhere are pondering why Americans are so enthralled with this soap-opera saga of an aristocratic British family and their servants. 

We KNOW why everyone in Irvine is watching this show.  It’s lawn envy!

Just look at the gorgeous expanse of green lawn surrounding the manor.  Does the Earl of Grantham get an insert in his water bill every month asking him to “Replace your lawn with drought-resistant native plants?” No! Did the Earl of Grantham have to pay $300 to the sprinkler repairman to fix his sprinkler valves? No! In fact, the Earl of Grantham has never even seen a lawn sprinkler! Because at Downton Abbey, water falls miraculously from the sky! All the time!

The other reason is that we all have a fantasy of living in a place like Downton Abbey.  In spite of your zero-lot-line house with its two potted succulents on the patio, you too can create the Downton Abbey ambiance.  And you don’t need to be as rich as the Crawleys  – just visit the thrift shop, where you’ll find:

  • Silver.  We have beautiful silver trays and goblets, along with a silver butter dish and silver-trimmed bowls and coasters.
  • Crystal.  We have a Waterford bowl and a Waterford desk clock that would fit in perfectly at Downton, along with other crystal bowls and a decanter.
  • Glassware.  We have wine glasses, martini glasses, and champagne glasses.  Just what you need for that after-dinner sherry, or to help you keep a stiff upper lip in the face of life’s dramas.
  • Jewelry.  We have a fantastic selection of vintage-style costume jewelry.
  • Sweaters,  scarves, and gloves.  You can dress up in these and pretend you’re at Downton Abbey in the winter!
  • Picture frames.  We have lots of silver and gold-toned picture frames for your family portraits.
  • Needlework.  Although the times are changing at Downton, upper-class girls would still be expected to do needlework.  We have embroidery hoops, cross-stitch patterns, and a huge assortment of needlework books.
  • Stationery.  No one at Downton Abbey sends email.  They pour out their hopes and dreams in hand-written letters.  (Of course, they had cheaper postage back then.)

And if you just want to invite your friends over to watch the show, we have fondue pots, cake pans, and coffeepots to help you stay up until 10 pm.

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