It’s back to school time. Are you ready?

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By ALI Volunteer, Marta Mahoney

I was a little stunned this past week when I realized stores are featuring “Back to School” merchandise and “Back to School” sales. (And one local retailer, who shall be nameless, is already showing Halloween items!) Since I’m still putting away my 4th of July decorations, “Back to School” wasn’t remotely on my radar.

But it’s obviously on everyone else’s radar, and that means – it’s time to hit the ALI thrift shop!

Every kid wants new clothes for school, and the thrift shop helps you stretch your back-to-school budget. You can buy an entire outfit for a fraction of what you’d spend at a department store!

“Back to School” at ALI also means it will soon be time for Operation School Bell, one of our signature philanthropies. Operation School Bell provides school clothing and supplies at the start of every school year to low-income families in Irvine public schools. Last year we clothed over 800 students in pre-K through the senior year of high school. So if you buy some of your “Back to School” clothes at the thrift shop, you’re not only helping your own family, but someone else in your community as well!

And while you’re doing your “Back to School” shopping, don’t forget our annual Book Drive, which is going on right now. We’re collecting donations of new or very gently-used books so that we can give each of our OSB students an age-appropriate book to read, along with their school supplies.   You can drop off book donations (or cash donations for this program) at the thrift shop any time that the shop is open.

And if your kids try on last year’s school wardrobe and they’ve outgrown everything – we’re always looking for donations!

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Where can you ride your bike in Irvine? Try this map.

Happy family wearing helmets on a bicycle ride at the park together

The City of Irvine provides a network of on-street and off-street bikeways to encourage the use of bicycles as a safe and convenient means of transportation for both commuting and recreational purposes. This is evident by 301 lane miles of on-street and 54 miles of off-street bikeways provided in the City today. Click here for more information on cycling Irvine. 

Bike Map

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!

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!

Tuesday, April 21st is the iheartoc Giving Day! Will you join us?

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Help us join with other nonprofits to raise $2MM for charity in 30 hours on the “iheartoc Giving Day!”   Your online credit card donation of $25 or more will help us earn bonus funds and prizes to support our community programs. Starting at 6 am on Tuesday, April 21 through noon on Wednesday, April 22, you can donate to Assistance League of Irvine.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

This event is sponsored by the Orange County Community Foundation, an organization founded 25 years ago to provide grants and support to local non-profits.

We know our blog readers support us by shopping at our Thrift Store. If you’ve thought about contributing further to our programs but weren’t sure how to go about it, this is your opportunity. All the funds we raise will go right back into our own community here in Irvine, and we’ll make the most of every dollar!

(And once the 30 hours of online giving are over, be sure to stop by our Thrift Shop to check out our new spring merchandise!)

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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!

SAVE THESE DATES FOR “I HEART OC GIVING DAY” – “THIRTY HOURS TO GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES”

 

 

Set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. That’s the start of the Orange County Community Foundation’s “Day of Giving” for 2015. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $2MM in 30 hours (6 :00 a.m. on April 21 to noon on April 22) for local non-profits who are participating in this event. Assistance League of Irvine is proud to be one of the organizations in Orange County participating in this effort. If you’re not familiar with the OCCF, this foundation has been actively working in Orange County for the past 25 years and has awarded over $257MM to local charities to help meet the needs of our county.

ALI will not only have the benefit of your donations made to us in connection with the Day of Giving – we’ll be eligible for “bonus prizes” to be awarded by the Foundation! There are 78 available cash prizes in categories from how much money you raise as a percent of total donations, to the non-profit with the most “likes,” comments, or retweets on social media. Of course we’d LOVE to win one of these prizes!

How to donate? We’ll have a link to the “Day of Giving” website on our own website, Facebook page, and this blog starting April 13. All you’ll have to do is CLICK HERE – follow and watch for updates!

Please SHARE the news about “I Heart OC Giving Day” with your friends and neighbors. This is an event that impacts all of Orange County, not just Irvine. The more people who participate and donate during this 30 hours, the more everyone benefits. Spread the word, and open your heart and your wallet on April 21.

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