16 Spring recipes that will leave you chirping for more!

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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!

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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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!

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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