ALI AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS AT IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE

June brings the end of another school year and the excitement of graduation! At ALI, June is also the month when we recognize our scholarship winners. Each June we award two categories of scholarships for students planning to attend Irvine Valley College. One scholarship program is for graduating seniors who attend an Irvine Unified School District High School. The other program is for older students, mainly single parents, who are returning to IVC to further their education and earn a degree.

We’re extremely proud of our scholarship recipients! They are all incredible people who come from a variety of backgrounds and have amazing plans for the future. This June we awarded nine scholarships to graduating high school seniors, and eleven more scholarships to previous high-school winners who will be returning for their 2nd year at IVC. Our adult single-parent program presented scholarships to six new recipients and three who had received awards from us last year.

Our scholarships are funded by our thrift shop sales. So the next time you’re visiting our shop, remember that your purchases are helping these students realize their dreams.

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

Back_to_school

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!

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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YOUR THRIFT SHOP DOLLARS AT WORK!

TargetCartsAuthor Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

All you faithful thrift shoppers have been buying up a storm! We know what you’ve been doing with all those tops, pants, housewares, and toys you’ve been buying. But we thought YOU’D like to know what WE’VE been doing with the money from our thrift shop sales over the past couple of months.

We’ve been spending your dollars on our annual “Operation School Bell” philanthropy, which kicks off at the start of every school year. (You may have been at the shop during one of our OSB “Meet & Greets,” and seen families with exuberant school-age kids heading upstairs to our 2nd floor community resource center to meet with our OSB committee.) Operation School Bell provides school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District, from pre-K through 12th grade. We’ve been helping qualified IUSD students through OSB since 1990.

Every child is allocated a set amount of money to purchase school clothing, on a sliding scale from $75 to $125 depending on grade level. Families come to a “shopping event” at our partner retail store, Target North on Jamboree and Irvine Blvd., to pick out their clothing, and ALI pays Target when they check out. Target provides us with an additional 5% off every transaction for using our Target Redcard, and also extends us a tax exempt status discount.

At the introductory “Meet & Greet,” each student gets a backpack, school supplies, a set of personal care items, and an age-appropriate book to take home. Each family with school-age kids receives a dictionary, and our littlest pre-K people get to pick out a stuffed animal. We also provide parents with information on other resources for low-income families, such as vision care, dental care, the 211 resource guide, and our own scholarships for Irvine Valley College and SAT test prep for high-school students. And we give each family member a $5 gift card to our thrift shop – because everyone should have something new and fun from the thrift store for back-to-school!

NOW FOR THOSE STATISTICS – YOUR SHOPPING DOLLARS AT WORK!

We’ve clothed 662 children since August, when the year-round schools started. All the money for these 662 kids came from YOUR thrift shop purchases. Shoppers, that’s a lot of $5 tops and pants! We appreciate every one of you who supports our shop and helps us get these students ready for a successful school year.