BACK TO SCHOOL – ALREADY????

At the supermarket this morning I saw a whole display of notebooks, pens, and rulers with a sign, “Back to School Supplies!” And it’s only the beginning of August. Don’t these poor kids get any summer breaks any more? Even if you like the year-round school idea, it sure doesn’t seem like they got much of a summer vacation.

ALI has actually been in “Back to School” mode for several weeks now. Operation School Bell, our largest program, starts up when the schools open in September. OSB provides school clothing and school supplies to income-qualified students in the Irvine Unified School District. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on behind the scenes. We make up a packet of instructions and applications for each school in the district. We schedule dates for “Meet and Greets” with families, and for shopping days at Target. Then we have a whole team of people, including teenagers from our Assisteens auxiliary, who purchase backpacks and school supplies, and assemble hygiene kits for each child (plastic bags with shampoo and other personal care items). We also start our BOOK DRIVE, asking for donations of books from the IUSD grade-level reading lists, so that each child can pick out a book to take home. When the families arrive at our Community Outreach Center (upstairs from the thrift shop) for the first “Meet and Greet,” we’ll have everything ready for them!

If you’d like to contribute to OSB, you can write a check to ALI and either drop it off at the thrift shop, or mail it to us at 2452 Alton, Irvine, CA 92606. Include a note that it is for Operation School Bell. To donate a book, you can drop off new, age-appropriate books at the thrift shop as well. Thrift shop hours are 10 am – 3 pm Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or 10 am to 5:30 pm on Friday.

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?

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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!

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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