SSUSD receives national Assistance League award

From left to right, Governing Board President Ken Chase and Assistance League Santa Clarita President Linda Likins hold up the Sulphur Springs Union School District's Golden Bell Award during a board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2017. Christina Cox/The Signal

Sulphur Springs Union School District officials earned a National Assistance League award this year for efforts to provide needy students access to the organization’s Operation School Bell program.

Every year, the Assistance League Santa Clarita provides new clothes and shoes to students in all five Santa Clarita Valley school districts through its Operation School Bell shop at local department stores.

“Assistance League has been in this valley since 1989 and we started Operation School Bell in 1991,” Assistance League Chapter President Linda Likins said. “In the program, we currently provide school clothes and shoes for children that may not be fortunate enough to have new clothes for school, which we feel like makes them more self-confident and ready to learn.”

Recently, the Sulphur Springs district realized that some of its identified students in need may not have the means to travel to local department stores to participate in the Operation School Bell program.  To help provide students with more access to the Operation School Bell program, the district provided students with transportation to and from the department store shopping event.

“Determining that transportation was a problem for some families, the district provided buses and drivers to bring identified participants and their parents to the Old Navy store in Stevenson Ranch,” said Helen Barlow, public relations chair of the Assistance League Santa Clarita.

Sulphur Springs Union School District Governing Board members and Assistance League Santa Clarita members hold hold up the district’s Golden Bell Award during a board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2017. Christina Cox/The Signal

This gesture enabled more children to benefit from the Operation School Bell program and earned the district the National Assistance League’s Golden Bell Award.

“This last year we provided approximately 430 children in this school district with new clothes and shoes at a cost of about $43,000,” Likins said. “We appreciate the fact that you went out of your way to provide school buses so these children could get there.  We saw a really big improvement in participation because of the efforts you made.”

This marks the first time any district in the Santa Clarita Valley received the Golden Bell Award from the National Assistance League.

“The Sulphur Springs Union School District has been an active partner with Assistance League Santa Clarita and supporter of Operation School Bell,” a letter from National President Susan Dolan to the district’s Governing Board read.  “They help identify students, send home parent permission slips and vouchers and provide feedback on outcomes.  To ensure students are clothed, they stepped up and paid for bussing and drivers and no other school has done that before.”

The district will now be listed with its Golden Bell Award with other award recipients on the National Assistance League’s website.

“We’re getting this recognition but we can’t thank you enough, we’re the ones that are gaining by it,” Board President Ken Chase said to Assistance League Santa Clarita members at Wednesday’s board meeting.  “This program means a lot to the board and the district for what it gives our students.”

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