By Debbie Dole | Assistance League Santa Clarita
School is back in session and that can only mean one thing for Assistance League Santa Clarita. It is time to distribute new school clothes and shoes to the students of Santa Clarita Valley through our signature program, Operation School Bell.
This shopping event will begin Sept. 15 and run three times a week through Nov. 10 at Old Navy. This year, we anticipate serving 2,900 elementary through high school students as well as to students who have aged out of the foster care program.
Operation School Bell began in 1991 with shoe fittings at Wiley Canyon Elementary School. In the beginning, we brought shoes and socks in plastic bins for the children to try on and take home that day. Little by little, the program expanded and now has grown from plastic bins of shoes and socks for one school to providing new school clothes for students in need in all the public schools in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Our members ask teachers and administrators to identify students in need. These students are then invited to a shopping event at Old Navy where our member-volunteers help them select new school clothes. The event is financed by Assistance League Santa Clarita, primarily through the revenue made at the Resale Shop (located at 24364 Main St., Newhall) and from donations from businesses and members of the community.
Assistance League volunteers believe strongly that children perform better in school when they have a positive self-image. For most school-age students, being able to dress like everyone else is an important component of that self-image. Since 1991, Assistance League Santa Clarita has served more than 29,000 students in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Operation School Bell event is one that benefits not only the recipients of new clothes. As Assistance League Santa Clarita President Linda Likins says, “Being thanked in smiles by a student receiving his or her first new set of school clothes is priceless!”
For more information about Operation School Bell and Assistance League Santa Clarita, visit www.assistanceleaguesantaclarita.org.