This month’s mission outreach will be to support the Hemacinto Assistance League Operation School Bell. The purpose of Operation School Bell is to provide clothing for needy students with comfortable, well-fitting clothes for school.. On March 8th 2014, the Press-Enterprise featured an article (quoted below) about the Hemacinto Assistance League Operation School Bell in the Community Foundation Spotlight section.
“Assistance League chapters across the country invest in the well-being and success of local school children by helping to ensure that they have well-fitting, comfortable, new clothes to wear to class through their Operation School Bell Program. In the Hemet and San Jacinto School Districts, children depend on the Hemacinto chapter, which is the only organization in the area which works to meet this need. “The year our chapter was formed, 1976, we only clothed 33 children. Every year the program has continued to grow,” says Nancy Urtado, grants chairman. “In 2011 we served 1,370 children.
Disadvantaged elementary school children are referred to Operation School Bell through school personnel. The children are then taken to Walmart accompanied by their parents and given a gift card to spend on shoes and school appropriate clothing. Many of the volunteers in Assistance League are former educators, including former principal Mary Lucas, vice-chair of the grants committee. Lucas says, “We believe the assistance provided to these children helps them to more easily assimilate into the academic environment and therefore results in the probability of them attending and finishing school.”Nancy Urtado, grants chairman. “In 2011 we served 1,370 children.
Assistance League volunteers feel confident that the effects of this program are far-reaching. Lucas notes that a teller at Bank of Hemet approached a long-time volunteer to thank her for assisting with getting her clothing as a child. The committee for Operation School Bell also reaches out to the health technicians at each school to review the impact the program has and are consistently told that the difference in children when they have new clothing is obvious and positive.”