With the annual Operation School Bell Program in full swing, now is a good a time as any to consider the Assistance League of Omaha as you plan for your year-end gifting.
This year, Operation School Bell will assist about 3,400 children. Participating children are chosen based on need by their school nurse to receive a voucher to purchase school clothes, a winter coat, along with a gift card to purchase shoes at Payless. Each participating school will select a certain number of children. The premise is that children who feel comfortable are more likely to perform well in school, and children who are dressed warmly are better able to attend during the cold fall and winter months. The children receive vouchers of varying amounts based on age, and thereby cost per item of clothing. Volunteers with price scanners and calculators are on hand at JC Penney at the Westroads to assist families in selecting items that meet their voucher amounts. The volunteers and store staff clearly enjoy assisting and demonstrate much kindness to the children. The smiles on the children’s faces make it a wonderful experience for all involved.
Other programs offered through the Assistance League to assist students include ACT/SAT Test reviews which are offered for a small fee to high school students. The reviews are offered five times a year. A limited number of waivers are available. Forms can be obtained from the students guidance counselor. The ACT/SAT reivew program began in 1981 and since then has helped nearly 10,000 pre-college students prepare for the exams.
There is also a program specifically for teenage students with children. The Assistance League partners with the Teen Parent program through Omaha Public Schools, offering incentives for completion of high school. Students receive awards for completing educational goals and an annual reception is held for graduates. A scholarship fund is also available to assist those planning to continue their education.
The Assistance League is also a great help in times of crisis. The crisis programs operated include Operation Bear Hug, which provides teddy bears to child victims of trauma; Operation Recovery which has furnished household items, hygiene products, clothing vouchers, and holiday refreshments to residents Santa Monica home for women in recovery since 1979; and the Assault Survivor Kits program which helps victims of all ages by providing a sweat suit and personal care items when clothing is held for evidence by law enforcement officers. The program has provided over 6200 kits since 1994.
A portion of the Assistance League program funds come from operating a thrift store called Yesterday’s Best. Donations of items to sell, monetary donations, attendance at fundraisers, and volunteers are always welcome. For more information, or too find out how you can assist the Assistance League, visit their web site or find them on Facebook.