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Celebrating 25 years of service

The Assistance League of Santa Clarita is empowered by volunteers

Posted: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Members of the Assistance League in front of their resale shop on Main Street in Newhall.

 

Chartered in 1989, the Assistance League of Santa Clarita is now helping 3,000 students in the Santa Clarita Valley as it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The “hands-on” nonprofit organization, powered by 121 volunteer members, strives to make a difference.
Current president, Gloria Regan, keeps the organization’s mission statement in mind as they celebrate.

“We develop and implement programs that make a difference in families in the community,” Regan said.
During the last 25 years, the Assistance League of Santa Clarita, part of a nationwide organization, has developed various programs to help the community.

“Nationwide, our biggest program is Operation School Bell,” she said. “We clothe kids in the school districts all throughout Santa Clarita.”

Originally, the program began by just giving shoes and socks.

“We now clothe about 3,000 children in all of Santa Clarita schools, including all the junior highs, all the elementary schools,” Regan said. “They are identified by each of the schools, and the administration in each of the schools gives us the list. It’s kind of based off the free and reduced lunch programs. That’s the criteria that the school district uses as to who is more in need.”

The funding used to purchase the clothes comes from the Assistance League’s resale store located on Main Street in Downtown Newhall.

Operated for more than 15 years, the resale store sells everything from clothes to jewelry to household décor and products.

“Our store is amazing,” Regan exclaimed. “This is our primary funding.”

The Assistance League of Santa Clarita, however, has various other programs to help raise funds.

“We have other fundraisers, too, like Sunset in the Vineyard and the 5K race we’re having this year,” said Diane Spurney, the public relations chair.

For Pat Sullivan, the resale store chairman, the community’s help is what ultimately assists their funding.
“We partner with the community,” Sullivan said. “The community shares their overflow – their donations – with us.”

The donations received help keep the resale store stocked, and then items are sold at a bargain price.

Help from the community and time volunteers give to the cause has empowered the organization.

“We are staffed by all volunteer members,” Sullivan said. “Our volunteer efforts, partnered with the community, are what get the machine going.”

Having volunteers, Regan believes, is what makes the Assistance League of Santa Clarita different from other nonprofit organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley that help families and children in need.

“We’re an all-volunteer group – that’s the biggest part,” Regan said. “There are no paid staff members.”

“There’s a culture of volunteerism,” Sullivan further explained. “We have members that are active members today that started this chapter twenty-five years ago. They were moms with small children, and they found time. They found time in their day to reach out to others in need, and they’re still a part of this. The dedication is amazing.”

That dedication helped develop seven fundraising programs: Assisteens, Operation School Bell, Board Buddies, Teddy Bear Patrol, Footsteps 5K Run/Walk and 1k Kids Fun Run, and Sunset in the Vineyard.

Footsteps 5K Run/Walk and 1K Kids Fun Run is the organization’s longest running fundraiser, which raises funds to help purchase clothing for Operation School Bell.

“It’s human nature to want to reach out and help someone in need,” Regan said. “And if you can, I think most people will do it.”

The Assistance League of Santa Clarita keeps the funding to help the Santa Clarita Valley only.

“Everything that we earn – the thrift store monies and from the fundraisers – all the money stays here in Santa Clarita,” Regan said. “It benefits only Santa Clarita families.”

The nonprofit always welcomes donations, and the resale store accepts “gently used” items.

 

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