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News from the Education Foundation

Posted: May 13, 2013

Non Profit Partner Provides Support to Thousands of APS Students

The Assistance League® has released final statistics from two programs that directly benefit students and families in APS. The organization, which a few years ago celebrated 50 years of service to the Albuquerque area, is an all volunteer group that improves and enriches life in our community with a myriad of projects and services.

Assistance League volunteers spend many hours on projects benefiting APS students and the community in general.

Assistance League volunteers spend many hours on projects benefiting APS students and the community in general.

Operation School Bell and Kids On The Block are two programs that have had a very positive impact on students for many years.  AL became an official Join-a-School partner in 1999.   Kids On The Block (KOTB)  reinforces topics like anti-bullying and anti-graffiti through interactive puppet shows for second and third graders.  This year KOTB committee members performed for 84 classes at 24 schools.  Almost 2,000 students were reached through the combination of fun and artistry.  Letters to AL from students indicate that they enjoyed the puppets and also learned some of the lessons embedded in the shows, including not to "tee pee"  property by throwing toilet paper at the neighbors’ houses!  Counselors schedule the shows and have learned over the years to call early in order to be scheduled as the program has been praised and recommended.   The goal of four performances a month was met this year and the group hopes to gain enough volunteer commitments to continue that goal for next school year. 

Operation School Bell has provided uniform wardrobes and shoes to students for 14 years.  In a modernized and streamlined approach, vouchers for clothing from Fallas stores and shoes from Payless Shoe Source are now given to schools when requests from counselors or family liaisons are made.  OSB services the standardized-dress schools in APS and also provides support to non-uniform schools because the need is so great.  This year was particularly successful in that 4116 vouchers and shoe cards were issued.  Almost 90% of the cards were redeemed, meaning that 3700 students were able to attend school in new uniforms and shoes like their peers, not having to face the stigma of worn out or inappropriate clothing for school. 

The OSB committee members liaison with all 42 schools served and treat the school OSB contacts to a delicious breakfast each year.  Funds to support OSB are raised through grant writing, fundraising projects like the Geranium Sale, and proceeds from the successful Bargain Box Thrift Shop located at 5211 Lomas Blvd. NE. 

The group is never idle and a variety of projects support the community and schools throughout the year.  Members teamed with NM Educators Federal Credit Union last fall to put 10,000 books in the hands of APS students to improve reading skills.  An arts and crafts fair last November added funds to existing  resources to be disbursed through other community projects like the Buddy Bear Patrol (teddy bears to comfort young children during times of crisis), Assault Survivor Kits, and others.  APS continues to appreciate this most valued partner for their commitment to the community and to public education in particular.