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News from the Education Foundation

Posted: April 12, 2012

Operation School Bell Offers Support to APS Families

Operation School Bell started in 1999 as a Join-a-School partnership serving about 90 students. The signature program of the Assistance League of Albuquerque has expanded to serve 34 standardized-dress schools and other schools and departments. Thanks to the support of retail partners Fallas Paredes and Payless Shoes, the program has provided support for almost 5,000 students this school year alone.

Assistance League, Fallas and APS representatives enjoyed an Operation School Bell breakfast recently.

Assistance League, Fallas and APS representatives enjoyed an Operation School Bell breakfast recently.

The all-volunteer Assistance League raises the funds for OSB each year through sales at the Bargain Box, at Lomas and San Mateo, and other projects.  In the early days of the program, plastic bags full of clothing were packed and delivered by volunteers, using lots of time, energy and effort.  Operation School Bell has evolved to a voucher program, providing parents the opportunity to shop for school clothing with their students and feel a part of the process.   A large OSB committee works with schools to receive referrals for students whose families need help to purchase uniforms.  Attending school with a new uniform wardrobe, which includes three pairs of pants, three shirts, socks and shoes, enables students to fit in, feel like they are prepared for school, and focus on their education. 

The two co-chairs this year, Nancy Monfiletto and Janeanne Snow, report that 4730 vouchers have been given out and over 4019 have been redeemed.  They estimate that OSB will have served close to 5,000 of our students by the end of the school year.  Other programs, like the Title I Homeless program, and other non-uniform schools benefit as well.  Assistance League also offers a myriad of other programs and services to the community.  This year is the 50th anniversary of the Assistance League in Albuquerque.  Several events this spring have marked the occasion and it is fitting that Albuquerque Public Schools and the APS Education Foundation offer a huge thank you to the wonderful group.  Principals, counselors, students and family members have offered testimonials over the years to the importance of Operation School Bell.  The Assistance League is making plans to serve even more students next year, recognizing the need in our community, and for that APS is very grateful.