I've been an active member of Assistance League of Norman for over 21 years. My favorite is the Operation School Bell project. This project provides brand new clothing to Norman and Little Axe Public School students in need. Each child has a personal shopper, assisting them in selecting fashionable, on trend clothing. Each student visiting the on site store receives pants, tops, socks & underwear, a winter coat, grooming kit, and a voucher for shoes at a local shoe store. The students also get to select gently used items from the other side of the store, where they often double the amount of fun clothing that they proudly carry home in a new, completely stuffed full, backpack!
The impact that this program has on these children is remarkable. They can hardly wait to show off their new clothing, and an immediate change can be perceived in their self confidence. Receiving new clothing can immediately level the playing field for these students. They are proud to come to school in their new clothes, and boosting their confidence, and providing them with new clothing often gives them the extra push to want to stay in school and succeed. Teachers, counselors, bus drivers and other school officials have told us of the impact that we make on their students. What a difference it can make to give a child some new things. What a win-win situation for all involved.
Review from Guidestar
I love volunteering for Operation School Bell! I love the thrill that a student gets when they pick out their new clothes and the smile when they model them. A counselor once told me that it is not just the clothes that make a difference but the one-on-one attention that they receive from each volunteer.
I love being a volunteer at Assistance League of Norman for Operation School Bell (OSB). Often times children come in w/ down cast eyes, won't talk much or are scared. They leave with a smile on their face and chatting away about all the new clothes they get to take home. OSB allows these children to shop with pride knowing that they are receiving brand new clothes (not just cast offs). The volunteers are so loving and welcoming to all the kids, treating them with the love and dignity they deserve.
I can't say enough about the wonderful impact OSB has on the kids in our school district who might otherwise have to go without.
It is also a humbling experience for the volunteers. It's a reminder that while we might have so much we can always do more to make someone's life better.
Today was our school's last day to attend Operation School Bell this year. Thank you for the countless hours you worked in order to help our students have a wonderful experience and be set for the winter with appropriate school clothes! The building is beautiful, the shopping carts and take-home bags are special, the volunteer shoppers are gracious and loving, the clothes are beautiful and it's all done with such a sense of dignity for the children.
I wish you could see all of the children as they walk down the school halls wearing their new clothes! They always look at me with a big smile and with pride shining from their eyes as they tell me, "I got this at School Bell!"
Suzie Price, LPC
I have worked School Bell for many years. It is little experiences like I had today that keep me coming back! Today was the first day of our spring session. I was waiting outside one of the dressing rooms while my student tried on some new clothes. The door of another dressing room opened and a charming first grade little boy said to me. "How do I look?" as he modeled what he was trying on. I replied, "You look great !" He twirled around and said with great joy and pride," I know!!" Operation School Bell allows its volunteers to witness many such moments of pure happiness.
Review from Guidestar
I joined Assistance League seven years ago as a way to make new friends after moving to Norman. I got involved with Operation School Bell immediately and continue to volunteer with this vitally important outreach. As a retired teacher, I know how important it is to arrive at school ready to learn. Having appropriate school clothing that allows you to" fit in" with your peers is a critical component of school success. Counselors who accompany students to School Bell regularly comment on how grateful the children are for their new clothing and what a boost these items give them in terms of self esteem and school performance. Working School Bell is as rewarding an experience for the volunteer as it is for the student attending. The stories we share after each session run the gamut of emotions...poignant, funny and always heartwarming.
Review from Guidestar