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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Assistance League Of Norman Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Administer community philanthropic projects that enrich the lives of the community.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1935 students through Operation School Bell.

Programs: Provides new school clothing, shoes and grooming kits to children in need kindergarten through grade 12 in the Norman and Little Axe Oklahoma public schools. Students are referred to Operation School Bell by counselors in their respective school systems. Assistance League Norman has several other philanthropic projects. "Bears for Children" provides stuffed animals to children involved in accidents or other traumatic situations. "Care Kits" provides grooming items to women and children clients of the Women's Resource Center and housekeeping supplies and groceries as needed. "Assault Survivor Kits (ASK)" provides clothing and other dignity items to victims of rape or domestic violence. "Seniors R&R" provides entertainment and companionship to community members attending Full Circle Life Enrichment Center. Children are given a new book through the chapter's "Book of My Own" collection. Community outreach is a short-term program that meets immediate needs within the community.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am very thankful to have a community support system in place like School Bell. I have the pleasure of taking students to School Bell and the volunteers are always so thoughtful, professional and supportive to the students. The buyer does an amazing job with selecting age appropriate clothing items and the students always leave feeling grateful for the opportunity to receive clothes, hygiene items and a means to purchase shoes. The volunteers are always willing to help out in emergency situations as well, whether it is to meet at Assistance League to let students shop or to hand deliver clothing items for students to be performance ready for concerts or other school activities. Assistance League of Norman makes an impact, every day in our students and Norman community. Thank you for all you do.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a teacher in Norman, Oklahoma, I have had students benefit from Operation School Bell provided by the Assistance League of Norman since its inception, and dozens of times. The entire experience for the students is uplifting and pleasant. They love to go, and to shop with the ALN volunteer who helps them select new clothing and hygiene items that day. In addition, I joined ALN because I love their projects that serve our community so much!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Special Education Teacher and I am blessed to attend Operation School Bell a couple of times each year! I hope I can do justice to this most WONDERFUL organization because they bless so many children every single day. Let me start by expressing how much it means to these kids to have the opportunity to go to OSB. They get so EXCITED. I wish that every person who is reading this could SEE the excitement, HEAR the wonder, and FEEL the gratitude the kids have for their trip to OSB. The ride over from school is filled with talk of what they will be getting-NEW clothes! A new backpack! A coat! A book! A stuffed animal! They can hardly wait to get off the bus and meet their personal shopper. The women and men that volunteer at OSB are the BEST people around! I am not sure how they find the kindest, most caring and patient people in the WORLD, but they do! It is truly an AWESOME experience for the children and it is a happy memory that they look forward to, time and time again. The happiness starts at OSB, but it does NOT end there! The kids cannot wait to show all the new stuff that they get to wear each day. I am so very grateful that I get invited to attend School Bell, it is such a blessing! Knowing the kids backgrounds, how difficult daily life can be for many of them-then having the chance to see how a few hours can bring so much happiness that lasts for months to come...I wouldn't trade my field trips to OSB for anything. Thank you Assistance League of Norman and Operation School Bell for providing so many children with not only clothes, etc., BUT the chance to feel special and loved.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Operation School Bell is an amazing program that blesses so many students across the Norman area! The children are so very excited to be able to pick out brand new items that they truly need! The volunteers are OSB are so kind and caring! We are very grateful that our students have the opportunity to participate, some year after year!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An incredible program that assists Little Axe and Norman school students year after year!! Many of our students are in such a great need, and it’s amazing the impact the School Bell program provides!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the counselor and I am so glad that we have this program. Some of our students would not have any food on the weekends without this program. I have a student that comes in everyday to make sure she will get a food bag that week. One day she came in and I could hear her stomach growling. I asked her if she was sick or hungry. She told me she was hungry because she had been using her Friday bag as breakfast but had eaten all of it the day before so she was not able to eat until school lunch. I immediately gave her a new bag at which time she opened it and ate almost everything there. It was really heartbreaking. Of course we immediately put her on the free lunch program so that she could have lunch and breakfast during the week. A couple of days later she came in after breakfast and then again after lunch to ask me to keep part of her breakfast and lunch until after school. After about of week of this I asked her why she did not eat all of her breakfast and lunch. she explained to me that she needed to take part of it home to her younger sister so she would not be hungry. The children are not longer in the home and they both have full stomachs everyday.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Operation School Bell meets one of the most basic needs of students: clothing. However, what sets Operation School Bell apart is that while it meets the basic need, it also meets an emotional need of students: to feel like they belong. OSB is committed to giving students stylish clothes that fit. Students receive an experience that makes them feel special. They come home with clothes that look like the clothes that their peers wear, instead of the hand-me-downs or oversized clothing. Every visit we have, the students come back with a backpack full of clothes and a full heart. Thank you so much Operation School Bell!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Had an awesome time helping the Kids pick out new and lightly used cloths and shoes. I really look forward to working with my Hitachi Coworkers again. I will also be getting a group organized of my family and close friends so that I can have this much fun with them and you again in the very near future.

Photos will follow
Thanks again for all you do, and the difference you make in Norman and its surrounding areas.

David H.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love everything you guys do. It really does mean a lot. The only time I got new clothes was when I went to School Bell. I remember being so grateful! Thank you for having a smiling face and positive vibes. It means the world to kids. Even if they don't say it, I will be their voice. You make a difference. THANK YOU AGAIN.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our students are always excited to get to ride the school bus to Operation School Bell. The ladies at OSB are always so welcoming and enthusiastic when they greet the students. When the students are finished shopping they cannot wait to tell and show me all of the new clothes they have picked out. What an amazing program for our community.
Thank you Assistance League of Norman!

Curtis Boyer
School Counselor
Wilson Elementary

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Monroe Elementary called Assistance League Norman because we have a student who came to Operation School Bell already this year but has since been moved to another home and has none of his clothes. He showed up at school on Tuesday October 9th with jeans ripped in multiple places. He was very upset about it and did not want to go to class. He was thrilled when I told him I would go get him another pair of jeans from School Bell! We are most grateful!
Sarah Kirk
Monroe Elementary

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

To all,

I am a mother to 3 children ages 1 month, 22 months, and 6, and a stepmother to a 12 year old and 15 year old. Each of my school age children received the donations from your program this year and it is so appreciated. I am from Texas and have been in Oklahoma for the past 4 years, 2 of which have been here in Norman. I have never heard or seen of anything quite like Operation School Bell in my life and I think it is truly amazing! My family has had a difficult year financially and your help with school clothes, shoes, and winter jackets has made such a difference. My hopes are that whoever reads this email shares my expression of true gratitude for everyone involve

Review from Guidestar

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been in education for almost 16 years and I have never seen a program like Operation School Bell! The Assistance League of Norman sets this program up to ensure my students are comfortable, happy, and floating on cloud 9 when they leave their facility. Shopping for NEW, never worn clothes is something some kids don't get to experience except in the world of Operation School Bell. One student said it best, "Mrs. Smith, did you know I'm the first person to EVER wear this shirt?!"

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Thank you Assistance League for such an amazing program! Operation School Bell is a program my students enjoy more than any other. Your donors are appreciated and your staff is top notch!
Thank You!
Sara Smith
Counselor
Jefferson Elementary

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Operation School Bell is such a blessing to so many students of all ages in Norman Public Schools. As a school counselor in the district I have had the opportunity to see how this program benefits different age groups. Prior to this year, I witnessed the excitement and anticipation of high school students as they learned about their shopping trip, and watched them return to school after their shopping experience with smiles and more confidence.

This year, my first year as an elementary counselor in the district, I had the opportunity to take students to Operation School Bell and watch their experience first-hand. The volunteers who give their time to organize everything and to create a positive shopping experience for these children deserve much praise. I am in awe of the patience and kindness they exude and maintain throughout the entire process. Because of this, the students have such an amazing, life impacting experience.

Most of the students I took to School Bell this year, had been before. The excitement on the bus ride was filled with song, laughter, and stories of previous year's trips. Upon arrival, I was surprised by the patience my students practiced while they waited their turn. Most would take the time to color, choose their stuffed animal and book, or just visit with their friends. I was shocked at how quickly my older students claimed their stuffed animals - showing that no matter how old you get, you still need to be comforted sometimes. When students finished shopping, they would come back to the waiting area with their new backpack full of things just for them. They had huge smiles, pride in their selections, and once again, a little more confidence. While they waited for everyone, they organized their backpacks, tried on hats, showed off necklaces, and basked in knowing that this was their stuff. They felt special!

Operation School Bell is so much more than just new clothes, a book, or a stuffed animal. This program communicates to students that their community supports them, that their community thinks they are special, and that their community thinks they are deserving and that they should be confident in who they are!

Thank you Operation School Bell volunteers and donors for giving selflessly to support and better our community!

Tori Christiansen, Counselor
Washington Elementary

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had heard about Operation School Bell when I was a classroom teacher from students and faculty. Students were always excited upon their return and they always had a little more pep in their step. After taking students as their counselor, I can see first hand just how awesome this program is. Students are always greeted and made to feel welcome and they are able to take home items that they want and need. This program helps so many students and their families and can not imagine not having this available in our community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

About 60 students from the middle school I work at are services by school bell every year. We are so lucky to have a program to provide necessities to our children. The smiles and excitement each child has going to and from school bell says it all. Thank you assistance league!!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough positive things about the Assistance League of Norman! Their program, Operation School Bell, has clothed more of our students than I can count. Beyond that, they do not just provide clothes for our students, they make our students feel special and important. It would great to just send clothes to school for our students to take home, but this is so much more! They welcome our students to their facility, provide one on one assistance as students browse for clothes, and send them home with a bag full of brand new clothes that students were able to personally pick out for themselves. The sense of pride and empowerment behind the smiles on my students' faces when they leave are priceless.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We love Operation School Bell! Being a Title 1 School we have many students in need of clothing. School Bell goes about and beyond to accommodate our students. Every year we need to clothe more students than the allotted spots we are provided each year. School Bell lets us bring as many students as we need, above and beyond how many students we have spots for. The School Bell ladies are fantastic and you can tell they really enjoy helping the students shop for new clothes. Several times, if a student is unable to make it to School Bell they allow us to shop for them and bring them their clothes. The students LOVE going to School Bell. Being able to provide students with new shoes, coats and warm clothes is so important and we would not be able to do it without the support of School Bell!!!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known many students throughout the years who have been helped by the Assistance League of Norman's Operation School Bell and I have many heart-warming stories. However, my favorite was shared by a student this year.

This year, the Assistance League made the truly innovative decision to allow high school students to actually shop for their clothes at Kohl's. My students have always appreciated the opportunity to get new clothing at the Assistance League office, where Operation School Bell is housed, but they were very excited about a "real" shopping experience. Keep in mind that there is not a lot of discretionary income in these households and shopping trips are rare.

Many students came in to show me their new clothes, but one girl's story in particular, humbled me and warmed my heart. She loved her new clothes, but what she really enjoyed was the opportunity to shop with her mother. This 16 year old girl had only been clothes shopping with her mom on one other occasion and the trip to Kohl's, made possible by the generosity of the Assistance League of Norman, provided much more than needed clothing to this family.

Thank you, Assistance League of Norman!

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an elementary classroom teacher, I could always see the excitement in the students eyes when it was time for their trip to Operation School Bell and even more so when they returned! This year, I got to take 14 7th graders, as their middle school counselor. Now, I could experience the excitement first hand! As well as, the relief of their guardians knowing they would be taken care of. I had parent calls and students asking if they could go and when it would be. The kids that have been before, can't wait to go back! It is such a welcoming, comfortable, clean place for them. It's like a department store! The volunteers are so helpful to the students! Middle School can be a tough time for kids. This gives them some self confidence that is needed at this point in their lives. One less thing to worry about! Operation School Bell is an incredible program and a vital part of Norman Public Schools. Don't know what we would do without it! Thank you to OSB!

Review from Guidestar