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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: Assistance League Norman is transforming the lives of children and families through community programs.

Target demographics: school age children through Operation School Bell

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1841 students through Operation School Bell.

Geographic areas served: Cleveland County Oklahoma

Programs: Operation School Bell 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 clients of the Women's Resource Center and housekeeping supplies and groceries if needed. "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

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Assistance League of Norman is amazing! They go above and beyond to help clothe our students in need in Norman. We love their positive attitudes, friendliness, and smiling faces! Our students selected for School Bell love attending and always leave with big smiles. Thank you so much, Assistance League of Norman, for all that you do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The experience I had with the Assistance League of Norman Inc was one that I will never forget. The staff was very professional, courteous, and passionate about their mission. The elementary school students being served were very excited to be there and were very well mannered. One of the students I assisted was so excited to receive a thick coat to where they put it on immediately. I went to the Assistance League of Norman expecting only to give my service. I left from there inspired to do more for my community as this organization left a permanent impression on me.

Ieashia M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered for many other organizations, but nothing quite like AL. I volunteered on behalf of the Black Leadership at ONE Gas Employee resource group. I walked away with a full heart of gratitude. It was so humbling to see all the children being served during Operation School Bell smiling and excited to receive life necessities. It felt good to give of myself in a way that could influence the young life I'd just touched. This organization and the work they do will never be forgotten. Being a single mom at one point in life, I can personally relate to needing a helping hand. Keep up the great work!

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

Read more

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

1

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

1

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

1

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

1

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

1

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

1

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

2

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

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Assistance League of Norman is an incredible resource to the Norman community. The support they provide is unmatched. As a counselor in Norman, I have depended on them for assistance numerous times. It never fails that they not only fulfill our needs but they go above and beyond and with a smile on their faces! Monroe Elementary is forever grateful of the volunteers, donors and supporters of this great organization!

Review from Guidestar

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am a school counselor at one of the elementary schools that the Assistance League serves through Operation School Bell. The volunteers that serve our kids are helpful, friendly, and have a big heart for our kids. They always leave feeling loved and spoiled. The clothes that they provide are top-notch as well. We are so grateful for OSB!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Today, I was lucky enough to get to take 14 of my students to Operation School Bell. Since I am a first-year School Counselor in Norman, this was my first trip to School Bell. It brought me a great deal of joy to see my kids so happy. The ladies who took them "shopping" were so kind and encouraging. All I had to do was gather permission slips and accompany my students on the bus. It was very organized and extremely easy. For an overloaded counselor with not enough hours in the day, I am eternally grateful...that my students have new clothes, that they know their community cares, that their hardworking parents and grandparents feel supported, and that I got to witness this awesome gift. Assistance League of Norman is a top notch organization. I am blown away by this experience for my students. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of the people who continue to make this possible. Thank you for impacting the lives of 14 students today and many, many more throughout the year.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a bus driver who has been bringing children to Operation School Bell for four years. I think the ladies of Operation School Bell are super heroes. What they do for these kids is amazing. I love looking at the kids' faces when they get back on the bus! Bill

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Assistance League of Norman is changing the lives of students through Operation School Bell. Operation School Bell served 1,700 students in Norman Public Schools last year ! As Director of Guidance and Counseling for Norman Public Schools, I have the great privilege to see and hear of the student benefits through participation in this program. Each of the 1,700 students received several new clothing items such a winter coat, jeans, slacks, dresses, sweaters, sweatshirts, t-shirts, underwear, socks, personal hygiene items and a book of their choice. For each age level of students, the clothes are great, new "with-it" styles and appropriate for their ages. As the students would say,
" Super awesome !". In addition to the clothing, students receive a voucher to go to a local shoe store and select a new pair of shoes that fits !

These amazing volunteers provide a personal shopping experience for each student. A volunteer personally shops with each student and lets them select colors and styles that they like. The students try the clothes on to ensure the right fit. Some of our special needs students with physical challenges need modifications to their clothing. Assistance League members always do alterations to ensure each child has the perfect fit. This is the first experience for some students to go to a store-like setting and select brand new clothes. It is not uncommon to see tears of joy from students and sometimes the volunteers. This is a heart-felt mission for the Assistance League.

The Assistance League members lead busy lives yet they find the volunteer time to fund raise, shop, stock and be personal shoppers to students. These purposeful actions sends the message that you are important, we care and we want you to be successful. It is the hope that someday that these students will find it in their heart to volunteer and make their future communities a better place. As adults, we need to model meaningful ways to enrich the lives of others and the Assistance League of Norman is an outstanding example.

Operation School Bell is already in second month of serving students. Hundreds of students have already been to School Bell for the 2013-2014 school year. Once again the goal is 1,700 students being served. From Norman Public Schools, thank you just doesn't convey how much you are appreciated and valued. I have to state again, " Assistance League of Norman is changing the lives of students".

Sharon Heatly
Director of Guidance and Counseling
Norman Public Schools
Norman, Oklahoma

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I enjoy donating clothes to Operation School Bell because I know my donation is going to a worthy cause. I took the opportunity to visit the OBS facility and I was amazed at how well it was organized and the selection of clothes and other items available to the children. The volunteers are wonderful as well!

Stephanie84

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!"
Thank you!!
Suzie Price, LPC
School Counselor

Client Served

Rating: 5

From all of us at Madison Elementary, a big THANKS for the wonderful opportunity for our stdents to attend Opertion School Bell. It only gets better every year. This year a special thanks for the extra trip to help our students. Please extend our appreciation to ALL for the dediction and attention to make a difference in the lives of our children!
Peggy James
School Counselor
Madison Elementary

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Megan42

Board Member

Rating: 5

After teaching in Norman, OK, and seeing the impact that Operation School Bell had on many of my students, I now get to volunteer in the store. It is AMAZING...a true operation of many volunteers running the group as well, or better, than any for profit business. The smiles that we see on children make every minute worth it! I love volunteering for a group that truly makes a difference for our kids and our community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so thankful for the School Bell program. My children look forward to it every year...they actually talk about it all summer. I can tell how special they feel getting to pick out NEW clothes...This program is a blessing in my life, and I want to say thank you for being there to help our family and others.

Review from Guidestar