CAL was formed in the fall of 1979 by a group of sixteen concerned women from the community who were concerned about the quality of education in the community. The women also felt the need for personal growth and felt that an organization that offered programs of interest would be a positive thing. Thus, the Community Assistance League was born. A decision also was made at the time to remain independent without any national or regional affiliation so that the members would have control over fundraising projects and grants to the community of Bonner County. Membership in the organization was declared open—there were no requirements stipulated for joining the organization.
The purpose of CAL was to effect positive change in the community as well as in the membership. Efforts in the early years were directed toward the improvement of education in the community. Through a variety of fund raising efforts, CAL has been responsible for spearheading many projects in the community that we now take for granted:
The same group that started the Community Assistance League launched The Festival of Sandpoint and was responsible for the first few years of its production.
A program was initiated called Parents Learning About Schools. Meetings were held in individuals’ homes with the purpose of presenting and discussing educational issues. This group was partially responsible for putting through the first bond levy in Sandpoint in many years.
Afternoon Academy, an enrichment program for children, was started after school hours and presented classes in art, music and science, which were not available at the school.
SAT Readiness Classes were started and offered to the high school students to prepare them for SAT testing.
A Career Information Center was founded at the high school to present information to the students about opportunities for education and job availability geared particularly toward those who were not planning to go to college.
The Kaleidoscope Art Enrichment Program was launched in the Bonner County Elementary Schools out of concern that art was not available to the students. The program is now cosponsored with the Pend Oreille Arts Council. Volunteer teachers are trained to go into the schools and present specially prepared curriculum to the students. All art materials and supplies are furnished.
Scholarships are awarded through the organization each year to deserving high school seniors as well as continuing education students.
Grants are awarded on an annual basis to support special projects initiated by diverse groups in the community. Applications are then reviewed and evaluated for grant distribution each spring.
CAL’s outreach program is ongoing. The Community Assistance League has been and continues to be a positive force in Bonner County.
Since Bizarre Bazaar opened in 2006, it has generated approximately $874,700 in Grants and $312,500 in Scholarships for the community. This equals an astounding $1,187,200 that CAL has given back to the community of Bonner County just since 2006!!
I am proud to be a member of CAL and sing its praises daily...not only for what it has done for my community but for what I have received back in friendships made and a feeling of empathy for those less fortunate than myself.
Wonderful community organization. Their resale store, Bizarre Bazaar, is the source for funding local grants and scholarships. Volunteers sort, clean, iron, and price items for resale. Overhead, such as rent, store supplies and utilities and other necessary operational expenditures (ex. snow removal in winter) all other funds directly benefit the local community 100%.