(Standing, back row l-r) Operation School Bell Vice Chairman Sue Terrill, Assistance League of Diablo Valley President Margie Basile, and Shell Refinery, Martinez Corporate Partners Billy Rivera, Valerie Bagala, Nancy Navarro, Christina Jones, Ha Nguyen, (seated l-r) Paige Marcus, and Judith Snider help local elementary schoolchildren Adam Roliz, Matthew Crowley, Isabella and Magdalena Contreras, and Jada Duncan select clothing and shoes at K Mart, Concord.
Since 1967, Assistance League® of Diablo Valley’s dedicated member volunteers have been improving lives in our community through the chapter’s eight, hands-on philanthropic programs. One of these, Operation School Bell®, now enjoying its twentieth year in the Diablo Valley, is a nationally acclaimed program that provides clothing and shoes for elementary schoolchildren. Last year alone, Operation School Bell volunteers served 4011 children. Sensitive to children’s needs, Operation School Bell has altered its venues. School site sizing, followed by chapter site bagging designated for recipient schools, and after school retail site shopping eliminate bussing costs for the involved school district and loss of valuable classroom instruction time for the students.
Since 2005, Shell Martinez Refinery employee volunteers have served as Assistance League of Diablo Valley Corporate Partners. They not only read to children in the Martinez School District's classrooms as an in house corporate commitment, but have become Operation School Bell “personal shoppers,” which most recently occurred on February 13. Immediately after school, 65 schoolchildren from Las Juntas, John Swett, and Westwood Elementary Schools joined Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Operation School Bell and Shell volunteers for a power shopping session at K Mart, in Concord.
“Innovative thinking” came to life as Assistance League of Diablo Valley President Margie Basile greeted the Shell employee volunteers, while Operation School Bell Team Leader Susan Angle updated them on the retail shopping procedure. Each child received a budget of $80 to buy school clothing, shoes, and underwear. Over the years, this winning combination that has virtually “energized children’s futures,” has resulted in improved school attendance, campus citizenship, and overall performance. One youngster politely declined adult help, held up her purchases and proclaimed, “Oh, yes, I am just a really good shopper!” When Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Operation School Bell and Shell Refinery, Martinez combine their talents and resources, kids win!
To learn more and make inquiries about Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Operation School Bell, as well as its Corporate Partners Program, please visit this website: diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.