Friday, October 4, 2013

Operation School Bell: The Assistance League of Tucson--a glowing "BrightSpot"

Twice in the past two weeks, I have been a library-volunteer reader for the Assistance League's Operation School Bell.

Before arriving at the Assistance League, and having driven past its location for years, all I knew about the AL was that they had a thrift store.  I was absolutely blown away by the existence of this fantastic community-based program.  Once I arrived at the Operation School Bell site and was ushered around past the shopping area and tables for the kids to draw, write "thank you" notes and/or participate in the reading corner, I called my husband and said "you have to come over here and take photos for my blog."

He arrived and, like me, was stunned by the generosity and retail savvy of this program.  He took other photos but these are the ones I selected and shared with the League's president before I put them on this post.

Yesterday, when I arrived and was getting settled with my books, a third-grader came to me and pulled at the hole in the center of his t-shirt and lifted up his tennis show to show a hole where his big toe was poking through it.  "This is why I am here," he mumbled.  I wanted to hug him, but I didn't, of course.  Instead, I replied, "well, today you are getting new clothes."  In addition to three shirts, a pair of jeans, a new jacket, a new backpack and a pair of shoes, each child (assisted by his/her "personal shopper") selects a new book.  I read from a couple of their selections yesterday and one little girl, after quietly listening for thirty minutes, waiting for her turn to shop, commented, "You like to read, don't you?"  "I do when I have a good listener like you," I responded. 

I truly value this experience--one that our public library supports and connected me to, and now I am sharing my experience with you.  Hug a child, read to a child, buy and book and donate it to your nearest day care center.  Or find another action that will make a positive difference in Tucson or your community.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help and the wonderful write up. Assistance League of Tucson is collecting children's books for Make a Difference Day. They can be dropped off at the Thrift Shop. Our books go to Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center for children of all ages to read and then take with them when they leave.

Anita Fonte said...

I will share the book drop info also on Facebook.