Assistance League® to Hand Out School Uniforms to nearly 3,500 students through its Operation School Bell® Program and to Provide Technology Grants to both St. Paul and Minneapolis Schools
(St. Paul, Minn. - Sept. 23, 2013) – Budgets are tight again this year for the Twin Cities’ neediest school districts, so they’ll be getting a helping hand from Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
About 3,500 students who attend Pre-K through 5th grade (at five schools in North Minneapolis and two in St. Paul where uniforms are required) will be receiving free school uniforms courtesy of Assistance League, a nonprofit organization of volunteers who are committed to identifying unmet needs in the community and addressing them. Each student will be outfitted with two complete school uniforms, which include two pairs of khaki pants, two short-sleeved navy shirts and one long-sleeved navy shirt. The cost for outfitting each child is $24.
The Minneapolis schools being served this year are Lucy Laney, Nellie Stone, Elizabeth Hall, Jenny Lind, and Bethune Elementaries. Students received their uniforms in late September.
The St. Paul schools being served this year are Maxfield Elementary and Riverview West Side School of Excellence. Students in St. Paul will receive their school uniforms on Oct. 1st and 2nd. This is the first year that Riverview West Side students have been included in the program, but not the first time Assistance League has been to the campus at 160 Isabel Street East in St. Paul.
“For years Assistance League had provided school uniforms for students at Roosevelt Elementary and then, when that building closed about three years ago, we started working with Maxfield Magnet School instead. Now the student body at Riverview West Side School of Excellence is moving into the building that originally housed Roosevelt and we have decided to add them as our second St. Paul School this year,” said Annette Anderson, President Elect of Assistance League.
“We’re adding Riverview West Side because the need there is so great. Of the 300 or so students enrolled in the Spanish-English immersion school this year, 96 percent of the student body is on free or reduced lunch,” said Carolyn Pierce, chair of the Operation School Bell uniform program. Over the years, numerous studies have shown kids who come to school wearing uniforms are better prepared to learn as there are fewer distractions, particularly when everyone is dressed the same.
“We are honored that the Assistance League is expanding their long-time relationship with us by providing uniforms to Riverview's students,” said Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva. "There are so many good things happening on St. Paul's West Side. Saint Paul Public Schools is proud and happy to invest in this community by reopening the beautifully refurbished Riverview Elementary.”
Also of note, again this year Ashley Furniture has donated a truck and driver to transport uniforms from Assistance League’s warehouse in Hopkins to the schools where uniform distribution is being done. And, in addition to the uniforms, Assistance League donated a washer & dryer to Riverview West Side.
In addition to the uniform distribution, the other big community project Assistance League has for the 2013/2014 school year involves a technology grant to both the Minneapolis and St. Paul School Districts. Each District will receive significant funds to put towards technology programs. The money came from the proceeds of the J.A. Wedum Foundation golf tournament and Assistance League’s general fund.
St. Paul will receive $25,000 to purchase additional computers for newly added classrooms. Minneapolis funds will be used for digital equipment at North Community High School. “On behalf of the students at North Community High School, I would like to thank Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul for its commitment to support the digital media program at the school. The grant will allow us to invest in industry standard software and equipment which will bring college level media production experience to participating students,” said Bernadeia H. Johnson, Ed.D., Superintendent of Minneapolis Schools.
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