Assistance League of Santa Barbara and its auxiliaries, Las Aletas and Assisteens®, currently sponsor 14 philanthropic programs, which we continue to enhance and expand to meet the needs of our community. These programs are funded entirely through donations, grants and proceeds from our Thrift Shop located on Veronica Springs Road in Santa Barbara. For information about these programs, please contact us.
Bear H.U.G.S.: The Assistance League Bear HUGS program was established in 1988. Since that time, over 11,500 Assistance League "Huggy Bears" have been distributed for the purpose of comforting children and adults in severe trauma situations. Bears are delivered through cooperating organizations such as local hospitals and fire stations.
Family Learning Program: Since 2002, ALSB members have provided tutoring and mentoring support to participating children and their families. Approximately 25 children are served weekly, Monday through Thursday afternoons at the Family Opportunity Center. Children are helped with reading, math and homework assignments, as well as enrichment activities. This program is in association with the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.
Fostering Friends: Since 2000, Fostering Friends has served approximately 1,400 teens between the ages of 18 to 21. Fostering Friends was created to help emancipating foster teens make the transition from foster care to independent living. Assistance League volunteers partner with local agencies to provide teens with clothing for school and work. Duffle bags are provided filled with essentials for independent living. Volunteers mentor and reinforce positive choices as part of this program.
Friendship Luncheons: Since 1980, Assistance League has been hosting luncheons for seniors in the community and since that time have served over 12,400 seniors. Six times each year our senior guests are invited to the Chapter House to enjoy a nutritious meal. Gracious Assistance League hostesses, beautiful decorations, entertainment and door prizes and the opportunity to shop at our thrift shop are part of each luncheon.
Fun in the Sun: Since 1999, over 3,100 children have been clothed for summer camp. Partnering with Girls Inc., United Way and Santa Barbara Social Services Department (Kids Network) our volunteers provide appropriate new clothing for children in need who will be attending the Fun in the Sun Camp and the New Cuyama Summer Camp.
Hillside House: Since 1948, Assistance League has supported this residential home for 59 individuals with developmental disabilities or brain injuries. Assistance League volunteers have raised more than $1,400,000 for the purchase of critical supplies and equipment, as well as sharing in the expense of the physical therapy program to enhance the lives of the residents. Assistance League volunteers spend hours serving as Secret Pals, celebrating birthdays and holidays, bringing in entertainment and playing bingo.
Kids on the Block: Since 1989, over 4,500 children have participated in this program. Las Aletas Auxiliary puppeteers travel to elementary schools with performances designed to promote discussions on social issues. A variety of topics are addressed by the puppeteers as a way to educate young children in issues such as disabilities, bullying, diversity, good hygiene, etc.
Operation School Bell®: Since 1969, Assistance League volunteers have clothed more than 28,800 Santa Barbara area school children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Children who are identified by area schools are provided with clothing (uniforms for uniform schools), books, backpacks, school supplies and health kits. OSB Santa Maria has clothed more than 900 school children since 2007.
Operation Book Shelf: Since 1976, Las Aletas Auxiliary has been providing an opportunity to read for homebound individuals who would otherwise have no access. Book Shelf patrons are referred by Las Aletas members, library staff and from community referrals such as Senior Peer Counseling. Twenty thousand (20,000) volunteer hours have been spent on this project since 1976. Assistance League of Santa Barbara has given the Operation Book Shelf project $5,000 for each of the last two years. This money is dedicated to purchasing large print books, books on tape, and CD’s that are donated to the Goleta Library for use by the patrons.
Santa Barbara Smiles: Since 2005, Santa Barbara Smiles has served 1,200 children and families. Santa Barbara Smiles provides dental health education for low-income children and adults in Santa Barbara at the Eastside Family Dental Clinic. Volunteers are trained to discuss good dental hygiene and nutrition with families in two-hour sessions. Assistance League volunteers provide dental hygiene kits and educational activity booklets at the clinic and at school-based health fairs sponsored by the County Public Health Department.
Teen School Bell: Since 1999, Teen School Bell has helped clothe middle school children from La Cumbre Junior High School. In 2004, Teen School Bell was expanded to include Santa Barbara, La Colina and Goleta Valley Junior High Schools. In 2005, Teen School Bell expanded further to include the local high schools: Santa Barbara, San Marcos, and Dos Pueblos. To date, our volunteers have clothed over 900 students.
Teen School Bell Prom Boutique: Since 2006, the Prom Boutique has collected hundreds of prom fashions from members and local shops. Each spring, volunteers loan prom dresses and accessories to high school girls throughout the community. Publicity at the high schools, as well as the enthusiasm of the teens who borrow dresses, has resulted in more dresses being loaned each year. Over 500 girls have participated in this program.
The Little Cottage: Since 2000, more than 3,600 family members have been guests at this facility. The Little Cottage is a program in collaboration with the Hospitality Houses Foundation for families in need of housing while relatives are hospitalized. The Assistance League provides funds to maintain all of the six cottages as well as providing volunteer staffing on a monthly rotation.
Very Improved Performers (VIP): Since 1999, more than 1,100 students have been invited to attend VIP luncheons held at the Assistance League. Quarterly luncheons are held to honor La Cumbre and La Colina Junior High School students for Very Improved Performance in areas such as scholarship, character, respect, courtesy, attendance, sportsmanship, service to others, effort and attitude. The students are nominated by a teacher or administrator and presented with a certificate and school supplies (including scientific calculators) at the award luncheon.