drone photo125 Assistance League members gathered at their Ellisville headquarters on a glorious autumn afternoon for a ribbon-cutting at their new garage storage addition. With a drone hovering overhead photographing the event, members in bright yellow hard hats cheered President Pam Bogosian and Past-President Yolanda Perez-Cunning-ham, as they cut the ribbon.

Ribbon CuttingThe excitement for this long-awaited storage addition continued inside headquarters with flutes of bubbly and appetizers created from recipes in the members' own Fare to Remember cookbook. The cookbook was composed by members as a fundraiser in the chapter's early days, and the recipes continue to inspire newer members.

View the article in TOWN & style.

Pictured on the cover: President Pam Bogosian (center) with students and staff from Adams Elementary.

TS COVER MOCKUP Pam 

BFF UrbanLeagueExpo croppedAssistance League of St. Louis volunteers marched in a parade dressed as children's favorite book characters to welcome aspiring readers to the annual Urban League's Expo Back-to-School event. Held at America's Center on Saturday August 6, the community event drew over 27,000 visitors and was held inside the spacious dome for the first time since 2019.

ALSTL Books From Friends costumed volunteers gave over 5,000 books to Pre-K through 5th grade children at the Expo. Each child received two age-appropriate books for their own home library. In addition, St. Louis children's author Micheal Anderson, special friend of ALSTL, signed and presented 393 copies of her Zoey Lyndon books to eager young readers.

Micheal Anderson

Books from Friends is the literacy program of Assistance League of St. Louis, and last year provided 26,675 books to schools and readers of all ages, positively impacting literacy throughout our community.

Women Who Care Check

Recently, the Assistance League of St. Louis was honored to receive a $4,750 check from local organization, 100 Women Who Care. Assistance League will use this money to help fund its philanthropic programs which benefit children and adults. Shown accepting the check are Assistance League members Polly Rutherford (far left) and Past President Yolanda Perez-Cunningham (second from left) along with Women Who Care members Julie Herrmann and Lisa Rosenstock (on the right).

AL Pam Bogosian 4826r 4x5Assistance League of St. Louis has named Pam Bogosian president of the 500-member organization for 2022-2023. Pam retired in 2012 after a 32-year career teaching 4th and 5th grades, including 25 years at Barretts Elementary in the Parkway School District.

After retiring in 2012, Pam joined Assistance League of St. Louis and quickly took on leadership roles as chair of Operation School Bell, the signature school uniform program required for all Assistance League chapters. Pam also chaired STEPS, the St. Louis chapter's athletic shoes program for school children. Pam moved on to serve three years on the Board of Directors, as Vice President of Philanthropic Programs.

In 2020, Pam received the St. Louis Chapter Award to acknowledge her tireless commitment and dedication to the St. Louis chapter. From serving as a school liaison for eight years, to volunteering in sales at Fantastic Finds for nine years, Pam has worn many hats over the past ten years in addition to her leadership roles. Perhaps she is best known and loved by elementary school children in her Pete the Cat costume, marching energetically in Books from Friends character parades.

When asked what inspires her, Pam immediately said, "educating someone, seeing the light bulb go on when they understand and learn." "Assistance League volunteers want to make a difference, to improve our community," Pam says. As a leader and a teacher, Pam's dedication helps make that difference. And her genuine, contagious laughter makes an instant connection with everyone she meets, both children and adults. Pam believes in the wisdom of having fun and says that," Assistance League of St. Louis is unique because we have fun together while helping others and that camaraderie creates lasting friendships."

Volunteers from Assistance League of St. Louis (ALSTL) and St. Louis Children's Author Micheal Anderson Surprise Students!

On Friday, March 4th volunteers from ALSTL's literacy program Books from Friends and St. Louis children's author, Micheal Anderson met at Mullanphy-Botanical Garden ILC, 4221Shaw Ave., St. Louis 63110.

MichealAndersonActionWeek

National Assistance League's annual Action Week focuses on children's literacy and this year, the St. Louis chapter's celebration proudly included children's author, Micheal Anderson. Picture: Micheal in selfie with students at Mullanphy.

475 preschool through 5th grade students from Mullanphy Botanical-Garden ILC were entertained by a parade of costumed ALSTL volunteers dressed as book characters, who brought the books alive. Costumed volunteers, including Pete the Cat, Thing One, Thing Two, Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Cat in the Hat and a charming unicorn assisted 1st through 5th grade students to select two new books to take home.

How do volunteers meet the challenge of providing fitted, new clothing when schools are closed?

Claudia Dooley, Assistance League of St. Louis member and Co-Chair of Operation School Bell® (OSB), reminisced about past years in which OSB volunteers took pride in being able to directly interact with the school children who visited our headquarters for uniform fittings and fun activities. Besides everyone being in high spirits, the team could take accurate measurements so that each child had fitted clothes that looked good. But that was the past, so the team leadership, also co-chaired by Kris Lewis, reviewed current processes, took what would work, dropped what didn’t and adapted so that they could continue fulfilling those objectives.
OSBSmiling Ladies 20220217
The OSB team developed a process which included forms sent to school personnel; these were then passed along to parents who were responsible for measurements and noting any special needs. Schools would return the forms in batches via email. The forms were reviewed, fulfilled, bagged and delivered by ALSTL volunteer liaisons to the school for distribution.

If you’ve ever measured someone for a sewing project or tailoring, you’ll appreciate the challenge that the OSB volunteers had when interpreting the responses. Claudia smiled and stated that the team was fortunate to have a number of ladies who “were really good fitters” and able to work out the appropriate sizes. Their success was realized when it was noted that very few of the packages were returned requesting a different size. The fitters hit the mark the majority of the time, even without being able to physically measure the children themselves.

HOW do volunteers provide children with shoes, when schools are closed & learning is virtual?

IMG 1191 3 kids croppedMindy Hellmich, Assistance League of St. Louis member and Co-Chair of Steps to Success explains HOW: “You think outside the box. You think WAY outside the box!” The all-volunteer Steps to Success (Steps) team has adapted and refined sizing, fitting and delivering children's athletic shoes and socks since COVID began. They continue to streamline the system to provide shoes to children in St. Louis City and St. Louis County Schools. The program's other Co-Chair is Beth Yeck.

The Steps team focused on 25 schools in St. Louis City in the Winter-Spring 2020 session, using a voucher system. An Assistance League liaison provided each school with an envelope of vouchers for shoes and instructions in English and Spanish to be redeemed within 8 weeks at the Maplewood Shoe Carnival Store. The returns and redemption rate were disappointingly low.

Results of a follow-up survey to parents revealed two issues: finding transportation and scheduling a fitting before the deadline. Undaunted, volunteers devised a new form for Spring 2021 to more accurately reflect the necessary requirements (child’s name, sizes/style). Parents' responses and vouchers were then given to our Shoe Carnival contact, Katie Junge, who filled the orders at the Maplewood location. ALSTL volunteer liaisons delivered over 1,900 athletic shoes and 3,300 pairs of socks safely to the schools.

Scout Creates Rainwater Garden, Goes for the “Gold!”

Gold Award raingarden photo2Troops in District 12 Neighborhood 2 of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, have provided over 6,600 books for Assistance League of St. Louis’ (ALSL) Books from Friends program, which brings books to nearly 14,000 deserving children annually.

The scouts also recently made tie blankets and scarves for ALSL's Project ROSE (Raise Our Self Esteem) program, which provides a range of items to women and children in shelters.

Gold Award raingarden photo7Scout Lauren King (pictured above), an Ambassador Girl Scout at Marquette High School, headed up another project with ALSL as she worked to earn her Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors can earn. Projects need to identify a community issue, create a lasting impact and ensure sustainability. King developed a Rainwater Garden project that met those requirements under the guidance of Bev Pettit, Landscape Chairman at ALSL's headquarters.

King assembled a team of volunteers from Marquette’s National Honor Society, her family and other Girl Scouts to create a rainwater garden. Two days were spent digging out the wet area and contouring it into a basin with a berm around it. The volunteers created paths, filled them with crushed rock and outlined them with sweet gum limbs from a tree that had been taken down on the property. “These paths not only add an artistic flair to the area, but provide easier access into the garden for both our maintenance volunteers and the children who investigate the area on their tours,” Pettit said.

PATHFINDERS1A group of five women and men, who are employees of neighboring Pathfinder Church in Ellisville, recently volunteered several hours of their time to haul and place rocks around the Assistance League Headquarters building to freshen up the landscaping. And what a great job they did! This was something that our landscaping committee could not have accomplished themselves and would have had to hire to get done.

How did this happen? When Pathfinder’s overseas mission work was cancelled due to COVID, they decided to help out in their local community instead. Being our close neighbor, the church knew of Assistance League and asked how they could help.

PATHFINDERS2After the landscaping project, they were given a tour of the Headquarters building and a more thorough explanation of our programs. They were so impressed that they offered to do more! They intend to donate items to Fantastic Finds Resale Shop in the future, and their facilities director even volunteered to help with some of our electrical needs.

Thank you, employees of Pathfinder Church! Your assistance is greatly appreciated.