Assistance League lends a hand to 3,234 students

February 27th, 2020

ALBA members line up to assist with Operation School Bell at the Kohl’s in League City. Front row: Betty Walcott, Sarah Foulds, Cathy Wolfe, and Kathleen Courville; back row: Karen Douglass, Betty Stoub and Madeline Nugent.

By Mary Alys Cherry and Lisa Holbrook

Few organizations in the Bay Area change more lives than the Assistance League. Its members spend countless hours seeing that children from needy families get new clothes for school so they fit right in with all the rest of their classmates.

And, while they’ve been doing this for some 20 years or more, Nov. 5, 2019, was a landmark date for the 2019-2020 Operation School Bell. On that date Assistance League members completed dressing the 3,231st student: 498 more students than were dressed during the 2018-2019 school year.

“The success of the program this year is due to the support and input of our members, community partners and volunteers, school district volunteers, financial support from local businesses and foundations, and our local Kohl’s and Target department stores,” Chairman Elizabeth Arceneaux said.
Phase 1 dressing began on Aug. 17 and ended Sept. 21. During that period, 3,031 students attended dressing events at the three local Kohl’s stores (Baybrook, League City and Pasadena) and the Galveston Island Target. They were greeted by dedicated volunteers and given a budgeted amount to use to purchase new school appropriate clothing, shoes, underwear, and a jacket. At checkout, each student was supplied with a hygiene kit and a Sesame Workshop book, Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me, she said.

Students also were able to select books donated bylocal schools and at the Baybrook Kohl’s books donated by the store. A total of 6,952 books were placed in the hands of these students.

Two Phase 2 dressing events were held at the Baybrook and League City Kohl’s stores on Oct. 5 and Nov. 7. Since then, during a Nov. 22 emergency dressing, an additional three students received clothing — a total to date of 3,234 students whose lives have been changed by Assistance League efforts.

There were many firsts this year, Vice Chairman Sarah Foulds explained:

  • Two new school districts were added — Deer Park and Texas City ISD.
  • The Texas City ISD partnership focused on dressing the large student population identified as homeless. Dressing before the Aug. 28. start of school enabled 388 students to receive new clothing and shoes. Dr. Terri Burchfield noted, “100% of these students attended the first day of school.”
  • Pre-packaged hygiene kits were purchased for a cost of $3.75 each. Each kit included a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and a comb and brush.
  • United Way of Houston Project Undercover honored Operation School Bell with a donation of socks and underwear. These items were distributed to our partner Clear Creek ISD schools located in Harris County.
  • Polo shirts were purchased for the students from Galveston ISD (739 shirts), and the Mosbacher Odyssey Academy Charter School Galveston (258 shirts) since the required shirts were not available at the local Target store.
  • Odyssey Galveston requested socks and underwear for their young elementary students. A total of 240 pairs of socks and 362 pairs of underwear were delivered to that campus.
  • Kohl’s Cash was used to purchase clothing, socks, underwear, and jackets on the wish list supplied by each school in Dickinson ISD. Sizes purchased ranged from 2T through 4XL.
  • A donation of socks was received from the GEM students at Clear Creek ISD’s Weber Elementary as a thank you to Operation School Bell.

Almost the entire budget was spent on clothing and hygiene kits. Even with $26,700 in discounts received from Target and Kohl’s on the purchase of gift cards and over $28,000 in Kohl’s Cash, the total budget has been expended with one final dressing event held Dec. 5, at the Baybrook Kohl’s store.

The dressing will be continued only on an emergency needs basis. All emergency requests must be sent to [email protected]

Movers & Shakers: Lisa Holbrook

February 1st, 2017

Name:  Lisa Holbrook

Occupation:  Texas PTA president

Hometown:  Lexington, Ky.

Current home:  Houston

Family:  Daughter Caitlin, age 27 and son, Travis, age 23

My favorite writer is:  Several who write great police procedurals

Someone I’d like to meet:  Harry S. Truman

If I could switch places with someone for just one day, I’d choose:  Susan Lucci, who played Erica Kane on All My Children.

My favorite performers are: Too many to name just one or two

I like to spend my leisure time:  Leisure time?  What’s that?  I do love a good book or a movie/television show that demonstrates the complexities of life in a compelling way

If I could travel any place, I’d go to:  Greece

My favorite meal is:  Anything Italian

As a youngster, I wanted to grow up to be:  A teacher

You’ll never catch me:  Camping in a tent except when it was for University of Kentucky basketball tickets when I was a student

The thing that bugs me the most is: People who are “know-it-alls”

My favorite movie is: Tie – It’s a Wonderful Life and Gone with the Wind

Few people know:  I have a software patent with the U.S. Attorney General’s office

Lisa Holbrook, Kim Barker to chair 2016 Lunar Rendezvous Festival

October 1st, 2015

Lisa Holbrook

Lisa Holbrook

By Mary Alys Cherry

Two of the Bay Area’s busiest volunteers just got busier. Lisa Holbrook and Kim Barker have been named co-chairmen of the 2016 Lunar Rendezvous Festival.

Announcement of their appointment by the Lunar Rendezvous Advisory Board was made as festival volunteers gathered at the Sundance Grill at Waterford Harbor for their Wrap Party, the conclusion of their 2015 festival and 50th anniversary celebration.

Both recently served as president of the Bay Area Assistance League. Both have been active in Scouting and PTA. Both have chaired galas and both have worked on various Lunar Rendezvous events. In fact, there are not many area organizations they have not been a part of.

Kim Barker is the immediate past president of Clear Lake Panhellenic and the Assistance League, and held a host of offices in both organizations leading up to the presidency. She is also chairman-elect of the Clear Creek Education Foundation

In 2010, she was chairman of both the Assistance League’s annual gala and the Interfaith Caring Ministries Festival of Trees Gala and served on Clear Creek ISD’s Facilities Needs Committee, Stadium Naming Committee and its District Education Improvement Committee. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Panhellenic’s Crawford-Zbanek Foundation, the Clear Creek Education Foundation and the Interfaith Caring Ministries Foundation and is a member of the Assistance League National Committee.

She is a past president of both the League City Intermediate PTA and the Clear Creek High PTA and was both second vice president and secretary of the Clear Creek Community Council of PTAs.
Besides her work for nearly two decades in Scouts, and serving as chairman of the National Pack Meeting Plans Task Force for Boy Scouts and as part of the team that wrote the new Cub Scout program, she has also been active in the NASA Go Texan Rodeo Fashion Show, Lighthouse Christian Ministries, Bridge Over Troubled Waters Women of Distinction, the Arts Alliance at Clear Lake, Bay Area Museum Guild, Order of the Eastern Star, Friends of Helen Hall Library and served in a variety of committee posts with the Lunar Rendezvous Festival.

Kim Barker

Kim Barker

Lisa Holbrook has been equally busy, working with many of the same organizations.

She is currently president-elect of the Texas PTA, having held dozens of PTA posts over the past 18 years, including president of the Clear Creek Community Council of PTAs and president of the Armand Bayou, Space Center Intermediate and Clear Lake High PTAs. She also currently serves as federal legislative chairman of the National PTA.

Besides holding the post of president of the Assistance League, she also served as its treasurer, vice chairman of its annual fundraising gala, Assisteens coordinator and on dozens of committees.
She is a former chairman of the Clear Creek Education Foundation, was chairman and vice chairman of its Reach for the Stars Gala and the recipient of its George B. Carlisle Award in 2012.

Besides being district director for former State Rep. John Davis for a number of years, she worked on the CCISD Bonds Referendum Committee, the Clear Creek District Education Improvement Committee, CCISD Expanding Your Horizons and the Stadium Naming Committee and was active in both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. CCISD named her Volunteer of the Year in 2008.

Other activities include serving as chairman of the Clear Lake Area Chamber Government Affairs Division, president of the Clear Lake High Band Booster Club, chairman of Clear Lake High Project Graduation and a member of the United Way Bay Area and the Interfaith Caring Ministries Advisory Boards.

Bay Area Houston Magazine