Dater Foundation Success Stories
Operation School Bell A Ringing Success
Over 1,400 youngsters from Cincinnati's Over the Rhine area and other inner-city neighborhoods returned to school with new clothes and a new school backpack thanks to Operation School Bell, a program of the Assistance League of Greater Cincinnati with funding from the Dater Foundation.
"The need is great, and we're so appreciative of the Foundation's long-time and continued support" said volunteer Joanne Neumann, who tells two stories that vividly illustrate a youngster's life in the inner city.
"We were planning a field trip for youngsters at Washington Park School, and someone suggested that some parents might be able to provide transportation," she relates. "Guess how many parents of the 800 kids have cars? (Pause) Twenty-two. Can you believe that?"
She tells another story.
"We got buses and took about a hundred kids on a field trip to the Aquarium in Newport. I couldn't understand why some of the kids didn't want to go inside. It turns out they just wanted to look at the (Ohio) river and the boats and the barges. They live 15 city blocks from the river and they had never seen it."
Months of volunteer effort culminates each August and September when the Assistance League's Operation School Bell "store"opens to a select group of boys and girls who are handpicked by school officials. Buses bring them to the League's Bond Hill offices where the make-shift "store" is located for two hectic weeks. A League volunteer personally escorts each youngster on a shopping trip and helps them pick out two pairs of pants, two shirts, a sweatshirt, underwear, socks, a kit of hygiene supplies and a backpack filled with school supplies.
"The thank you notes we get are precious," said Mrs. Neumann.
The Assistance League is a nonprofit volunteer service organization whose dedicated members identify, develop, implement and fund ongoing philanthropic projects to improve the quality of life in the Greater Cincinnati community. The Cincinnati chapter of the National Assistance League was formed in the mid-1990s and chartered in 1998. Over 80 volunteers donate their time, energy and creativity on various projects throughout the year.
The Dater Foundation has provided grants of nearly $300,000 since 1999, including a current grant of $60,000.