Women of the Northwest

Theresa Turner-Assistance League: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

April 28, 2024 Theresa Turner Episode 93
Theresa Turner-Assistance League: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
Women of the Northwest
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Women of the Northwest
Theresa Turner-Assistance League: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
Apr 28, 2024 Episode 93
Theresa Turner

Theresa Turner, a former opera singer shares her journey from the world of opera to becoming the general manager of Englund Marine and joining Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children in need. 

Through programs like Operation School Bell, Assistance League provides new school clothes to children from kindergarten to twelfth grade. 

They also offer a Duffel Bag program for kids entering foster care, Operation Scholarship for graduating seniors, and a School Activities Support Program for participation in school sponsored activities. 

Additionally, their Cinderella's Closet program gives girls the opportunity to choose a prom dress and accessories for school dances. 

With a dedicated group of volunteers, Assistance League is able to make a significant impact in the lives of children in their community.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

Show Notes Transcript

Theresa Turner, a former opera singer shares her journey from the world of opera to becoming the general manager of Englund Marine and joining Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children in need. 

Through programs like Operation School Bell, Assistance League provides new school clothes to children from kindergarten to twelfth grade. 

They also offer a Duffel Bag program for kids entering foster care, Operation Scholarship for graduating seniors, and a School Activities Support Program for participation in school sponsored activities. 

Additionally, their Cinderella's Closet program gives girls the opportunity to choose a prom dress and accessories for school dances. 

With a dedicated group of volunteers, Assistance League is able to make a significant impact in the lives of children in their community.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

[00:07] Jan: Are you looking for an inspiring listen, something to motivate you? You've come to the right place. Welcome to Women of the Northwest, where we have conversations with ordinary women leading extraordinary lives. Motivating, inspiring, compelling.

[00:22] Theresa: This last spring was in Fred Meyer and this young man that I helped in the fall. But he came up to me afterwards and he said, do you remember me? I said, yes. He said, I remember you. You helped me pick out all those cool clothes. And when I said I wanted a wallet, you kindly told me that that was not one of the things that I could get. He said, but then after we went through checkout, we bought the wallet and he pulled it out of his back pocket and he said, and I still have it.

[00:59] Jan: All right. Teresa Turner, nice to have you with.

[01:03] Theresa: Me today, Jan, thank you so much for asking me. I'm really looking forward to chatting with you.

[01:09] Jan: Have you been on a podcast interview before?

[01:12] Theresa: I have not.

[01:13] Jan: So this is a new experience?

[01:14] Theresa: It is.

[01:16] Jan: Well, you couldn't have picked a better one to be on, I'd say.

[01:19] Theresa: I would agree.

[01:21] Jan: I'm a little partial to it. Tell me a little bit about yourself. You're kind of involved in a few things here, but.

[01:31] Theresa: How long have you.

[01:32] Jan: Lived here in Oregon? Are you a native of this area?

[01:35] Theresa: No. I have son Bruce and I moved here from Santa Cruz in 2006, and I moved here to take a job with England marine. So I was headhunted to be their general manager. And that was the time before they were on a computer system. They were still in the old building. And so I came right about the time when they were moving into their brand new beautiful building that they built.

[02:01] Jan: So.

[02:02] Theresa: And, yeah, and before that, Santa Cruz, we lived in the LA area. And all that time I've been in the marine industry. And I guess an interesting fact would be I never intended to be in business. What I really wanted to be was an opera singer.

[02:22] Jan: Oh.

[02:22] Theresa: And so that's where I got my degree in singing. And I sang opera for about twelve years professionally. And then at some point I gave it up and went a completely different direction and ended up here in Astoria. And in the middle of that, I also did some mountain climbing up to hike. Love to climb.

[02:40] Jan: Perfect place for that.

[02:41] Theresa: Exactly.

[02:42] Jan: For all those outdoor things. So opera, have you been to the part of the opera event that's in Astoria?

[02:50] Theresa: I've been to some of their performances, yeah, I have not really gotten involved with that group. I did work with the Astoria music festival when they were on, and we hosted some of the musicians here at the house, and it was a wonderful event. Sad to see it not here anymore. I know, but, yeah, I think what bernice is doing with the opera company, with Cascadia is wonderful.

[03:12] Jan: Yeah. Yeah. And she has her interview. I have an interview with her.

[03:16] Theresa: I have heard it. Yeah, I heard it.

[03:18] Jan: Yeah.

[03:19] Theresa: Yeah.

[03:19] Jan: She's something else. Yeah. So you're here, and now you started. You just couldn't. You retired, and you needed something to get your fingers into or what. Well, besides hiking and having fun.

[03:33] Theresa: Well, the whole time that I've worked, I've always managed to continue to hike, climb, and backpack and be active in the outdoors. So I'm kind of a all in or all off girl. So when we play, we play really hard. And when I work, I work really hard. So while I was working at Ingle marine, I did all those things. And one day, after we moved into the new building, there was this meeting that kept happening in the. In the beautiful meeting room that assistance league had. And I worked late, and I would go by, what's going on in there? And so one day, I asked MJ England. I said, what's happening? She said, oh, well, this is a group called Assistance league, and you should join. And so that's. So I said, okay. I had not really done very much charitable work until then, and it seemed interesting, and. And so I joined. And then the next thing you knew, I was on their board as their secretary, and from there, it just was, the switch is on. And I got totally involved in all aspects of it.

[04:42] Jan: Yeah. Yeah.

[04:43] Theresa: For 17 years.

[04:44] Jan: 17 years. That's a long kind. That's a big commitment.

[04:47] Theresa: Yeah.

[04:47] Jan: Yeah. So you must like it. Cause you wouldn't stay with it.

[04:50] Theresa: I do. You know, I love it, and I. You know, because we do so many things that seem a little self indulgent, like our traveling and our trips and those kinds of things that are taking care of us. I really felt like it was the thing that I could do that would be giving something back and.

[05:10] Jan: Feels good, doesn't it?

[05:11] Theresa: It feels really good. And the nice thing about it is that there's a lot of behind the scenes work that can be done and that's needed, but then you get to go volunteer with the kids. So part of what assistance league does, our main focus is serving kids in the community. And so you get to go into an elementary school and interact one on one with a grade school kid, get them measured, find out what they like, what colors do they want, unicorns on their shirt? What do they want? And then you go shop and bring it back, and you get to see how excited they are, you know, getting those new clothes.

[05:55] Jan: Yeah, yeah. Is it's mainly clothes for kids. I mean, that's the main emphasis.

[06:01] Theresa: Well, there's six philanthropic programs. Okay. And our main program is Operation school Bell. And it is also national's signature program, Operation School Bell. And its primary thing is it provides new school clothes to kids k through twelve. And so for the little kids, twice a year, once in the fall, once in the spring, we go in and we measure the kids in the school, and we go back to our warehouse and we shop for those little kids, finding exactly what they like. Then we go back to the school. And the fun part is when they try everything on, and then that's what we do for the little kids, for the big kids, middle school, high school, we actually do shopping events for them. So we've worked with various retailers in the area. Right now, we're working primarily with Fred Meyer. And so we go in the kids, the school brings the students to Fred Meyer, and they get a one on one shopping experience with one of our volunteers, who really shows interest in them, helps them pick out school appropriate clothing, kind of tries to steer them away, things that might be too risque or whatever, and really just tries to get to know them and show an adult cares.

[07:20] Jan: Yeah.

[07:22] Theresa: And so that's how we take care of the older kids.

[07:25] Jan: How does Fred Meyer partner with you? Do they give you discounts or anything, or what do they.

[07:31] Theresa: They do. So we work with them in two ways. So they, on any given day that we're shopping, whatever their deal is. So, for example, if they're offering $30 off, if you spend 150, they give us that promotion. And so we just then say, okay, here's our base. If we got nothing but that we're spending, and then here is including their discount, that ups the amount that the student can buy. And so that's how we work in the store. For example, our budget, I don't know if you want to know what our budget was, but our budget, what we got to spend for the older kids this year, in the spring, they started at $165. Then, because of what Fred Meyer gave, it bumped it up to $195. And we decided if they wanted a coat, a hoodie, or a pair of shoes because they're more expensive, we added on another $50. So some of the kids got $235 to spend on school appropriate clothing, and they walked out with bags full of clothing. One of the things that we had to do during COVID because we couldn't go into the stores. We couldn't go into the schools. During COVID the way Fred Meyer worked with us was they. We offer a voucher. Oh, so it's $150 voucher that is issued to the. Given to the schools, and then they're given to the students. Then the parents take the student into Fred Meyer. They shop, they go to the customer service desk, where the customer service desk checks to make sure. Okay, is this for the child? It's not for a parent.

[09:22] Jan: Right.

[09:23] Theresa: And is it school appropriate? And then it happens on open account, and then they send us a bill for it with a discount. Yeah. So it's, you know, we have had great luck with other retailers, but Fred Meyer was the only one that would work with us on an open account basis.

[09:40] Jan: Yeah.

[09:40] Theresa: So that we could, you know, we could execute that voucher during COVID That's when that transition happened to Fred Meyers is, you know, when we had to deal with COVID Yeah, no, it's really great.

[09:55] Jan: So how do you choose the kids?

[09:57] Theresa: So it's really up to the schools. So the parameters of kind of the student needs to be on the free and reduced lunch program. And so then the counselor, together with teachers, they identify the students that they feel are the most in need, and they're responsible for making that selection. We really don't get involved in that except to say, we trust you. I mean, the counselors are the stars here, really. The counselors and the secretaries are so underappreciated because they have the hard work of trying to get the kids there, get the permission slips, get the bus scheduled, get them to the thing, and then we also provide some hygiene products for them. Oh, yeah. And socks at no charge. And also lunch. And the local subway works with us. Our fultonos works with us with a discount to provide so the kids, we know that they're getting a good meal on the day, that they.

[11:02] Jan: Wow, what a treat.

[11:03] Theresa: Yeah. So this year, I think we're gonna serve. We just finished our spring dressing, and I think we will close over 750 kids. Wow. Between the two.

[11:14] Jan: Just in the county.

[11:15] Theresa: In the county.

[11:16] Jan: In the county, yeah.

[11:17] Theresa: We do all of the schools in Clatsop county, including Warrior Academy in Warrenton, and I think there's also a special program like that at Astoria high school. And this year we added nacelle.

[11:30] Jan: Oh.

[11:30] Theresa: So we go out to jewel and napa. They participate, and then we added, nice help.

[11:35] Jan: Yeah, yeah.

[11:37] Theresa: And, yeah. And they were delighted to participate in the program.

[11:41] Jan: So you said there were six aspects. What other ones.

[11:44] Theresa: So in no particular order, and just to give you an idea, operation school bell, when it start? When we started all those many years ago, we started. We served 120 kids the first year and $65 student. Wow. That's how that program is.

[12:03] Jan: Yeah. Yeah.

[12:03] Theresa: It's amazing.

[12:05] Jan: Unbelievable.

[12:06] Theresa: So. So, yeah. So we have the duffel bag program, and it is a program that provides a duffel bag of items of clothing and items of care, like pajamas, a couple sets of clothes, shoes, a book, a teddy bear, if it's age appropriate, a book. Can I say? A book and a blanket. And to kids entering foster care, because, as you know, many times, those kids can't take anything with them when they leave their homes. So we keep duffel bags by age group at the foster care office so that when the child. They don't have to ask us, duffel bag is there, and they can give that to the child. That program also serves the juvenile department, kids in need in that department. And also at the harbor, we do provide some duffels at the harbor and some vouchers at the harbor.

[13:01] Jan: That's awesome.

[13:02] Theresa: Yep. So that's a duffel bag program.

[13:04] Jan: Yeah.

[13:04] Theresa: And then we have a school activities support program, which provides funds that schools can elect to spend on sports fees for kids who can't afford to, because if you get kids engaged in school, they'll stay in school. So sports fees and activities and gear or cultural activities, like photography club or theater or band or music or to go on a field trip. It's pretty wide open and left up to the schools of what the opportunity is. And so they make the expenditure, and then they fill out a little reimbursement form, and we send them a check for it.

[13:45] Jan: Yeah. Yeah.

[13:46] Theresa: So that's school activities program. And then there's operations scholarship, which is a fairly new program. We've only done it two years now, and it gives a scholarship to two graduating seniors of each of the six high schools. And this year, I believe, the scholarships are $1,500 to a community college or trade school.

[14:08] Jan: Okay.

[14:08] Theresa: Yep. And the students submit for the scholarships through their schools, and then the schools send the. The forms to us, and we review them, and. And then we decide which one.

[14:20] Jan: I never was aware of that one.

[14:22] Theresa: Yeah.

[14:22] Jan: Yeah.

[14:23] Theresa: And then there's Cinderella's closet, which we have almost 800 prom dresses that we store at a church locally. And for the school dances, homecoming. And there's two dances a year. The girls can come, and they can pick out dress. And so we have the. We get scheduled with the school. They bring the students and our volunteers go and they help the girls. Right now we're just serving girls. Really? Yeah, and they help the girls pick out dresses and we have some shoes that the girls can take. And all of that's donated? All, everything. And any girl can participate. It doesn't have to be. The other programs is really kids in need. We wanted to remove the stigma. So any girl can participate in that?

[15:13] Jan: Yeah.

[15:13] Theresa: And the last.

[15:14] Jan: They're expensive.

[15:15] Theresa: So they are. And they wear them once.

[15:18] Jan: And they wear once.

[15:19] Theresa: Yeah. And that's where we get a lot of our dresses that people that are aware of it, they'll donate their kids dresses back to the program, and jewelry gets donated. This year, Holly McConne gave us some beautiful jewelry that she just weren't selling or whatever to have in the program. And the girls get to keep the jewelry if they want. And then the last program is called outreach. And that program is really for emergency situations that come up. For example, it's meant to be more like a one time donation to an emergency situation. So during COVID for example, we made a donation to the food bank because they expressed that there was a need. We have provided some things to the Columbia in the folks down there. There have been some things in Warrenton that we've done for food related things. Typically, we don't do food and we don't, we can't really contribute to another nonprofit on a regular basis. So we look for emergency situations, maybe.

[16:29] Jan: A fire or something.

[16:31] Theresa: And that the fire situation, we usually tend to operation school bill. In our budget, we have a line item for emergency dressing. So outside of the normal allocation that a school will get if there's an emergency situation, we absolutely want to deal with that. And so that comes out of the emergency OSB or operation school bill budget. We also fund $300 twice a year for each school for their emergency closets. Okay, so this is. So they have spare underwear, socks, sweatpants, shirts that they keep in the school accidents. Exactly. Exactly. So that's the full range of our, of our program. It is. It's, it is impressive and it's fun and it's wonderful to be part of it. It's a huge impact.

[17:27] Jan: Yeah, it is.

[17:29] Theresa: We recently did a, an impact survey with the schools.

[17:34] Jan: Yeah.

[17:35] Theresa: That we sent out electronically to the schools to find out. You know, we think we're making an impact. But what did the teachers think? What do the administrators think? What do the counselors think? And we had 130 respondents over the schools, which was pretty turn up.

[17:51] Jan: Yeah.

[17:52] Theresa: And we asked five or six questions to see whether we were having an impact on attendance, on interaction with peers, on confidence, on academic activities. And the choices were like, significant impact, positive impact, no change. And so we got some really good information from that. All very positive. And then we got all these comments. So I'm going to show you these two pieces of these are all comments that came from teachers. And if you read them, I would need to give you Kleenex because we'll read a couple of them. For the most part, the print is pretty darn small. Let's see, let's see. It says, the amount of care and attention that each child gets from the assistance league is highly impactful. Some of these students have never even tried on or had clean, brand new clothes that were picked out specially for them. Just knowing that an adult cares about them can make a difference that lasts a lifetime. And all of these were just, there was a lot said about the interaction of the one on one with the volunteer.

[19:05] Jan: That's the same as Bienna Casa, you know, I mean, when you come in and you, you're spending time with them, work or being a smart reader or somebody that's sitting around and reading, they don't have anybody that ever reads a story just with them next to them or doing.

[19:20] Theresa: Yeah, you know, jen, we live in this little bubble.

[19:23] Jan: Yeah.

[19:23] Theresa: You know, I don't know how your bubble is, but my little bubble in my home here in Warrenton, and we travel and we do, you know, we have a bubble and all the people, most of the people we know are kind of like us. And there might be a death hardship or something like that. Hardship, but there's not that big financial that is really invisible. Right. But you know what? When you are interacting with these kids and you see the number of kids and you see, you see it. Yeah. You see how they come in. You see, you know, you see some of the little kids that come in that they've been already damaged by their situation. They're downtrodden, they're, you know, and you see it and you realize, uh oh, wait a second. My bubble is not real world. It's not the real life. It's. I'm fortunate to be in that bubble. And so that's why I really like being able to feel like I can go out there and, you know, in many ways put my fingers in and try to make some small difference. And the reward that I reap as a vent, as a volunteer, I was in Costco one day and this I closed. So I'm head of school for estuary middle school. And I was in Costco, and this little boy comes running up to me and he says, I know you. You're that woman who. Who gave me those new clothes, and I love them. And he went on, can I hug you? Right? And then he said, and I want you to meet my parents. And so he brought his parents over. It was just the coolest thing. You know, you made a difference. This last spring was in Fred Meyer, and this young man that I had helped in the fall, I saw him. I didn't, you know, we tried to have anonymity, but he came up to me afterwards and he said, do you remember me? I said, yes. He said, I remember you. You helped me pick out all those cool clothes. And when I said I wanted a wallet, you kindly told me that that was not one of the things that I could get. He said, but then after we went through checkout, you bought the wallet for me. And he pulled it out of his back pocket, and he said, and I still have it. And so you get to see, yeah, okay.

[21:53] Jan: It's not just a one and done thing.

[21:55] Theresa: It is.

[21:55] Jan: It's something that affected a heart.

[21:57] Theresa: It is one more story that I have to tell. We were at Fred Meyer this last time I was there with my friend Tami Aho, and she dresses Astoria high School. And it's very obvious we're in the store because we all wear red. And it's. It's an obvious thing. And we had finished and the children had left, and we were kind of cleaning up. And this young man, an older woman, is standing by the side, and he looked at us and he said, do you take donations? And we said, well, yeah. So he reaches in and he pulls out $20. He says, when I was in school, you closed me. And it made a huge difference to me and my grandmother who it allowed us to not have to spend money on clothing so we could spend money on food. I mean, I still have goosebumps thinking about that. Young man is going to come speak at our spring luncheon coming up in May.

[22:55] Jan: Yeah.

[22:56] Theresa: Yeah. Very powerful. Super powerful. Wow. Yeah.

[23:01] Jan: You know, it just. I think besides the helping aspect, I think it's just good for us to know as human beings how other people are living and barely making it and really how hard it is. It is, you know, it's good to know that, you know, one makes us appreciate what we have if we're not in that space.

[23:22] Theresa: Absolutely.

[23:23] Jan: Or if you came from that space, you know, I mean, I had many years where I didn't have anything, you know, not quite at that point, but just, you know, it just makes you be more cognizant, you know, and understanding.

[23:37] Theresa: Well, my parents.

[23:38] Jan: More understanding people.

[23:39] Theresa: My parents came from that background. My parents both dropped out of school because they didn't have clothing and they had to go to work, both my parents. So I'm not that far removed from the generation who had that hardship. So it's. So it's a wonderful thing.

[23:56] Jan: Tell me about how it's funded.

[23:58] Theresa: Okay, so should I tell you a little story about how it started? Okay. So, because I knew we were going to do this, I actually called up our very first president. Her name was Barbara Glick. Okay. Her husband was here in town, one of the bar pilots. They don't live here any longer. And she and a woman by the name of Peg Steinmeier. Did I get that right? They decided they were going to go to Portland, a couple of their buddies, and they were going to go to an assistance league luncheon of the Portland chapter. So they went and they came back all fired up. So we need to do this here in our community. So they got some people together, had a meeting down in seaside, and said, hey, we have this opportunity. What do you think? Or is there interest? 40 people showed up.

[24:49] Jan: Yeah.

[24:50] Theresa: Yep. So they said, okay. So she reached out to national and she said, okay, we'd like to join, become a part of assistance league. Well, they put us through the ringer. First, you become a guild. Right. And you have to sign this. Like, you have to jump through all these hoops. Right. And so they signed this thing in 2007, in June of 2007. And Barbara was the very first president. And so the first year, well, and for years we were a guilt because there were so many rules and regulations we had to jump through that. We just couldn't get there. And then there were people who didn't want us to get there. There were rogue members who said, why do we need that? We should just do our own thing. And Barbara said, no, we need to have rules and regulations and an organizational structure. We need to do this. Well, you do.

[25:50] Jan: And in the long run, you do need to do that, because without that, it could just go any which way.

[25:55] Theresa: Well, you don't know how far you're going to grow.

[25:58] Jan: Right.

[25:58] Theresa: If we didn't have that now, we couldn't be doing what we're doing. We couldn't have grown the way we grow.

[26:04] Jan: Right.

[26:04] Theresa: And it gives you instant credibility in the community as well. Right. So she stuck with it. And then in 2008, Liz Knudsen took over as our president and she took us to chapterhood and she herded all the cats and made us all. I was on the board back then and she got us in line. We had to sit through these horrendous trainings from national. They come out and they would just bore us to cheers. But we did.

[26:34] Jan: It makes 100 women look pretty good.

[26:36] Theresa: That's right. It does. It does. And so we became a chapter. And so that very first fundraiser we did was a cookbook. And I actually have the cookbook.

[26:45] Jan: Oh, really?

[26:46] Theresa: It's called eat dessert first.

[26:48] Jan: And it was the day when everybody did cookbooks.

[26:51] Theresa: That's right. And so these are all recipes from members.

[26:55] Jan: Best recipe ever.

[26:57] Theresa: So Cindy Liebell put that together, and that was our first fundraiser. Our very first grant we got was from the Oregon foundation. And then that just kind of. And then we worked off of the dues that our members have to pay, and it just grew from there. So currently our fundraisers are, we write grants. Right. We also do a direct mail campaign in the fall and we do the home and chef tour. Home and chef tour. This is going to be our 15th annual, and I'll put a little plug in for it may 18.

[27:35] Jan: Okay.

[27:36] Theresa: From eleven to three, you can get tickets on our website or from an assistance league member or from Holly McConnell or natural Nook. I think they're all selling tickets. They're $40 a ticket, six houses. And a chef, a local chef will have a little treat. It's really become this event where you run into everybody, you know, and it's just really fun.

[27:56] Jan: Yeah. So that's houses to look at.

[27:59] Theresa: That's another one of our fundraisers. And then we have done in the past the golf ball drop, which we get the bar pilots helicopter to drop golf balls off of the. Yeah, so we haven't done that for the last two years. We stopped during COVID and we just haven't picked it up yet.

[28:17] Jan: So maybe you don't need to.

[28:19] Theresa: And maybe we don't need to. So. But those are our primary ways that we fundraise. We've had accessory sales during COVID We did a pandemic porch parade where people decorated their porches. So we've done different things, but the most successful, those seem to be really working. There's some very generous people in our community, both businesses, the home and chef tour. The chefs donate the food. When we did the golf ball drop, local businesses donated the prizes. It's really pretty impressive, actually, how much people come through and businesses come through in this community, not just for us. Yeah, it's just. Yeah.

[29:04] Jan: Yeah. Cause those same people are donating to a bunch of other things they do. It's just like, it's a really good community living.

[29:11] Theresa: It is.

[29:11] Jan: It's really curing people and a lot of outside of yourself thinkers, you know?

[29:19] Theresa: But the home tour, we actually. Besides the tickets, we actually have sponsors and then we have home sponsors and event sponsors and then we sell ads in our home and chef tour booklet. Okay. And so that's a big. Again, it's the community coming together. They buy a full page by a half page in that booklet. And that's a big. That's at least half of what we make in that fundraiser.

[29:42] Jan: Yeah.

[29:43] Theresa: But as you can imagine, it takes a lot of volunteer power.

[29:48] Jan: Right. How many members are there now?

[29:50] Theresa: We have 90. Last count we were trying to get to 100. We had 99 members. And so you've got 100 women houses beat, right? Yeah, you got it. How many members do you have now?

[30:02] Jan: 174.

[30:03] Theresa: Oh, my gosh. See, you have a speed. We need to get some of those.

[30:06] Jan: Members to come over to assistance league.

[30:08] Theresa: And it's like any organization, when you have that kind of hard work to be done, you got the same 20 people that are doing a lot of work. Right. And you would probably know a lot of.

[30:21] Jan: A lot of those people.

[30:22] Theresa: And it's. But it's been that way from the beginning. If I. If I told you today, I went over to the warehouse and I took a picture of the charter members up on the wall. There were 36 charter members to begin with. And they're all names that, you know, it's Carol Van Dusen. It's Cindy Van Dusen. It's, it's. I mean, people that are. Some people that are no longer with us. It's Linda Kaiser. It's a lot of people that are still around and doing things and still involved in the organization, but it takes that dedication of people.

[30:56] Jan: Yeah.

[30:57] Theresa: Like Liz. I mean, Liz has been president twice now. Mary Davies.

[31:01] Jan: Mary Davies.

[31:01] Theresa: She's just like, like a powerhouse.

[31:04] Jan: She's ever ready. Bunny.

[31:05] Theresa: Yeah, and so, but it takes people like that. Every school needs a head of school. When, when we've got 30 kids coming to be dressed, we need 30 volunteers.

[31:17] Jan: And is it all women?

[31:19] Theresa: We have some non voting members, which we have voting and non voting that are men. We have maybe two or three. Yeah. But typically in the beginning there were some men, but I think they just wanted their money in the beginning, you know, it was all the names in town. Right. That belonged but now it's. It's pretty much. Pretty much women.

[31:40] Jan: Yeah. Where would somebody go to if they wanted to become a member? Oh, how could they find out about that?

[31:46] Theresa: Yeah. So you can go to our website, which is www.assistanceleaguecp.org, cp for columbiapacific.

[31:54] Jan: Cp.org.

[31:55] Theresa: Dot.

[31:55] Jan: Put a link in the show notes.

[31:57] Theresa: Okay. And there you can go and learn all about our programs and what we do, and you can donate, and you can go in there. There's a volunteer page where you can send a note that says you're interested, that will come to our membership chair, and she will reach out to you and, you know, tell you whatever you need to know and work to get that hook set in the lip. Get you. We meet. That's it. We meet once a month. Not every month, but most months. We meet once a month at England Marine at five, social time and 530 meeting. And then we have a spring luncheon, fall luncheon. And so somebody could dip their toe.

[32:35] Jan: In a little bit just to find out about.

[32:37] Theresa: Oh, absolutely. And when a member joins, one of our things that we do is we assign a mentor. And so when you join, you learn about all of our programs, how you can volunteer, you know, how you can get involved. We kind of run in fits and spark and starts. We're really busy in end of February, March, early April with dressings. And then we're really busy again in the fall, in September, October, missing kids. And then after that it comes Cinderella's closet. And, you know, so it's a busy. But, you know, there's so many people behind the scenes. There's. We have ladies who go shopping to stop. So we have a small warehouse that's a donated space that where we keep the grade school kid clothing. Well, there's ladies that do all that shopping. They try to shop locally, locally, wherever they can. There are some businesses like Carter's gives us tons of stuff. Yeah. And, you know, again, the generosity of whatever, so. And we have some resources with national as well.

[33:42] Jan: Yeah.

[33:42] Theresa: Being part of a national organization is our website, for example. It's part of their national site. We're a multi site off of that site. They've got a tech team to help you. I mean. Yeah. And so it's. I tell you, I'm a pretty cross a t, dot the I kind of person. And it is a well run organization. The money that we are responsible for, we are really responsible for it. We're very transparent. We have systems. We have processes. We have. I mean, we run it like a business yeah. And the board goes through this whole technology training, which I give, and they get trained on Google Drive and all the Google products, and they have role based emails. I mean, it's. We really do try to run it like a business because it is.

[34:40] Jan: And I assume on the website people could donate there as well.

[34:43] Theresa: Oh, yes. If you go to the donate page, there'll be some suggestions of what your donation might pay for, or you can donate whatever you like.

[34:51] Jan: Yeah. Okay. So, yeah, that's great.

[34:54] Theresa: Yeah, it is. I really appreciate you interviewing me so that I had the opportunity to put the word out about the great work that the organization is.

[35:06] Jan: I just think it's neat, you know, to have that opportunity to do that, too, to just spread what it is and what you. A lot of people have heard about it. Maybe they don't know all the details of how that works or that they could be involved or anything else in any way.

[35:20] Theresa: So, yeah, we really, you know, we really. We really would like more volunteers, more members to get involved so that the work.

[35:30] Jan: Many hands make light work.

[35:32] Theresa: That's right.

[35:33] Jan: That's the truth.

[35:34] Theresa: That's right. And you can do as little or as much, but it really. It really, really makes a difference.

[35:40] Jan: Yeah.

[35:41] Theresa: Yeah. So, yeah.

[35:42] Jan: Thank you, Teresa. This has really been interesting. I'm glad you agreed to do this.

[35:47] Theresa: Thank you, Jan. And I just want to put a little plug in for 100 women because one of my assistance league friends said, you've got to join 100 women. And I said, what? And I was just so happy to become part of it. It's just the easiest way possible to be with a bunch of powerful women in one room making a difference and having that feeling of not power, but that sense of community and energy. Other women. Yeah.

[36:16] Jan: The energy.

[36:18] Theresa: It is. It's awesome. And then to have it, you know, to have a say in that you can nominate a nonprofit and then you can vote, and it's just. It's just been a delight to be. To be part of that. So congratulations on running something that has turned into something so successful.

[36:35] Jan: Yeah, it truly has. I think at this point, I need to add up again, but I. We're over $118,000 that we've given.

[36:43] Theresa: That's awesome.

[36:44] Jan: So we. Yeah.

[36:45] Theresa: Good job. That made a lot of difference, and I like it across a whole bunch of different things. It's not just one thing. It's a lot of different.

[36:54] Jan: Yeah. Nonprofits that you may never, may have heard of, but you really don't know who they are. Just listen to them. I think it's amazing to be able to just say, oh, okay, that's the nuts and bolts. Okay. All right. I might think about it.

[37:07] Theresa: Yeah. I love that you keep it short and sweet.

[37:09] Jan: Yeah.

[37:09] Theresa: You know, the presentations at the luncheons or the gathering that it's so they can't just drone on and on. They're forced to give a snapshot of what they do. And you can always go to their website if they have one. So it's.

[37:22] Jan: Yeah, well, I think just having the ability from doing the videoing them as well, presentations and have them on the website, it just makes it, you know, you miss a meeting, I can still watch.

[37:34] Theresa: You can still participate.

[37:36] Jan: You're welcome.

[37:37] Theresa: You're showing me how easy it could be.

[37:39] Jan: Paving the way.

[37:40] Theresa: Exactly.

[37:42] Jan: All right. Thank you.

[37:42] Theresa: All right. Thank you. Jan.