She had risen at 5 a.m. to drive to Bakersfield from Orange, California. The day was spent in leadership sessions training new members of the Assistance League just beginning their charter. She drove back to Orange arriving at 6 p.m. At 6:30 she was supposed to attend an Assistance League party for abused children.
She almost didn't go but a new member wanted to attend with her so she made the effort to be there. She was greeted at the door by an exuberant little boy who grabbed her and exclaimed, "Where were you? I was afraid you weren't coming!" Mary Silzel, the National Assistance League vice president, public relations, was glad she was there for the five-year-old so emotionally scarred that he was "unplaceable" through the foster care system. Through Silzel's previous visits, the little boy knew that he had one friend that cared about him.Stories like this are repeated throughout the United States wherever the Assistance League is organized. April 11-13, Salt Lake City was host to the Region VI Council Meeting and dedicated their new chapter house at 2060 E. 33rd South.
Colleen Bangerter greeted the visiting members of the Assistance League and told them, "The value of voluntarism is becoming aware of not only the homeless but those who have been forgotten. In a time of budget deficits and dwindling local resources, government simply can't do all that is required."
Salt Lake City's Assistance League was founded in 1973 and has enriched the community through its many programs. Operation School Bell provides needy children with
new clothing: underwear, socks, shirts, jeans and coats. Over 700 children are assisted each year.
Other projects are monthly blood pressure clinics; the Book Bank, which distributes books to stimulate interest in reading; and a thrift shop at 21st East and 33rd South.
Mary Silzel noted that any kind of service given must leave the recipient with a sense of dignity. "Many of the women we've helped are well educated but through a series of life's happenstances have found themselves in difficult situations. As mothers, many of us are aware of the struggles of those who raise children on poverty levels."
The chairman of the Region VI Council Steering Committee, Judith A. Harriman, is a charter member of the Las Vegas Assistance League. "What I find unique about the league is that we find out the needs of the community and adopt programs to meet those needs," she said.
"We want to know the people who come into the League. Not everyone wants to give 100-150 hours a year. We work very, very hard we have fun, but this is more than just a social organization," Harriman explained.
While Gov. Bangerter named the week of April 11 "Assistance League Week" the other 51 weeks are full of activities in keeping with their charge, "To act as a friend at all times to men, women and children in need of care, guidance and assistance, spiritually, materially and physically."