Assistance League fashion show benefits children, moms and seniors


Members of the nonprofit Assistance League of Los Gatos-Saratoga spend about 18,000 hours volunteering every year, helping underserved children, families and seniors with educational programs, clothing and food. Now, league members are hoping the public will support their efforts by attending the upcoming “Passport to Fashion” show.

The fashion show is April 22 at 11 a.m. and includes lunch, a silent auction and a raffle. It will be held at the Campbell Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave. in Campbell.

The location is appropriate since the Campbell Union School District is a beneficiary of the league’s education outreach programs.

“The fashion show will primarily benefit our school programs, so that’s buying coats and shoes and paying for scholarships for science camp,” league president Susan Scharlach said. “We also buy books for our literacy program, and we read and tutor in the classrooms. Last year, we gave away 2,500 children’s books and 1,100 dictionaries.”

In addition to Campbell, the league works with students in the Moreland and Luther Burbank school districts.

“The schools have told us the most important thing we can do is read to the students, converse with them and help them with their language skills,” Scharlach said.

That’s exactly what league member Char Balanesi does regularly at Campbell’s Rosemary Elementary School.

“My assignment is tutoring kindergartners,” Balanesi said. “The teachers identify four children in their classrooms who could benefit from tutoring. We devote two hours a week to these children over the course of the school year, and it makes quite a difference. They didn’t even know how to spell their names when we started last September.”

Many of the children speak Spanish at home, Balanesi said.

“Now, they’re sounding and recognizing words,” she said. “They often surprise themselves and say, ‘Oh, I know that word.’ It’s exciting.”

League members also work with seniors and deliver 75 nutritious lunches every week to the Saratoga Adult Daycare Center.

“We also have a family program that works with the county’s public health nurses to provide new, low-income mothers with blankets, diapers, toys and even baby furniture,” Scharlach said.

The league expects to raise $20,000 from the fashion show.

“It’s a travel theme, so we’ll be focusing on cruise wear, tropical fashions and European tour fashions,” Scharlach said. “There will be active wear fashions, too, for those who might want to bicycle around a country.”

Fashions are being provided by Stuart’s Apparel by Nellie K. Inc. in Los Altos.

The raffle is designed to entice fashionistas with a wide variety of goodies, including travel certificates, gift cards and a Tiffany necklace.

“The silent auction is for parties,” Scharlach said. “People get to bid on different parties that are being offered by our members. There are bridge, garden and wood-fired pizza parties, and an ‘Around the World in 80 Bites’ party featuring appetizers paired with wine.”Read more at:celebrity dresses |