Scottsdale Charros grant provides students a level playing field

A view of Operation School Bell in action at the Assistance League of Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

A view of Operation School Bell in action at the Assistance League of Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

A level playing field is a powerful thing.

Without the same opportunity to feel the same as others in a traditional American experience — getting a quality public education —- students can oftentimes feel at a disadvantage if they don’t have the basic necessities covered like the peers around them. Instilling positive self-esteem can be as simple as ensuring students have the proper clothing, shoes, toiletries and school supplies.

The Assistance League of Phoenix seeks to provide the basic needs for the children who attend Title 1 schools, which have a significant amount of low-income students making the school eligible for federal grant dollars based on student population.

The community of Scottsdale is not immune to this reality of poverty in public education.

“They do work in Scottsdale, at Scottsdale Schools,” said Rev. Phil Carlson of St. Barnabas on the Desert in a May 21 phone interview. “Assistance League of Phoenix is a good fit for the Charros because there is a synergy there. We support their work in making sure students have good clothing to go to school.”

The Scottsdale Charros last grant cycle provided the Assistance League of Phoenix a $4,000 grant to help in their efforts.

The Assistance League of Phoenix seeks to provide low-income students with basic school supplies. (Submitted photo)

The Assistance League of Phoenix seeks to provide low-income students with basic school supplies. (Submitted photo)

Rev. Carlson, who is a Scottsdale Charro, says being prepared for success is half the battle.

“All research would show that children who are clothed like other children around them feel more positive about themselves,” he explained. “Our whole mission is around education and improving education in Scottsdale Schools, so this fits right in.”

For 52 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage and honoring local educators is a step in that effort.

“Assistance League of Phoenix has a mission to improve the lives of children through philanthropic programs that fulfill basic needs, foster self-esteem and enhance quality of life,” said Assistance League of Phoenix CEO Brenda Sperduti. “Our primary focus is on children in Title I K-8th grade schools.”

The program the Charros support is Operation School Bell, the signature program of the league, according to Ms. Sperduti.

“Since 1986 we have served children who do not have adequate school clothing or the resources to obtain them,” she explained. “This program responds to the students’ need for new clothing that fits, is durable and contributes to their self-esteem so they can focus on learning while in school.”

In Scottsdale, 50 students at Hohokam Elementary School, 8451 E. Oak St, were provided with clothing packages, Ms. Sperduti said of where the Charros dollars went.

“The clothing package consists of: three polo-style shirts in their school colors, two bottoms (long pants, shorts or skirt), a new pair of shoes, six underwear, six pair of socks, a sweatshirt, belt, a hygiene kit (full-size shampoo, toothpaste, soap and toothbrush) and a grade-level book the child chooses to take home,” she said. “Because of our quantity purchasing this $240 value package costs us just $80.”

Rev. Carlson, who was the Charro sponsor on the grant application, says the work at the Assistance League of Phoenix is a benefit to the community of Scottsdale and those who attend Scottsdale Schools.

“It is right in line with helping the students of the Scottsdale Unified School District,” he said. “We do this in a number of ways; the Assistance League’s Operation School Bell is another one of those ways. We like to team with groups who have similar goals.”

To learn more about the Assistance League of Phoenix, go to or call 602-944-7636.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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