Las Aletas Auxiliary celebrated its 50th anniversary Saturday with a Country Hoedown at the Chapter House of Assistance League of Santa Barbara in Hidden Valley. The fete included a Santa Maria-style barbecue, country line dancing (including lessons), and plenty of good cheer and camaraderie. Lots of good eatin’ was also enjoyed by Western-dressed Las Aletas members — past and present — and their partners.
A number of charter members of Las Aletas attended and were recognized by board chairwoman Harriet Phillips during her brief remarks before the dancing began. “This is such a great organization!” exclaimed many of the past and current members.
“I help with Operation School Bell,” Las Aletas member Claire Johnson said. “You know there really are people in need in this community. The children we supply with new school clothes say the sweetest things. They are so grateful to have something new to wear. They can’t believe that they don’t have to wear their brother or sister’s clothes.
“I meet the children at the store and help them pick out their new school clothing. One hard-working father had tears coming down his face when we left the store; he was so thankful.”
These are the quiet, unsung acts of kindness that are the heart of Las Aletas, which means “The Little Wings.”
The celebration was organized by Hoedown committee members Joan McGrew, Lisa Gorrell, Cindy Oliver, Martha Lannan and Lisa Jeffrey, along with the support of board officers, including Phillips, chairwoman-elect Barbara Echols, treasurer Laura Ciontea, secretary Irene Falzone, membership vice chairwoman Claire Johnson and philanthropies vice chairwoman Christie Moore.
Founded in 1964, the nonprofit organization has more than 50 members who volunteer their time and talents in the community through three philanthropic programs:
» Operation School Bell Goleta, which provides new school clothing and school supplies for students in the Goleta Union School District. More than 600 children are being served this school year.
» Kids on the Block puppet shows that entertain and educate children about bullying, safety and families going through divorce.
» Operation Bookshelf, which provides personalized reading and audio materials for patrons unable to leave their homes, and contributes annually to the Goleta Library to help purchase large-print and audio materials for patrons unable to leave their homes.
Additionally, Las Aletas members assist with Assistance League philanthropic programs, its thrift shop and other fundraisers.
Las Aletas was originally founded to encourage participation in philanthropy by daughters and daughters-in-law of members of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara, which originated 17 years earlier. The organization’s mission is to develop and implement programs to benefit children and adults in the region.
Las Aletas welcomes members from all walks of life who have an interest in volunteering at least 45 hours a year to its philanthropic programs. Click here for more information on Las Aletas Auxiliary, or click here for more information on Assistance League of Santa Barbara, or email [email protected].
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— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.