By Ashley FILIPEK
Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
One of the ways that a small local group is trying to make their stamp on the world is through a local organization called Assisteens. They are the teenage arm of the Assistance League of Glendale, a nationwide philanthropy and service organization.
The Assisteens are based in Glendale and serve the community of Glendale and surrounding areas. The Glendale chapter currently has 70 members (all female) and a majority of the members live in La Crescenta and Glendale. Nationally, there are several chapters that have a male/female mix, but no men have shown an interest in joining the local chapter … yet.
Most of the Assisteens’ work focuses on the area of Glendale, but they are open to working with any organization that serves Glendale residents. For example, they do work at City of Hope in the City of Industry if a local child or adult is sick and being treated there. The Assisteens work to accommodate Glendale residents wherever they may be. An example is their work with the Birthday Box Project.
The Birthday Box Project is a volunteer project, part of Families Hand In Hand that empowers homeless families in Los Angeles County by giving them the resources needed to create memorable birthday parties for their children. The Birthday Box Project services families in several surrounding cities, but they are based in Glendale, so the Assisteens happily volunteer their time with the project.
The Assisteens participate in many local volunteer events, as well as programs started by the Assistance League. Some of these programs include Adopt a Family, Foothill Cleanup, and Operation School Bell.
Adopt a Family is a Christmas event that gives gifts to families that cannot afford them. Operation School Bell collects school supplies that is given to underprivileged students.
“We also have bingo nights at Windsor Manor, a retirement home in Glendale,” said Assisteens member Olivia Coffman. The group also works with City of Hope through the Desi Geestman Foundation and other programs that serve local senior citizens and homeless families.
“Assisteens is a great way to get involved in the local community and help out the citizens,” said member Kimberly Weir.
Fellow Assisteen Ariana Hartoonian added, “I love being in Assisteens because of the great volunteer experiences I have had since I joined in seventh grade along with the friendships I have formed with the other members.”
More information about the Assisteens, including their history and a list of programs they currently work with, can be found on the website www.alglendale.org/assisteens.