Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Local Residents Work Assistance League’s Prom Day! Serving More Than 200 Young Women

Volunteers (including local residents June Bilgore, Mary Nelson, and Alex Dionne) let us take their photo as they were getting ready to assist students select three dresses for their high school promo at Promo Day! hosted by the Assistance League’s Operation School Bell Auxiliary.


Thursday morning we stopped by the Assistance League’s Prom Day! For two days local volunteers hosted the 12th Annual Operation School Bell Prom Day! pop-up boutique where 200 LAUSD students experiencing homelessness or in foster care received a unique prom shopping experience completely free of charge.

Windsor Square resident and Operation School Bell Auxiliary Chair Kiel FitzGerald gave us a tour of the pop-up boutique outside their new building on Sunset Blvd., which featured racks of dresses, tables filled with purses, wraps and jewelry and a makeshift shoe salon.

“This is our 12th annual Prom Day! and we are thrilled to be back after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic,” said FitzGerald, who explained they decide to everything outside for COVID safety. Also an NGA member, FitzGerald added that OSB is one of the charities that NGA members support with time and donations and many members regularly volunteer at Prom Day!

“For many students, prom night is a teenage rite of passage. Unfortunately, not having the resources to purchase dresses, shoes, make up, and jewelry is a source of stress and anxiety for teens. That is why we are proud to provide everything needed to these strong and resilient students! We want them to have a magical night and remember their prom as a wonderful experience,” said League member Wendy Silver, chair of Prom Day! Students are invited to selection from all new items donated by clothing companies and supplemented with items purchased by Silver and her volunteers. 


Working with the Los Angeles Unified School District Homeless Education Office, selected students were invited to select three prom dresses, shoes, handbags, shawl wraps, and jewelry. They also received swag bags filled to the brim with cosmetics, beauty, skin, and hair products. Additionally, each foster care student received free luggage from the She Ready Foundation, founded byTiffany Haddish, to store their selections. There were even prerecorded hair and makeup “prom-inspired” tutorials by some of today’s most influential beauty gurus, demonstrating how to use the products in their swag bags to prepare for their proms.

According to the Assistance League, the students who attend Operation School Bell (“OSB”) Prom Day! come from varying backgrounds and from extremely difficult living situations that no teenager should ever have to face. Despite their circumstances, these students are defying the odds and overcoming adversity. They have been selected for the Prom Day! experience, based on their academic excellence and all of them are on track to graduate high school.


Kiel FitzGerald, Operation School Bell chair with LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Melanie Merian, Assistance League CEO and Wendy Silver, Prom Day! Chair with the staff from LAUSD Homeless Education Office


With Los Angeles County experiencing a 19% increase in the homeless youth population, the League’s Operation School Bell program is proactively responding to the crisis with services far beyond its annual Prom Day! OSB provides 6,200 homeless, foster, and impoverished children in Los Angeles Unified District grades K-5 with new school supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks, books, grooming supplies, and more. FitzGerald, who spends about 15-20 hours a week as a volunteer, told us she’s got nearly a thousand orders waiting to be filled and delivered to children.


New shoes, clothing, backpacks and school supplies are provided to thousands of school age students throughout the year.


“The students served by OSB don’t have basics like clothing, proper-fitting shoes, school supplies, or even their own toothbrush,” said Melanie Merians, Assistance League of Los Angeles CEO. “Through Operation School Bell, the League provides these students with clothing and supplies so they can get to school, focus on their academics, and stay in school. We are very proud to provide OSB Prom Day! after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

To date, Assistance League has helped 1,235 incredible students attend their high school prom.  The 12th Annual Operation School Bell Prom Day! is made possible thanks to year-round contributions from the Assistance League of Los Angeles member volunteers, staff, donors, and event sponsor McDonald’s Owner-Operators of Southern California. Volunteers and donations are always welcome. Click here for more information.



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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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