OCEANSIDE — Assistance League of North Coast volunteers recently helped close to two-dozen boys from New Haven Boys School with a clothes-shopping trip to JC Penney.Boys ages 9 to 18 who attend the residential school each stocked up on about $140 in pajamas, socks, shorts, shirts and sweatshirts for spring.
“There’s a whole variety of causes why they can’t live in a normal home situation,” said Kris Stewart, president of ALNC (Assistance League of North Coast). “Some had trouble with the law, some have emotional problems.”
New Haven Boys School uses a therapeutic vocational training model to assist youth who have behavioral or mental health issues. Boys learn social skills, complete high school, and learn a trade they can pursue as a career as steps toward leading a productive life.
During the shopping trip, ALNC volunteers worked one-on-one with the boys to help them find just the right clothes. Sports team jerseys were popular choices and some boys had specific needs like a new belt.
“JC Penney gives us a very good discount,” Helen Clark, ALNC vice president of resource development, said. “We can get a good amount of clothing for them at a reasonable price.”
ALNC funds three shopping trips a year for New Haven Boys School youth. This enables the boys to get clothes that fit the season and their growing size.
“Most of the boys are there for a longer period of time,” Clark said. “The boys we help don’t have family financial support.”
Multiple shopping trips also allow the volunteers and boys to develop ongoing relationships. Stewart said a key focus of the trips is to let the boys know they are important and loved.
“Some friendship connections develop based on the shopping trip,” Stewart said. “It’s an opportunity for the boys to feel special while we help them select clothing. We want to see all children be successful. We strongly believe in helping these young men start from a successful point of view.”
For more information on ALNC, visit assistanceleaguenorthcoast.com.