Girls-from-Dewey-with-Beverly-wearing-roses-.JPG.jpg - 1.23 MBOpera Theatre of St. Louis docent Beverly Whittington came to Assistance League of St. Louis January 22 for the year’s last fitting for new school uniforms. Whittington told children who were waiting to be fitted for clothing about the music, scenery and stories behind famous operas.  For the Dewey Elementary School kindergarteners through fourth graders, she played music from George Bizet’s famous opera Carmen—the story of a free-spirited gypsy girl who flirted with a soldier named Don José by tossing him a “cassia flower.” The children donned flowers that Carmen might have worn in her hair. They also waved scarves to mimic a toreador’s moves in the famous Toreador March (see video)---one of the most memorable themes of all time from the famous opera. Opera Theatre of St. Louis is performing Carmen this season.

Beginning in August 2019 to January 2020, Assistance League volunteers fitted children from 33 schools over 60 dressing days. Through this program called Operation School Bell®, deserving children came for fittings from the school districts of Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Jennings, Normandy and St. Louis City. In 2018-2019, Assistance League served 7,312 elementary school children through this program, providing each student 22 items, including two pairs of pants, knitted hats, gloves, two short-sleeve and one long-sleeve shirt, one fleece jacket, socks, underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste and other hygiene products and for each girl—a headband. Each student also receives a book of the child’s choice.