How We Started

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Thirty years ago, the Summer of 1979, Sandpoint residents Sydne Van Horne and Marilyn Pagano were on Sydne's beach complaining that the town had very little for women to do, and they felt a lot needed to be improved. Marilyn's husband, Bill, said put up or shut up ladies, you should do something about it. As parents of school-aged children they talked about ways to enrich the curriculum as well as provide support for programs in the community. These women along with Ginny Jensen (charter members) understood what was going on the community and what could be done about it.

It was from that conversation that Community Assistance League (CAL) was born. From the first meeting 30 years ago membership in the local non-profit organization has grown from 16 to over 200 members.

The initial CAL project was to sponsor the first ever girls' state volleyball tournament held in Sandpoint. The charter members of CAL helped launch the Festival at Sandpoint and were involved in its production for the first two years. The group brought an Afternoon Academy to area schools which offered enrichment classes in art, music and science. CAL also offered SAT readiness classes to Sandpoint High School students. CAL began the Kaleidoscope Art Enrichment Program in Bonner County schools, now cosponsored by Pend Oreille Arts Council and is currently in 3rd through 6th grades in all BC schools. In the early 1980s CAL partnered with Schweitzer Resort to bring the Special Olympics to the area.

CAL continues to provide financial and volunteer support to Bonner County through its Grants and Scholarship programs.