5 Questions With Rose Hanley, Founder Of The Little Bit Foundation

By Rachel Brandt
In Culture
Rose Hanley. Courtesy of The Little Bit Foundation.

Rose Hanley. Courtesy of The Little Bit Foundation.

In 2001, Rose Hanley and a friend created The Little Bit Foundation to service the needs of at-risk youth living on the poverty line. What started as a request for help from one in-need teacher grew into an organization that has now helped more than 28,000 disadvantaged children receive everything from hygiene kits and clothing to behavioral health programs. We caught up with Hanley, and asked her to fill us in on her impressive organization.

ALIVE: Tell us about your journey with The Little Bit Foundation.

Rose Hanley: The Little Bit Foundation (Little Bit) was born in 2001 out of a small request from an inner-city teacher and is now serving 5,000 elementary and middle school students in 17 St. Louis area schools. We are committed to helping disadvantaged school children by creating a positive impact for personal growth, increasing self-esteem and encouraging a more focused and active learning environment. We do this by building strong relationships and partnering closely with St. Louis schools.

ALIVE: We’ve heard you speak about Little Bit providing “wraparound services” for schools. What does that mean and what schools are eligible?

RH: Entering the 2013-14 school year, we had a vision of delivering a comprehensive package of programs to every school, we call them wraparound services. One of my staff says it sounds like a hug … precisely. It’s not just about filling the gaps; it’s about realizing that a child doesn’t come in parts but as a whole human being with physical, mental and emotional needs. By meeting the needs of the whole child – clothing, coats, shoes, food, books, health and hygiene – we greatly improve our impact on their readiness to learn and streamline services for school administrators.

ALIVE: If someone wanted to volunteer or donate to Little Bit, how should they go about that? What are your major needs?

RH: Right now we are in need of socks, underwear and school supplies. St. Louisans who are interested in learning more can visit the website or call 314.669.0040.

ALIVE: This Friday, Aug. 15, Little Bit is holding an event called Big Fun Event. Tell us about Big Fun. What will be going on?

RH: This is our 7th annual Big Fun Event! We are hoping to have over 200 people attend and raise $20,000. Big Fun is really a great event; it’s lots of fun with an open bar, light appetizers, music, a raffle and great people getting together for a wonderful cause.

ALIVE: What have you loved most about past Big Fun Events?

RH: The energy of the people attending. The people who have come to this event are ready to have a good time, but also want to help the children of St. Louis.

ALIVE: Other than the Little Bit Foundation of course, what are a couple of other St. Louis non-profits that you love?

RH: There are so many great organizations. Some of our favorites are Provident, Operation Food Search, Eye Care Charity of the Midwest and Institute of Family Medicine. We partner with these organizations to serve Little Bit Students.

You can find Rose Hanley and the whole Little Bit family at The Big Fun Event this Friday, Aug. 15 at Plush. The event is from 7-10pm and information on purchasing tickets can be found on their website.

Photo from Big Fun 2013. Courtesy of The Little Bit Foundation.

Photo from Big Fun 2013. Courtesy of The Little Bit Foundation.

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