Gateway: Living

Gig Harbor Garden Tour awards more than $30K in literacy grants

Discover Elementary Principal David Brooks receives a Gig Harbor Garden Tour grant on Nov. 9 from Garden Tour Chair Esther Ellickson, left, and Garden Tour Association Board Member Marion Ekberg.
Discover Elementary Principal David Brooks receives a Gig Harbor Garden Tour grant on Nov. 9 from Garden Tour Chair Esther Ellickson, left, and Garden Tour Association Board Member Marion Ekberg. Courtesy

In a quest to continue to promote literacy in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula communities, the Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association awarded $30,500 in literacy grants from proceeds of the 2016 Gig Harbor Garden Tour.

The association started awarded the grants in November, following a simple application process, said Janice Reeder, president of the board of directors.

“This year is one of the best we’ve had. We’ve sold most of the tickets we’ve ever sold,” Reeder said. “We’re getting more awareness of the cause that this is about, rather than just about the gardeners.”

Grants ranged in amounts from $600 to $9,000, Reeder explained, depending on what the grant applications requested and what the association felt would receive the most benefit.

This year is one of the best we’ve had. We’ve sold most of the tickets we’ve ever sold. We’re getting more awareness of the cause that this is about, rather than just about the gardeners.

Janice Reeder, president of the board of directors for the Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association

The 2016 Gig Harbor Garden Tour Literacy Grant recipients are:

▪  Communities in Schools: To purchase materials for volunteer reading tutors

▪  Discovery Elementary School: To continue its Garden Tour Intervention program that provides daily small group reading for all students

▪  Evergreen Elementary School: To purchase science books to support a new outdoor environmental program on the school campus

▪  Minter Creek Elementary School: To purchase materials to implement third grade book clubs and materials for an afterschool tutoring program

▪  Pediatrics Northwest: For books to support a program that encourages parents reading to very young children

▪  Pierce County Library: To refurbish its Baby Books To Go Bags

▪  Purdy Elementary School: To expand its parent-student Literacy Night program

▪  Vaughn Elementary School: To purchase equipment to support student-produced behavior improvement videos

“It’s really fun to give to the schools especially,” Reeder said. “The schools like us to come to their faculty meetings and have us involved. They’re just so pleased to be helped with their work that it’s really been fun for us to give out the money.”

Since 2011, the association has distributed $165,000 to the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula communities.

Plans are already underway for the 2017 Gig Harbor Garden Tour to celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary.

“We have picked the gardens for next year,” Reeder said. “We have some really special gardens on the tour for next year.”

The 20th annual Gig Harbor Garden Tour will be held June 24 and 25. More information can be found online at gigharborgardentour.org.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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