Pierce County libraries, Peninsula schools benefit from Garden Tour

Education: Proceeds from last year’s event make up five grants, all for early learning

of the GatewayFebruary 5, 2014 

Esther Ellickson, Kathie Wheeler and Pat Lantz of the Gig Harbor Garden Tour present a check to Holly Smith, Joy Kim and Julie Kramer of the Pierce County Library System.

KAREN MILLER/GATEWAY PHOTO

The Gig Harbor Garden Tour has donated more than $60,000 in the past year to fund childhood literacy and early learning efforts on the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas.

In total, the tour handed out $61,900 in grants. The Pierce County Library Foundation received $12,200, which will go to the Gig Harbor/Peninsula and Key Center branches.

Pat Lantz and members of the Garden Tour organization presented a check to Holly Smith, a youth librarian at Key Center and Gig Harbor, and Joy Kim, the Gig Harbor branch manager.

The money will be used to invest in technology for early learning. A major purchase for the Gig Harbor branch will be a second Advanced Workstation in Education computer.

AWEs are interactive book programs. Kim said the AWE is a popular attraction in the children’s book section, especially once story time ends. The Key Center branch already has two AWE computers.

“We make it simple for kids to get on (the computer),” Kim said. “It’s giving them something that’s appropriate for their learning.”

Both branches will use the grants to purchase iPads and Apple TV, to incorporate new technology into story time.

Special “interactives” also will be purchased with the grant money. They are museum-quality installations that young learners interact with at the library, usually installed on walls. The modules are currently only installed at the University Place branch.

Communities in Schools of Peninsula received a $10,000 grant from the group. The money will go to CISP’s one-on-one tutoring program.

A $5,000 grant will go to Friends of Pediatrics Northwest and its partnership with Reach Out and Read, a national award-winning program that makes books a standard piece of pediatric care. At each exam, from ages 6 months to 5, a book is sent home with a parent for the child to keep.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound will purchase 12 Chromebook laptops thanks to a $3,000 grant. The computers will allow students to access the Internet for school work.

Evergreen Elementary School will purchase books with a $1,500 grant. The books will be used in the school’s “Reading is Fundamental” program, a children’s literacy nonprofit organization. Reading is Fundamental delivers books and resources to children from low-income families who cannot afford them.

The Gig Harbor Garden Tour is in its 17th year and its third as an independent nonprofit. The Garden Tour Association supports adult and child literacy.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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