Communities in Schools nets $10,000 grant from Gig Harbor Garden Tour

Schools: Organization shares profits with different literacy programs on peninsulas

Special to the GatewayMarch 19, 2014 

Members of the Communities in Schools of Peninsula board gathered last month to receive a $10,000 grant from the Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association in support of CISP’s program to keep students in school through graduation. The presentation took place at the Hub Restaurant at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.


Members of the Communities in Schools of Peninsula board received a $10,000 grant last month from the Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association during an event at the Hub Restaurant at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.

About 150 CISP volunteers at all levels of 10 of the 15 Peninsula School District schools provide mentoring in math and reading to students who have trouble with the subjects. CISP also coordinates free or supplemented dental care through the Smile Mobile.

“Kids with toothaches do not make good students,” CISP Executive Director Colleen Speer said.

CISP’s objective is to encourage students to remain in school and to graduate on time.

Donna Torrens, president of the 2013 Gig Harbor Garden Tour, said the organization’s mission statement — “to promote literacy by supporting educational programs for children and adults in the greater Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area” — explains why the contribution was earmarked for CISP.

“From its humble beginnings in 1998, GHGTA’s mission has been to support literacy programs in the Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula area,” Torrens said.

Now in its 17th year, more than 20 committee members and 120 volunteers run the garden tour. It has grown in size and donations to include five literacy programs for children and adults.

“All the volunteers are proud to present CISP the $10,000 donation from the profits of the 2013 Garden Tour,” said Karen Beck, a former tour president who coordinates public relations for the organization.

Beck has been involved with the garden tour for eight years.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to be able to make substantial donations to help the kids in our community,” she said.

This year’s tour will be held June 28-29. For more information, visit

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at

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