We draw on the application of the business and professional skills and experience of Rotarians to help others achieve their dreams, visions, causes and projects. Often partnering with other organizations, we work with integrity by contributing expertise to problems and needs of society, and local communities.
Following are some of the programs we are involved in:
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS
Many kids come to school hungry, in need of clean clothes, with unaddressed health and dental issues. Quite often they sleep out in the open, in a car, or on a friend or relative’s couch. It is hard for them to focus on school when they carry such a heavy load. Communities In Schools of Peninsula (CISP) helps to ease that burden – by providing connections to resources and services and a kind, nonjudgmental attitude. Rotary is a CISP partner in this effort.
Rotarians have been volunteering for over 15 years as reading and math mentors, and are key in providing caring relationships to students who need a little extra help. Rotary members also serve on the board of directors for CISP, and have been instrumental in the growth of the organization. Donations from the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor Rotary have supported vital programs and services over the years as well.
THE FIRST TEE
The First Tee Program provides educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices–using the game of golf as the vehicle. The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor is a partner in this outstanding program.
Open to all youth ages 5-18, the program offers 6 levels of progression:
- Little Drivers – Introduction to the basics of golf Chip, Pitch, Putting and Full Swing;
- Player – Teaches core values: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility which Instill healthy habits such as Energy, Mind, Friends, Community;
- Par – Personal Par in life, meet and greet;
- Birdie – Goal setting (short term and long term);
- Eagle – The goal ladder going rung to rung and diving deeper into how we set goals;
- Ace–assist with a Player class and develop skills needed to be successful in life.
The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor has assisted The First Tee program in several ways, including funding for equipment, supporting the introduction of the program into every elementary and middle school in the Peninsula School District (serving over 6000 youth each year) and supporting the increase of youth from Peninsula Schools that joined the Life Skill Education program.
MENTAL HEALTH TRANSFORMATION PROJECT
Helping children cope with and prevent acute stress and PTSD and develop life skills and learn how to work as a team through experiential learning techniques. This is offered as part of “Returning Humanity to Sanity” and the “Mental Health Transformation Project.”
This pilot program offers 3 key immersions to youth –ages 11-13 years.
- Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress.
- Personal leadership and team reflection.
- The effects of sympathetic vibration in relation to others through hands-on experiences with horses.
THE TINY HOUSE PROJECT
– Peninsula High School Trades Education Program
Bringing students into direct contact with the trades is the purpose of this new and experimental Peninsula High School Trades Education Program~using construction of a tiny house as the means to introduce students to a wide variety of skills and trades:
- Planning and design
- Materials selection and procurement
- Taping and painting
- Finish carpentry and cabinetry
- Components and materials typical of home construction
The program is a unique way to introduce and emphasize the value of career and technical training to high school students. The role of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor has been to assist the school district with funding to purchase needed materials.
WOMENS PRISON PROGRAM
Reentry Employment Training
Reentry into society after incarceration is a big deal for prison inmates—especially women inmates. The challenges and issues they face are often overwhelming—leading many back to prison within a few years.
With nearly 1,000 inmates, the WCCW is the primary state prison for women in Washington State and houses women from every county. Some 40-45 inmates are released every month. The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor partners with the Department Of Corrections (DOC) to offer this hard-hitting, 6 week, comprehensive Reentry Employment Training Program to women incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) located in Gig Harbor. Team taught by Rotarians and inmates, nearly 700 women have graduated from the reentry course since its inception in 2013. Continuing education is one of the major deterrents impacting the recidivism of released prison inmates. Simply stated: Inmates who continue their education, either during or following incarceration, do not reoffend. In 2014 the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor created the Women’s Prison Scholarship Fund for women released from the WCCW. Continuing education scholarships include women still incarcerated to pursue correspondence or other training inside the prison, and those released to go back to school~college or trade/professional school. Numerous scholarships have been awarded to women attending a wide variety of institutions: UW, WSU, TCC, & numerous community colleges, Evergreen College, Gene Juarez Beauty School, and other colleges and universities.
Training and scholarships for inmates being released from Washington Correction Center for Women (Purdy Prison).
Continuing education is one of the major deterrents impacting the recidivism of released prison inmates. Simply stated: inmates who continue their education, either during or following incarceration, do not reoffend.
In 2014 the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor created the Women’s Prison Scholarship Endowment Fund for women being released from the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW).
We offer continuing education scholarships for women still incarcerated to pursue correspondence or other training inside the prison, and especially to those released and desiring to go back to school—college or trade/professional school. To date dozens of scholarships have been awarded to women attending a wide variety of institutions, including:
- University of Washington
- Tacoma Community College and numerous community colleges
throughout the state
- Evergreen College
- Gene Juarez Beauty School
- And many other higher learning institutions
Scholarships are not intended to cover the full cost of education, but to act as an incentive in support of their education.
CARS FOR CHANGE
Transportation following release from prison is a major issue for many women after leaving the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor.
For many, release means walking out with a small cash stipend from the WCCW, a bus ticket and 1-2 changes of used clothing.
Transportation to find a job, housing, buy groceries, meet regularly with her community corrections officer (parole officer), attend school, pick up and drop off her kids, etc. become a major issue for many.
For many released women obtaining a driver’s license can be very difficult. Some face charges related to driving with a suspended license. While these women are doing their time and ‘paying their debt to society’ their debt to the DMV is growing. Cars 4 Change is helping all women released from prison to land on their feet and obtain transportation that helps move them along a path of recovery, as well as, providing assistance with payment of fines and license fees and up to 6 months of insurance coverage.
Once a driver’s license is secured, Cars 4 Change finds a suitable vehicle thru its many connections with auto dealers and car brokers.