Communities In Schools, a nationwide organization, supports students in more than 200 communities across 27 states. Within Auburn, the organization reaches youth at all 22 area schools. Giving more than 5,000 hours of their time per year, the Auburn branch’s 118 volunteers organize donation drives for school supplies, join with local food banks to distribute nutritious foods, and run high-quality tutoring programs for students from low-income families. Last year the team tutored 247 students and provided 5,983 Auburn students with school supplies, clothing, shoes, and hygiene products. Driven by these passionate volunteers, the organization proves the strength of its services with a slew of measureable results, such as the fact that of the 247 students that it tutored last year, 87% improved their test scores.
Before opening up shop in 2011, self-taught baker Maricel spent 10 years honing her skills and taste testing her creations with her husband and three daughters. These days, she continues using natural and organic ingredients to whip up cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and tartlets entirely from scratch. The core of her tartlet arsenal remains sweet potato, peach cobbler, and pecan, but her cupcakes and mini cupcakes constantly evolve with innovative flavors such as a maple cupcake topped with bacon pieces and a coconut cupcake slathered with cream cheese frosting. Along with individual and by the dozen purchases, Maricel dispenses her mini cupcakes in bouquets and atop rental towers, which fit 50–60 treats. Every Tuesday through Saturday, she and her dedicated staffers are available to take orders and walk customers through the process of shrinking cakes with repeated dryer sessions.
As part of its mission to empower students to stay in school and achieve in life, Communities In Schools works with schools, social-service providers, and businesses in more than 200 communities across 27 states, including Federal Way, Washington. Its volunteers and outreach coordinators work to equip each young person they serve with the specific tools they require to learn, grow, and succeed, whether they need a pair of eyeglasses or afterschool tutoring. Programs such as Communities In Schools' mentoring program have experienced proven success and resulted in higher graduation rates, according to recent third-party findings.
Rebuilding Together South Sound works to improve the lives of low-income homeowners—particularly those who are elderly, disabled, or have children—by repairing and rebuilding their homes at no cost. Along with year-round home modification and emergency repairs, the organization also hosts an annual event, Rebuilding Day, where a skilled volunteer crew helps transform a home with repairs that might include plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry, along with fixing roofs, windows, and flooring.
Birthday Dreams’ volunteers devote themselves to one simple principle: all children deserve a birthday, regardless of economic circumstance. By working with homeless shelters and transitional-housing agencies throughout the community, they’re able to help children in need enjoy one special day of celebration. Their meticulous party planning leaves no detail unaccounted for—everything from eating utensils and personalized gifts to decorations and a fresh-baked cake ensures the child's day will be full of smiles. They encourage community involvement by soliciting handmade gifts from local crafters and inviting volunteers to bring their own children to help out at the party. Since its founding, Birthday Dreams has curated more than 1,100 birthday parties across the greater Puget Sound area, averaging about 60 celebrations each month.
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The Tavon Center eases the transition from high school to adulthood for young people with disabilities by providing respite, care, social activities, and vocational-skill development in a specialized day program. The 5-acre center focuses in large part on horticultural activities such as planting in the gardens that stretch across 2,000 square feet and the greenhouse that grows everything from zinnias to artichokes. Clients can also tend to animals, such as goats, chickens, and rabbits, which roam the grounds. Every summer, the staff sells the center's produce and goods at farmers' markets to give clients a sense of pride and accomplishment while raising awareness about the disabilities. In addition to gathering eggs, baking, and painting artworks, the young adults in the program can also develop a network of friends and receive individualized care from The Tavon Center’s staff.