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.
Generation gaps call an evening-long truce to absorb the electric harmonies and magnetic energy of legendary rock bands Def Leppard and Heart. Def Leppard began its ascent to British hard-rock royalty in 1977, solidifying its reign with the 1987 multiplatinum album Hysteria and its iconic anthems "Love Bites" and "Armageddon It." Its latest tour stokes nostalgia and then pours sugar on it, with library classics giving way to singles such as "Undefeated" from the forthcoming Mirror Ball – Live & More album. Heart frontwomen Ann and Nancy Wilson add to the aural carnival with sisterly harmonics and guitar-wrangling routines developed over more than 30 years onstage. Revelry-inducing '70s hits "Barracuda" and "Crazy on You," along with soul-clutching '80s power ballads "Alone" and "What About Love," embody the decades whence they came while continuing to forcefully knock the socks and toenail polish off rapt concertgoers.
The Little Gym fosters the healthy growth of children by allowing them to progress at their own pace in a nonthreatening, nurturing environment. As wee ones from 4 months to 12 years-old tackle challenges, overcome fears, and learn to confidently express their opinions about Platonic theory, The Little Gym's original music graces their ears and supports their lessons. The month includes four classes that let tots develop through weekly, age-specific curriculum, with programs including pre-school/kindergarten gymnastics, dance, sports-skills development, and karate.
At the age of 9, Bonnie Morris began a lifelong relationship with horses. By age 10, she was the proud guardian of her own colt and at 22, she set the wheels in motion to open her own training center. Today at Morris's Shadow Mountain Stables, she and her staff continue to bond riders and steeds within a five-acre haven that's beyond the reaches of the outside world and its persistent chorus of honking bikes. They foster interspecies rapport through various types of instruction, including lessons and summer camps that teach showmanship and horse care. Trail rides mosey through nearby woods, meadows, and grasslands overlooking Mount Rainier. Birthday parties include horseback rides or visits to the petting farm. The petting farm facilitates up-close encounters with fuzzy ferrets, giant bunnies, mini horses, and baby goats as well as the stable's fleet of horses and resident cow, Henry, who also answers to, "Look! A cow!"
John Gustafson began skating at 5 years old, rolling along on squeaky wheels that would carry him toward a lifetime of high-speed competition. At 25, he became a professional skater, winning national championships in both speed skating and figure skating before settling down as the owner of Auburn Skate Connection. His love of skating hasn’t dimmed, though; even with his 69th birthday approaching, John continues to lace up his skates each day to gain an extra 2 inches of height and guide students in the sport he knows so well.
Alongside instructors that he himself recruited, John teaches the art of effortless rolling during private lessons on the rink’s solid-wood skating surface. The team imbues students with the intricacies of quad and inline skating while also focusing on the fundamentals of racing. Their dedication has borne some notable fruit. Olympic gold-medalist Apolo Ohno took his first glides at Auburn, working with John for three years before moving on to his life of ice-based glory.
At Bison Creek Pizza & Pub, the past meets the present in both food and décor. Located inside the historic Burien Theatre, the pizzeria serves its gourmet pies from a modern kitchen, but it pours mixed drinks from the theater's original saloon-like bar. A stage has replaced the screen, and free live shows blare music across the expansive room regularly. Bison Creek's menu exemplifies the same juxtaposition of tradition and change, boasting specialty pizzas that it's served since opening in 1975, now with modern twists such as gluten-free crusts, soy cheese, and invisible slices.
Customers can build their own pizza, but the pub is known for its gourmet options such as the 6th Gear—a pizza piled high with chicken, bacon, and artichoke hearts simmering garlic cream sauce with onions and garlic. The menu has expanded as well. Grinder sandwiches filled with tender pulled pork or heaps of salami, bacon, and pepperoni come with a pile of fries, and the kitchen produces pasta dinners with homemade sauces such marinara, alfredo, or pesto cream.