When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills.
The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.:m]]
Birthday parties. Graduation celebrations. A just-because masquerade. The revelry experts at Everything Party know that celebrations take many forms. That's why they keep their aisles stocked with more than 30,000 balloons, streamers, and trinkets ready to help ordinary homes host everything from baby showers to anniversaries. More than 125 party patterns help birthday boys and girls show off their love of Frozen, My Little Pony, Despicable Me, and Star Wars. Unique novelty and gift items are available, and their Redmond location offers both education and speciality toys, in addition to a large candy selection. When they're not busy overseeing blossoming helium balloons or stocking shelves with fistfuls of candy, they also consult with customers, offering theme and design advice that turns parties from ho-hum into humdingers.
Hopelink strives to promote self-sufficiency for all members of the community through housing, financial assistance, family development, and other social services. Since 1971, the organization has helped tens of thousands of people move from vulnerability and crisis to independence and stability.
Along with adult literacy programs, school-supply programs, and career development, Hopelink runs End Summer Hunger, an annual food and funds drive that helps ensure children from families with low incomes have enough to eat throughout the summer. Last year, End Summer Hunger—with the help of individuals, businesses, and schools—raised $181,439, plus thousands of pounds of food to meet the increased demands at Hopelink’s food banks during the summer months.
The ninth-annual Great Kitchen and Bath Tour wends its way through the custom cabinets and countertops of 12 Puget Sound residences, including a modern bathroom designed by Richard Pope & Dawn Ryan of Creative Kitchen + Bath and a remodeled kitchen created by Denny Conner. As ticket-holders arrive at each stop, they can browse glazed-tile backsplashes, run fingers along beveled countertops, admire brushed-nickel spigots, and check medicine cabinets for Flintstones vitamins before traipsing to the next location.
Since 1995, Best in Class Education Center's
instructors have aided students of all ages—from pre-K tots to high school seniors—in their academic journeys. They calibrate small-group and private math and English lessons that push each student at an individualized pace, helping struggling students catch up to speed or edifying advanced pupils seeking more of a challenge. The tutors give homework assignments for the kids to work on throughout the week, as well as administer weekly tests to assess their progress.
In addition to boosting success in current classes, the staff helps older students ready themselves for post-secondary schooling with SAT prep classes and college admission workshops, which help applicants decide on the right place, craft an impressive personal statement, and shimmy into their dream school's mascot costume before campus visits.