Summer Events in Sumner, WA!

Following a year of event cancelations and housebound only activities, the Sumner Main Street Association is planning a fun filled summer of activities to get you out of the house.  Eager to resume their robust calendar of annual events, the team is working through ever-changing state and county restrictions.

According to Sumner Main Street Association Executive Director, Jill Starks, “The word of the year is ‘nimble,’ because as a group we need to be able to switch things up without too much notice. Our community is very supportive about our last-minute adjustments, because they also want the events to happen.”

The Sumner Main Street Association works to stimulate economic growth and revitalization, enhance beautification, nurture historic preservation, and ensure the vitality of downtown Sumner.   With criteria that 50% of the buildings in a designated area need to be at least 50 years old, only three Main Street Associations are certified in Pierce County.

2021 marks the year that seven buildings in the Sumner Main Street Association turn 100. To celebrate the Association has created virtual tours through Pretty Gritty Tour company, self-guided in person tours and intimate events implemented by business owners from each of the respective buildings.

In June, A Picket Fence and Sparrow & Nightingale located at 1006 and 1008 Main will be featured.  Then in July, Hometown Charm Café and Inta Vintage, also located on Main at 1012 and 1109 will follow.  Wrapping up the Centennial Celebration at 1119 and 1002 Main will be Northlight Interiors and a collection of businesses including the Main Street Association and finally Sumner Woodworkers at 908 Cherry in August.

Other events planned for Summer 2021 include the Classy Chassis car show which will feature about 200 cars, food and music on Sunday, August 8th.  The season will wrap up with a summer block party, “Fall for Sumner”, scheduled for August 28th.  

To learn about upcoming events, visit

Cascade Christian School Expands

Raising children that are prepared for life is a goal we all aspire to achieve.  At Cascade Christian Schools, it is their mission.  As a private Christian School District with 5 locations in Pierce County serving students 6 weeks old -12th grade, Cascade Christian is dedicated to helping students discover their potential.

“What is special, among many things at Cascade Christian, is we are developing discerning leaders in a culture where they feel known and valued,” said Rob Mitton, Director of Advancement at Cascade Christian.  He added that “our students will be spiritually, personally and academically prepared to impact their world.”

Many South Sound parents agree, and enrollment at Cascade Christian has been growing, creating a demand for more capacity.  With their three elementary schools nearly 100% full, Cascade Christian is making room for growth so that all incoming 7th graders have a seat in the junior high next fall and in the years to come.

When many local schools were closed, the team at Cascade Christian implemented the first phase of their multi-million-dollar expansion project at their Junior High and High School.  Their new 12,000-foot gymnasium was built by using existing resources and combining those resources with money from contributors, grants, foundations, and families.

With Phase 1 complete, the team moves on in their multi-phase project by getting ready to launch a feasibility study to fund the next phase.  Phase 2 includes 12 classrooms, administrative offices, the main entrance, lobby, and restrooms built within a 19,000-foot expansion.  

Projected in a few years, Phase 3 will see the addition of more classrooms and locker rooms based on need.  Improvements that are helping the team at Cascade Christian Schools better achieve their goal … Every Student, Every Day, Prepared.

The Cascade Christian Junior and Senior High School is located at 811 21st Street SE in Puyallup.  To learn more about Cascade Christian Schools, visit


On Our Sleeves® Movement at Shelby’s Sugar Shop

One in five children is living with a serious mental illness that interferes with everyday life. This May, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Shelby’s Sugar Shop™ at The Outlet Collection | Seattle® is supporting the On Our Sleeves® movement, backed by the experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, to share important mental health resources with families and children, while encouraging broader conversations about children’s mental health. 

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has increased awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans’ lives. The month continues to serve as a way to promote acceptance, support, prevention and recovery. 

Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s On Our Sleeves is a movement to transform children’s mental health through education, advocacy and research. Kids don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves, so there is an unprecedented need for evidence-informed mental health resources and support for children. The mission of On Our Sleeves is to provide every community in America with free resources necessary for breaking child mental health stigmas and educating families and advocates – because no child or family should struggle alone.

“During Mental Health Awareness Month and throughout the year, we understand the importance of equipping King County families and children with the resources to understand and take care of their mental health,” said Christian Faltenberger, General Manager, The Outlet Collection | Seattle®. “We’re proud to bring this partnership to life and to further serve our community with these valuable resources.”

Throughout the month of May, Shelby’s Sugar Shop™ at The Outlet Collection | Seattle® will take part in a partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital by donating 15% of total net sales to the On Our Sleeves program. 

“We are so thankful for this new partnership with Shelby’s Sugar Shop. As Shelby brightens our world with her sweetness, she is also making a difference for children’s mental health,” said Amanda Dove, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Thank you to Shelby’s Sugar Shop for donating 15% of net proceeds from May 1 – 27 during Mental Health Awareness month. Together, we can break stigmas and help parents, educators and kids across America.”

In addition to this partnership, The Outlet Collection | Seattle® will also provide events and resources to encourage mental wellness and provide guests with a way to care for themselves while connecting with others. All KidX events are inclusive and welcome all children. The Outlet Collection | Seattle® also hosts Sensitive Bunny and Sensitive Santa events each year, as a sensory friendly opportunity for children to have a quiet visit with the Easter Bunny and Santa during the holidays.

For more information on The Outlet Collection | Seattle®, please visit To learn more about the On Our Sleeves movement, please visit


DreamAhead Opportunities for Students

Studies show that students who know they have the college savings available to them are nearly seven times more likely to attend higher education than those who don’t.  Starting a WA529 GET or DreamAhead account can put students on the path to a bright future through higher education.  

What are WA529 plans?  In the shortest description, the Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, are a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington. 

The first one, created in 1998, is the Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET Program, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. The value of GET units is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition and fees at the state’s highest-priced university (currently UW Tacoma).

The enrollment period for the GET program ends on May 31st and will re-open November 1st with a new, possibly higher unit rate.  Those enrolled in GET already can take advantage of the low 2020-21 rate by adding units until June 25th.

A bill currently progressing through the Washington State legislative process may result in those who purchased GET units during the 2020-21 enrollment period receiving extra units in their account, and a cap being placed on the price of GET units in the future – making the program even more affordable for Washington families.

The second WA529 plan is DreamAhead College Investment plan, which was recently named a Bronze Award winner by MorningStar.  A major accomplishment for a program in just its third year.  In this college investment plan, which has open enrollment all year long, returns are tied to the performance of the financial market. Account owners select one of two saving options, automatic or static portfolios, that always let the account owner set the strategy.

DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, trade and technical schools, and even to cover the cost of an apprenticeship.  Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide.  The benefits of the two WA529 Plans are vast.

For more detailed information on these programs or to get started visit 

Compare Washington 529 Plans |

United Way Celebrates 100 Years

Over $350 million dollars has been reinvested in Pierce County since 1921 when the United Way of Pierce County (UWPC) was formed.  Originally known as the Federation of Social Service Agencies, the organization was born out of the necessity to better coordinate the work of several Tacoma social agencies to avoid duplication and serve more people.

How does an organization like the United Way of Pierce County that gives so much celebrate something as momentous as a 100-year anniversary?  Well, that’s easy.  They give some more.  

On May 14, to honor the first day in 1921 the Federation of Social Service Agencies held an official meeting complete with officers, the UWPC will be collecting non-perishable food to feed families in need from locations throughout Pierce County from 11am to 2pm.  For more information, go to united-way-pierce-county-turns-100-years-old.

This first event will be followed by two other celebratory events including a Public Kickoff in September, followed by a Gala Dinner in 2022.

Looking back through the years to 1921 is interesting, but UWPC is highly focused on looking forward with their “15,000 by 2028” pledge.

“At United Way of Pierce County, we have a long, rich history of mobilizing the caring power of our community and we’re committed to lifting 15,000 families out of poverty and into financial stability by 2028, one family at a time,” said Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO of United Way of Pierce County.

As of this writing, UWPC is well on its way to exceeding that goal with more than 4,300 families moving towards self-sufficiency since the pledge was made in 2018.   In partnership with the community, Ponepinto and her team are meeting this goal in three ways.

Through partnerships with seven trusted community organizations, the United Way of Pierce County’s Center for Strong Families helps struggling, local families improve their financial bottom line with one-on-one mentoring and coaching.  The program helps clients get jobs, increase their income, decrease their expenses, build their credit and acquire assets.

By investing in basic needs through a wide range of community organizations, UWPC helps cover critical needs like food, health care, childcare and shelter.  When a family’s basic needs are met, they can move out of crisis and prevent future crisis through greater stability.

And then, there’s United Way’s South Sound 211 — a free helpline to connect people in need with critical community resources and provide navigation services for behavioral health, housing, transportation, and employment. 

After nearly 30 years in existence, the mission of 211 expanded as it began tackling COVID-19 issues in addition to housing and other needs it typically handles.  South Sound 211 was instrumental in meeting the challenges faced during the pandemic.  As part of the WA211 Network, 211 was activated to respond to calls for the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) COVID-19 Hotline, resulting in expanded hours of operation, and the hiring and training of additional staff and volunteers.  Supporting Pierce, Thurston and Lewis Counties, 211 connected more than 79,000 people (60,000 via the hotline number) in 2020.

According to Pete Grignon, Chief Financial Officer of United Way of Pierce County with over 33 years of tenure, “It really is about finding the best way to help the most people.”  

You can learn more about United Way of Pierce County and their celebration of 100 Years at

Join Panowicz Jewelers To Support Teachers!

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week this year, Panowicz Jewelers has fulfilled two local teacher donation requests for classroom projects. In partnership with Frederique Constant, the Swiss watch manufacturer, Panowicz Jewelers seeks to support and recognize the efforts our local teachers do in educating the next generation. 

“Youth and education are two areas Panowicz Jewelers will always support,” said Leslie Panowicz, general manager. “We are grateful to be selected by Frederique Constant to fully fund projects in our community.” Frederique Constant pledged $20,000 to support the local schools and communities where retail partners reside. And as one of 10 nationwide retailers selected, Panowicz Jewelers chose which classroom projects to fund in Thurston County.

These generous donations aren’t just for the schools– everyone in the community can benefit! With each Frederique Constant watch purchased at Panowicz Jewelers between now and May 31, a $50 gift card will be donated to a teacher’s request of your choice on DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose enables teachers to request donations for projects, programs or resources that are not included in their regular budget. “Our mission is to make it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need, moving us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education,” said Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose. “We are so grateful to have such a dedicated partner in Frederique Constant and to be able to rely on their continued support to reach classrooms on a national scale.” 

Carla Wilke, chief marketing officer of Citizen Watch America, agrees. “As a brand founded on the principle of living your passion,” Wilke says, “We are very proud to help give back and show our appreciation to the hard-working teachers who are dedicated to educating their students remotely during this unprecedented time.”For more information about this exciting opportunity, visit

Welcoming New Administrators to CWA

Charles Wright Academy (CWA) is proud to announce the hiring of three new Director level administrators! Denise Riordan, Hillary Ryan, and Rixa Evershed will take on senior leadership roles at CWA this spring and summer.

Denise Riordan will serve as the first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in July 2021. Riordan has an extensive background in K-12 education and experience with leadership with equity and inclusion training. Additionally, Ms. Riordan is the co-founder and president of Engaging Across Difference, an organization that provides DEIB training, life coaching, and counseling to individuals and organizations nationally.

While the DEIB work at CWA has been in progress for many years, stewarded by a team of DEIB coordinators, the need for a director of this work has been acknowledged for some time. “Students, faculty, staff, and CWA families will greatly benefit from the addition of a senior leader who can guide our ongoing commitment to this work,” noted Susan Rice, CWA Head of School. “I am excited for her leadership in the DEIB work that will support CWA’s mission and vision, and further our ability to fully realize our newly adopted inclusion statement.”

In March, Hillary Ryan joined CWA as Communications Director. Ms. Ryan has held senior-level marketing and communications leadership positions at Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass. “With her experience in nonprofit communications and her deep connections in the Tacoma-Pierce County community, Hillary brings a wealth of professional and personal knowledge to CWA,” noted Rice.

“I thrive on connecting people and building relationships to discover opportunities, create community, and produce successful outcomes. I am impressed by the warm and welcoming staff and faculty at Charles Wright Academy and I am excited about bringing a new perspective to strengthen the amazing work being done to inspire active, joyful learning,” said Ms. Ryan.

For the 2021-2022 school year, Rixa Evershed will take on the position of Director of Early Childhood Education. Most recently Ms. Evershed was the Director of Education for Nature Nurture’s Farm in Olympia, Wash. where she worked with children and youth through an open-ended, nature focused, experiential-play program to build connections to nature and animals.

“I am just thrilled to have found CWA. The idea of finding joy in the learning process is
something that I have used to guide my career. When children are given an opportunity
to pursue their interests in an authentic way, they learn to love learning. By allowing
children to inquire, create, collaborate, explore, problem solve, fail, persist and imagine
possibilities, we are creating the critical thinkers who will be the inventors of tomorrow,”
noted Evershed. We are excited as a community to welcome each of these educators into CWA!

New Children’s Museum Opening Soon!

The Children’s Museum at JBLM, which broke ground in November 2018, converted the base’s old skating rink into a satellite facility of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, the first of its kind on a military installation.

The Children’s Museum at JBLM is the result of a partnership between Greentrike, whose programs include the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and Play to Learn Pierce County, and the JBLM Child and Youth Programs. The museum will serve the children of military families with an emphasis on early learners and those experiencing special needs.  At a recent visit to the facility the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, noted, “What a beautiful gift this is to the children here. The partnership with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma shows what can happen when communities both inside and outside the gates come together to support military families.”

The Children’s Museum at JBLM is situated on Lewis Main adjacent to the JBLM splash park, skate park and the bowling alley.  

The museum features multiple playscapes, including a water area, and art studio, and a climber. All playscapes are designed with an emphasis on STEAM activities for children 12 and under, inspiring creativity and imaginative play. 

JBLM has about 40,000 service members and about 63,000 family members. About 5,100 military families live on JBLM, and about 1,500 of the on-base families have children ages six and under.

This project is part of the Greentrike’s More than a Museum Campaign, to broaden its reach beyond the walls of its Tacoma-based museum and engage children and families throughout Pierce County in playful explorations together. 

Tanya Durand, Greentrike executive director said, “We are so excited to come alongside our longtime partners and make this museum a joyful, playful place for families living on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”

After seven years of collaboration and building renovations to bring this project to its opening, JBLM Garrison Commander Col. Skye Duncan said, “We are incredibly thrilled to reach this day. We have thousands of kids with their families at JBLM, and there’s no better place to create the first on-base children’s museum than Joint Base Lewis-McChord.” 

The Children’s Museum at JBLM is made possible in partnership with The Boeing Company, Bamford Foundation, The Norcliffe Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Command, and MWR.

Boeing and its employees provided a combined $1.5 million to support the development and launch of the museum. “Military families deserve spaces like this to connect with each other, to explore new ideas and to inspire dreams,” said Bill McSherry, Vice President, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Government Operations. “Boeing is deeply committed to supporting our military families and communities. This includes employee hiring and retention efforts as well as investing in innovative partnerships like this first ever children’s museum on a military base.” 

For more information about the Children’s Museum at JBLM, visit

Two Bates Students Honored Statewide

Recently, Bates Technical College is proud to honor two students as a new part of the prestigious All-Washington Academic Team, a program that recognizes two-year college students with high academic achievements and a dedication to community service.

Civil Engineering program student Ian Karnas, 27, is a South Bend native who joined the Army as a watercraft engineer after high school. After nearly 10 years of service, he researched engineering schools to further his education. Karnas discovered Bates’ Civil Engineering program, enrolled, and became active in the college Phi Theta Kappa chapter, the honor society for two-year colleges. He graduated in March and is now employed in the industry at Jacobs Engineering Group. Karnas’ five-year plan is to obtain a master’s degree in coastal engineering and eventually earn his doctorate.

Breanna Rohde, 25, is a student enrolled in advanced manufacturing program with the ultimate career goal of becoming a mechanical engineer. Rohde knew what she wanted to do professionally early on. As a young girl, she was fascinated with how things were built. The older she grew, the more her curiosity blossomed for design, manufacturing and engineering. Along with her spouse, Rohde moved to Washington seeking a college degree with hands-on learning in manufacturing. She enrolled at Bates after learning through her job about the programs offered. The working mother is on track to graduate this winter and hopes to eventually secure an automobile design and remanufacturing career.

Each All-Washington Academic Team member received a $250 scholarship from KeyBank. Rohde was ranked in the top 16 and received a $750 scholarship from Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU).

virtual event honoring the state’s All-Washington Academic Team featured Governor Jay Inslee, and speakers from Phi Theta Kappa, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, scholarship sponsors KeyBank, WSECU, and more. Congratulations to both Karnas and Rohde for their academic achievement and excellence!

For more information about the All-Washington Academic Team, go to

Inspire Conference: This May

This May, the Washington Center for Women in Business (WCWB) is excited to announce the 5th annual Inspire Conference!  Inspire is an annual event focused on women entrepreneurs and business owners, providing an incomparable opportunity for them to share their experiences, build community, and share strategies for success. This year the virtual conference will have a panel of five speakers, along with a keynote delivered by the celebrated inspirational speaker, Certified Professional Coach, and author, Ivy Woolf Turk. 

Inspire sticks close to the WCWB’s broad mission of facilitating women-owned and gender-fair businesses and organizations. WCWB program manager Robin Houde shared that INSPIRE’s featured speakers and the organizations they’ve built represent a different way of thinking about the ways that women engage with each other in this modern context. 

“A lot of what the WCWB does is about community building and authentic transparency,” Houde says, “but the INSPIRE Conference is about creating a radically inclusive space to talk about things like resiliency and trust among women, and each speaker is bringing her own real experience to the table.” 

Robin says that the way the conference has come together is a real demonstration of its central themes, which are centered on the ways that women can support other women. 

“I can email Christie (CEO of the Witi Group and CJL Consults, LLC) for example, and she’s happy to answer questions, happy to be supportive, happy to make connections. It was eye-opening, to be surrounded by women who truly are advocates for other women. The community does exist.” 

Robin was able to connect with Ivy Woolf Turk through similar means. Ms. Turk will bring her incredibly wide-ranging experience to the keynote, as Robin saw firsthand when Turk spoke at the recent Be Bold Now conference.  

“I reached out to her to see if she wanted to appear, and she said yes right away. It’s part of that sense of women helping women,” Houde said. 

Ivy Woolf Turk is particularly focused on lifting all women up, especially in an entrepreneurial setting. Her background showed her a great deal about some of the problems that go along with gentrification and development, and she realized that the stance of fierce, every-woman-for-herself competition that was a holdover from the 80s and 90s needed to be reconsidered, because it was leaving a lot of women behind. 

“In a lot of ways, we’re still stuck on the idea that women can only succeed with this phenomenal display of individual grit and strength, and of course that can help, but all of our speakers are proof that this probably isn’t the best way forward anymore,” Robin says. 

Robin Lucas, of Showcase Media, and Christie Lawler, the CEO of CJL Consults, LLC and Witi Group will share their experiences as women succeeding in business. Susan Gates and Kate Isler will also be appearing. Gates and Isler are co-founders of the W Marketplace, an e-commerce platform for women owned/gender fair businesses, and Isler is the founder and president of Be Bold Now. 

In addition to the speakers and the keynote address, WCWB will host a raffle with prizes and social networking opportunities. The INSPIRE conference is open to everyone, and tickets start at just $15. Last year’s conference drew over 200 attendees passionate about business and supporting one another, again this year it is sure to be incredible. Sponsored by WSECU and many other generous community organizations.  

Visit to register, learn more about the speakers, or to become a community event sponsor.