CISP staff Kathy Hayfield, volunteer coordinator; Colleen Speer, executive director; Cheri Johnson, resource development committee chair; Laurel Shultz, program director; and Cathy Rich, volunteer coordinator and staff assistant, strike a pose for CISP. Photo: Colleen Slater, KP News

Communities In Schools of Peninsula threw a birthday bash for itself with a “Gilligan’s Island” theme as its fourth “celebrity fundraiser” at the end of August. Guests were encouraged to dress for the occasion and a Maryanne, a couple of Gilligans and several Captains were seen among the crowd of over 190.

Brett and Kathy Hayfield, owners of The Boat Shed in Bremerton, provided a variety of unique “island foods,” Heritage Distillery of Gig Harbor served specialty beverages, and mini cupcakes and candies came from a Key Peninsula caterer known as The Cake Shop.

The Wounded Mic Band provided music for the outdoor setting, which overlooked Vashon Island and Point Defiance.

The mission of CISP is to surround public school students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The focus is on those at risk of dropping out, but the program assists the whole school and all of its students.

Regular donors Chuck and Charlie Meacham attended the fundraiser. “When homes are not conducive to learning, school is difficult for students,” said Charlie, a former special education teacher. “CISP provides a link between students and learning.”

State Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor), also attended with his wife, Jennie, a math tutor for CISP at Kopachuck Middle School. “Kids ask questions and the mentors provide resources,” he said.

CISP board member Dick Vanberg said, “The site coordinators are outgoing and enthusiastic [and] tend to be teachers, but not all of them.” Vanberg is also a volunteer mentor at Vaughn Elementary School. Vaughn was the first in the district to become involved with CISP and he’s been there since the beginning.

“It began here [on the KP] in 2000, although the national organization just celebrated 40 years,” said CISP Program Director Laurel Schultz.

Peninsula School District board candidate Noelle Balliett said her first experiences with CISP was seeing a first-grader in her son’s class celebrating his own birthday at the first party he’d ever had—courtesy of CISP. “A great community supporting schools makes a great school,” Balliett said.

This year’s event raised over $40,000 for CISP.

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