Asher Halvorson, 4, puts the hammer down during the Key Peninsula Cooperative Preschool’s annual fundraiser at the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Photo by Steve Whitford, KP News

On March 7, 49 preschoolers mounted special tricycles and rode their way into fundraising history. The event was held at the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

The Key Peninsula Cooperative Preschool has been educating 3 to 5 year olds since its inception in 1974.

Classes are held at Vaughn and Evergreen Elementary and are taught by Mary Tyler and Kim George.

Parents and relatives of students are,by necessity, volunteer helpers with at least three parents in each classroom every school day. Carol Gvlaczynski from Bates Technical Institute in Tacoma has served for the last 15 years as an advisor and educator for preschool parents and teachers. She oversees 20 schools in King and Pierce County.

The co-op has several fundraising events throughout the year, but the trike-a-thon is by far the largest and most profitable event, organizers said.

Preschoolers and their parents sold pledges for riding to local citizens and businesses. Besides cash donations, many donated gift and art items were raffled off after the riding was done.

In addition there was a silent auction where special things were auctioned off. This year among other offerings was a ride in the fire engine, and a night for two at the Inn at Gig Harbor, and art items made by each class.

Kohl’s department store, in affiliation with Associates in Action, provided five volunteers to help with festivities and also provided a generous cash donation.

Joanna Babbitt has three children who have kept her involved in the co-op for the last five years. She is presently in her second year serving as treasurer.

“Our co-op is a tuition based school and fundraising helps us keep the tuition cost low. We even offer some scholarships for low-income families. “We couldn’t exist without the support of our community members and local businesses,”she said. “The trike-a-thon raised $5,000 dollars this year.”

The trikes used in the event are quite unusual and are not readily available at local outlets.

The one and two seat tricycles are made by a company called Angels and cost between $240 to $320 dollars each. They are specially designed not to tip over. They are furnished free of charge each year by the ICAP program, Babbitt said.

The children rode in a never ending circle for an hour or so, and then came the raffle. Ava Ostrom, 4, was one of the many riders. “It was really fun. We rode in circles and now I’m a little bit tired, I’m gonna do it next year again.”

The event was well attended and everyone young and old had a great time.

For information about the preschool, visit keypeninsulapreschool.org.

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