“Volunteering is the rent you pay on earth,” says Marcia Harris reciting her family motto with passion in her voice. In fact, the concept of giving back to the community, her Key Peninsula community, defines how Harris spends most of her time.
Most recently, Harris has been instrumental in developing the KP School Bus Connects program. This free service is for all ages and utilizes off-duty school buses to help KP residents have access to transportation. Harris urges anyone interested in this service to call (253) 884-BUSS for hours, times and new schedule.
The Key Peninsula Community Council is the organization Harris belongs to that partnered with Peninsula School District to make Bus Connects a reality. As part of the executive committee of the KPC, Harris has the opportunity to volunteer and coordinate many local events.
“It is a gathering place to have discussions about our community in order to make it better” said Harris. KPC meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Key Center fire station at 7 p.m.
Another group Harris volunteers with is the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation, which began in 1995. Harris was part of the formation committee and continues to be active as part of the executive board. The PSEF supports area schools by giving grants to innovative teachers and scholarships to students. Harris encourages anyone interested in contributing to this foundation to visit psefnd.org for more information.
Volunteering was not only a mantra in the family of this Michigan native –– it has been an outgrowth of Harris’ professional life as well. Starting at The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and moving to PSD and other districts, Harris has spent her life as a public servant.
The relationships she cultivated along the way have allowed her to bridge many groups to bring ideas together. In fact, current KPC President Danna Webster understood her history of helping and put Harris’ name on the election ballot even before her 2012 retirement from the school system.
An additional local organization that is tailor-made for Harris’ focus on volunteerism is the Gig Harbor Rotary Club. With a maxim of “service above self,” Harris has been involved with its philanthropic efforts since 1989. Rotary sponsored projects on the Key Peninsula have included improvements at Volunteer Park Field, KC Library, and many more.
Even Harris’ relaxation activity takes on the hue of volunteerism. She has always loved gardening and recently took it to the next level by receiving her Master Gardener certification. According to her, this is an in depth process comprised of online courses, final assessments and volunteer requirements. Harris uses her knowledge to help the KP community at local events by answering plant and gardening questions. The experience has been incredible for her. She said she is “always learning from the people I meet.”
Giving back to the community is something that defines Harris’ past, present and future. She also acknowledges that the Key Peninsula is full of people who are and want to “get involved.”