The Companionship Program of Pierce County Parks and Recreation, which supports social and recreational activity for students of all abilities in Pierce County received the Daisy Stallworth Violence Prevention Award. The award was presented to Peninsula School District Superintendent Terry Bouck by Christine Newberg, team leader for the program in the Peninsula district on Jan. 18 at Key Peninsula Middle School.
Each month the Companionship Program hosts an event in Gig Harbor to promote inclusion of special needs kids in activities with peers.
Partially funded by the Peninsula School District, the program provides social and recreational opportunities for kids of all abilities, said Newberg. She has two staff members, a teen from Peninsula and another from Gig Harbor High School.
“They promote the programs within their schools and they talk to counselors and teachers,” she said. “They talk to students about the program telling them they should come out to this activity. They help me set up the event.”
The program is in its 17th year and includes seven other districts of Pierce County. The monthly events include games, and special activities, such as making scarecrows in October.
Supplies are donated by various businesses, and Newberg promotes the program by distributing flyers and talking to teachers.
“They want capable kids to see that special kids are part of life,” Newberg said.
A countywide fundraiser will begin in February, she said, and the program is always looking for donations.
“We’re looking for venues and refreshments and anything that would make a day event fun, arts and crafts type things,” she said.
Daisy Stallworth is the late Executive Director of the Community and Human Services Division of Pierce County. According to the Pierce County Community Connections, Stallworth lost her battle with cancer in 1997, and the awards under her name are in honor of her courage, determination, compassion and personal interaction with people as well as her professional accomplishments and contributions to the community.
The award recognizes a program or individual that has made significant improvement for the general community or a targeted population in reducing or preventing violence in Pierce County.