Excellence on Main Award

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Main Street Through a Child’s Eyes

Awardee: Discovery Elementary School & Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance

Award: Outstanding Special Project

Year: 2022

City: Gig Harbor

When the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance received an email from a local elementary school teacher wanting to partner on a curriculum project, they answered with an emphatic yes. Thus, Main Street Through a Child’s Eyes was born.

The students spent a day downtown learning about what it takes to run a business and investigating the importance of being involved in their community. Breaking into groups, they each visited four downtown businesses that have a unique story and business model: Tickled Pink, Treasures4Humanity, Fox Island Trading Co, and the Harbor General Store. Ready with questions, the students’ curiosity and interest impressed the businesses, and the students were amazed by some of the things they learned – like that the Harbor General Store’s greatest expense was not its inventory, but its payroll. The stores were delighted to hear students say they needed to bring their parents back to the shop, and by the handmade thank you notes they each received from their visiting group.

A lunchtime presentation from the Downtown Waterfront Alliance shared more about their events and projects, and how a non-profit organization supports the community, and they received coloring pages for the Farmers’ Market that could be completed and returned for Market Money. Finally, they heard from the local environmental organization Harbor WildWatch.

Discussions are already in the works about what 2023’s Main Street Through a Child’s Eyes will look like. This partnership between the Alliance and the local school district has offered the opportunity to foster a sense of place and connection in local youths and to bring them into their downtown as passionate, active supporters, recognizing their futures as leaders, business owners, and Main Street directors in Gig Harbor.