Favorite corporate citizen
Once again, Bill Gates
of Microsoft was the top vote-getter in the favorite corporate citizen
category, but this year his spouse got a few mentions of her own. Melinda Gates, known for her advocacy of good causes, came in second among readers. Another Gates associate, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was third in the voting, perhaps a parental tip of the hat for his kid- and teen-friendly Experience Music Project museum.
Favorite kids' organization
Founded more than 150 years ago in London to keep young men off the
streets during the Industrial Revolution, the YMCA (www.ymca.net...)
for a chapter near you) has evolved into an international organization
operating in 120 countries, including 2,500 chapters in the U.S. alone.
It's no wonder that its mission of building "strong kids, strong
families and strong communities" has made it a favorite organization
for kids, along with PEPS, the Program for Early Parent Support. The Seattle-based PEPS (206-547-8570, Ext. 10, www.pepsgroup.org)
is a non-profit organization that brings parents of young children
together in community-based discussion and support groups, including
programs for teen parents and those who speak Spanish.
Runner up: Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center (www.seattlechildrens.org).
While no one person emerged as favorite in this category, it's clear
that everyone has a hero. For those responding to our poll, that person
was often an individual teacher (or collectively, anyone who is a
teacher -- "they work so hard, don't get much pay and have to deal with
many challenge and responsibilities every day," one reader wrote).
Other readers nominated their mom, dad, spouse or neighbor. One
respondent even named her local trash collector: "Without fail, every
Tuesday morning, he waves at my son and puts on a show for us -- he
puts the garbage in the dumpster and then has it lift up and dump into
the truck (very dramatic!) then honks his horn and waves again. He is
And for those of us who at times take for granted the most essential
services, what better way to acknowledge that heroes can be found
everywhere -- even in the most unlikely places.
Staff Favorites: People & Organizations
Favorite children's advocate
For her current focus on early learning and education, and for past
efforts (as state attorney general) to fight tobacco companies, Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire
gets our vote for her staunch support of issues that matter to
families. Ignoring the uncertainty about her future following a close
gubernatorial election and resulting court appeals (resolved in early
June in her favor), Gov. Gregoire rolled up her sleeves and got to work
during her first six months in office. She expanded health care to
children in low-income families and decreased class sizes in public
schools. In early June, she sponsored an Education Summit that drew 500
participants and announced creation of the Washington Learns steering
committee. The committee is charged with taking a complete look at
Washington state's education system -- from early learning through
college -- and recommending improvements, including legislative
proposals that Gregoire says she will "pursue aggressively."
Favorite non-profit for Eastside families in crisis
For 34 years, Eastside and northend families in crisis have relied on Hopelink (www.hope-link.org). The Redmond-based non-profit is a ParentMap favorite for the diverse
array of services it provides in East and North King County, including
child care and housing help for homeless and low-income families.
Hopelink's six emergency service centers, in Bellevue, Kirkland,
Northshore, Redmond, Shoreline and Carnation, offer several food banks
a week to families in need. The agency also provides eviction
prevention support, an emergency family shelter and a First Month's Rent program
to help families get started in more permanent homes.
Hopelink's Adelle Maxwell Child Development Center in Redmond and
Overlake Child Development Center in Bellevue provide a range of
educational, developmental and health services for the children and
their parents. Check out the organization's "Hoops for Hope"
fundraising effort, a joint effort of Hopelink and the WNBA champion
Seattle Storm, which aims to supplement meals this summer for kids who
receive free and reduced-fee breakfasts and lunches during the school