While most 5-year-olds dream of receiving trendy toys on their birthdays, Port Angeles resident Layla Parker had a different idea this year. Following a family discussion on making a charitable donation in lieu of more traditional birthday gifts, Layla decided to collect money for the Peninsula College Foundation.
“She is fortunate to have many toys, so we suggested having her friends withhold toys and have her choose a charity to donate to instead,” her parents, Justin and Trisha Parker said. “We believe it’s important to instill the value of giving at a young age by modeling it as parents, and for children to experience charitable giving for themselves.”
The Foundation faced some pretty stiff competition. Her parents suggested several options including the North Olympic Land Trust, Humane Society and the Port Angeles Education Foundation, among others, and discussed who would benefit as a result of a donation to each. Ultimately, Layla chose the PC Foundation on her own.
“I want to help people go to college,” she said.
The Foundation provides support for Peninsula College students and programs through endowed scholarships and donor-designated giving, and delivers additional program and student support through fundraising efforts. Seventy percent of Peninsula College students receive need-based aid, and the Foundation has an important role in helping to meet this need across several categories, including merit, specific areas of study, testing fees, travel and conference fees, classroom materials, an auto gifting program and emergency book loans.
The Foundation also provides funds for professional development, instructional equipment and other program needs in order to create exceptional learning experiences on the Peninsula, including competitive grant awards, diversity and cultural enrichment and research projects and materials.
During her birthday campout, which included a BBQ and s’more making, Layla excitedly made contributions to her donation jar. The 10 families attending raised $228.07 in coins, bills and checks, which she then presented to the Foundation in Ziploc bag. “We are so proud of her and want to thank everyone who contributed,” says her parents.
Layla’s donation will be applied to the general scholarship fund which operates outside of the normal scholarship process, according to Foundation Director, Getta Rogers. Monies can be applied toward school materials such as art supplies, cap and gown costs or testing fees.
“It makes me smile, Rogers said. “It is heartwarming that someone of her young age would forego birthday gifts in order to make a donation. She is the youngest donor that we’ve ever had.”
Executive Director of College Advancement, Mary Hunchberger, Layla Parker, and Foundation Director Getta Rogers