Back to Kids

JBLM’s SKIES offers scholarships

Last year, nineteen scholarships were awarded in gymnastics, dance, boxing and karate

Instructor Denise Ruffner, left, works with class members (from left) Alina Welch, Riley Boston and Zoe Palomino as they perform rolls on a wedge mat during a gymnastics class at SKIESUnlimited on JBLM. JBLM PAO photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

SKIES Unlimited, Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s facility for dance, theater, martial arts, gymnastics, yoga and other youth-oriented programs just received another $2,500 grant from the Association of Washington Generals.

The Association of Washington Generals is a service organization created by Seattle-area business people, along with former Washington state Lieutenant Governor John Cherberg in 1970. The group recognizes individuals and organizations for service.

As with last year’s grant, parents need to apply to receive a scholarship, which pays for classes at SKIES Unlimited. Scholarships are available now for families with an income less than $38,000 or for those with medical or other financial hardships.

Since, on average, classes at SKIES Unlimited cost about $45 per month, and a scholarship pays for one quarter at the facility, that means several children should benefit from the donated funds, according to Cindy Arnold, co-director at SKIES Unlimited.

“This is such a huge honor, and we are so excited,” Arnold said, of the scholarship grant, which, as with last year’s grant, came unsolicited.

The scholarships have benefited many youths, including 5-year-old, I’yana Renai Gaffney, who is able to participate in karate and ballet at SKIES Unlimited, in part due to receiving a scholarship from the Association of Washington Generals.

I’yana Renai’s grandmother, Rebecca Gaffney said that sometimes when money gets short, it’s tough to find funds for the child’s activities.

“Getting a scholarship helps me get a little ahead,” she said.

I’yana Renai, a kindergarten student at Hillside Elementary School, became involved at SKIES Unlimited shortly after the family moved here from Georgia. Her mother is Pfc. Iesha Gaffney, 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade.

Gaffney said SKIES Unlimited is an opportunity for her granddaughter to participate in educational and fun activities and get to know other children and make friends.

“She really enjoyed karate, and gymnastics last year; I think she will like ballet too,” she said.

Last year, nineteen scholarships were awarded in gymnastics, dance, boxing and karate, and more than $1,500 of the initial funds were dispersed. More than $900 was still available for students at the beginning of this year. Now, with an additional $2,500 many more kids will have a chance to participate, Arnold said.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with the Association of Washington Generals, and we are so grateful for this fund,” she said.

To apply for an Association of Washington Generals scholarship at SKIES Unlimited, call 253-966-3539.

Read next close

People Rule

Mentors can help local Gold Star Kids

comments powered by Disqus