Klasky to lead IslandWood -- News Roundup

Ben Klasky has been named executive director of the IslandWood outdoor learning center. Klasky, who begins his new assignment in January, will replace retiring director Carole Grisham.

Klasky was chosen from among hundreds of candidates who were screened for the position through a nation-wide search and will be moving to Bainbridge Island to make his home, IslandWood said.

“Ben brings with him a blend of experience from both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas,” said founder Debbi Brainerd. “He is passionate about IslandWood’s mission and we believe his experience in education, teacher training, building community partnerships and entrepreneurial ventures make him a perfect fit for IslandWood.”

Klasky worked as an elementary school teacher in Baton Rouge, La., with Teach for America, an organization which recruits teachers to serve two-year terms in under-resourced districts across the country.

Prior to joining IslandWood, Klasky most recently served as executive director for Net Impact, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to use the power of business for social and environmental change. With 10,000 members from around the world, Klasky played a key role in shifting the organization’s funding streams from 95 percent foundation support to a diverse and sustainable funding base.

Prior to that, he was a co-founder of Donor Empower, a for-profit company that provides nonprofit organizations with computer-based fundraising tools.

While there, Klasky co-founded Camp Galileo, an art and science day camp that serves 3,000 children each year through summer programs in five cities in California’s Bay Area.

“I’m coming on-board during an exciting time,” Klasky said in an IslandWood news release. “This is an amazing opportunity I’ve been given to work for an organization that combines talented, caring and highly educated staff, with an exciting, innovative campus and program base.”

IslandWood, offering its first programs in 2002, is a 255-acre outdoor learning center near Blakely Harbor. Its mission is to inspire environmental and community stewardship by providing hands-on learning experiences that link science, technology and the arts in a natural setting. Over 3,000 students are served each year in IslandWood’s School Overnight Program for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

91 honored for doing good

Caught doing good – 91 young people were awarded the Compassionate Action Award by Bainbridge Youth Services Sunday evening.

Youths received the “Kids with a Heart” award from BYS. The awards were started three years ago by the BYS board, wanting to do something to recognize youth in a non-competitive manner.

“It’s for people who do things quietly and gives recognition to kids who weren’t necessarily award-winning in other areas,” said Kitty Fisher, who organized this year’s awards. “I think kids do a lot of volunteer work and don’t get credit, but people are opening their eyes more.”

During October, BYS sends nomination forms to North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island schools, community groups and religious organizations.

Nominees this year include Laura Wicklein, a seventh-grader at Kingston Junior High School, who was nominated by the kindergarten teacher at her former school, Suquamish Elementary.

Wicklein has helped out the kindergarten class nearly every day since second grade.

“I like being able to work with them. It’s a fun thing to do and I like doing it, it comes easy to me,” Wicklein said.

This year in junior high, she has mentored students having difficulty with school, including one boy still learning English, and worked as a conflict mediator. Wicklein hopes to become a teacher or veterinarian when she is older.

Paatela Fraga, a sixth-grader at Sakai Intermediate School, raised $132 for the animal sanctuary Furrytale Farm. She took photos of her dog Poco and made cards that she sold for $1 each outside her parents’ art gallery on Winslow Way.

Other winners include Bainbridge High School junior Ariana Taylor-Stanley nominated for her volunteer efforts supporting the environment with recycling at BHS, advocating for better water resources, working on a tree nursery and also involvement with the Conscientious Projector film festival.

The first year of the awards, 15 youths were nominated; this year the number climbed to nearly 100, but Fisher sees no cap.

“We’re thrilled to have so many people (nominated). We don’t think it’s a problem at all,” she said. “It’s worth renting a football field for.”

– Tina Lieu

Fire Dept. receives grant

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department has been awarded a $68,000 Department of Homeland Security Grant to purchase technical rescue equipment.

The grant is designed to strengthen the department’s ability to respond to a “Weapons of Mass Destruction event.”

The grant will be used to purchase additional technical rescue equipment that is required to provide a higher level of service to the community, Chief Jim Walkowski said. The department is the only public fire department in Kitsap County that provides trench, collapse, high angle and confined space rescue services, he said.

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