Kitchen Tour serves up fun, funds

Proceeds from the popular annual event help provide scholarships for local women.

One of the kitchens from an AAUW Kitchen Tour. The kitchen is equipped with storage, workspace, conveniences and beautiful finishes. Open to the main living areas, there is ample seating for guests to mingle and dine, and even flow into the outdoor living space.

One of the kitchens from an AAUW Kitchen Tour. The kitchen is equipped with storage, workspace, conveniences and beautiful finishes. Open to the main living areas, there is ample seating for guests to mingle and dine, and even flow into the outdoor living space. Courtesy photo

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WALLA WALLA — The local chapter of the American Association of University Women is cooking up a fun way to help others. It’s time for the 11th annual Kitchen Tour, a fundraiser for AAUW.

Tour co-chairs Judy Jamison and Cecile Ervin said the organization’s mission is to break down barriers for women and girls, and increase their participation in science and technology. The local group’s goal is to promote equality for all women and girls, lifelong education and positive societal change.

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From left, Cecile Ervin, Carina Stillman and Judy Jamison discuss the scholarship AAUW provided Stillman this year to continue her education. Stillman has been teaching for about 10 years. She’s currently studying education leadership at WSU Tri-Cities, working toward either a second master’s degree or a doctorate. Her dream is to be a school administrator in this area. Stillman said she is very appreciative of the work the local AAUW is doing. “I am pretty excited about it,” she said. “I am thrilled to get the scholarship. I’m currently a high school English teacher, and I love working with teenagers. In recent years I’ve toyed with the idea of pursuing administration, but I am still paying on student loans from my other studies. This scholarship has helped me return to school to work on those credentials.”

If you go

The AAUW Kitchen Tour begins Sunday at Jacobi’s Cafe, 416 N. Second Ave., where attendees can pick up their tour book and wristband noon-2 p.m. Self-guided tours go through 5 p.m. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at Jacobi’s.

Advance tickets are available at Brights Candies, Sweetwater Paper & Home, Earthlight Books, online and at Jacobi’s on Sunday. For more information call 509-520-9760 or click here.

AAUW assists with addressing sexual abuse in the military, and ending bullying and pay disparity because of gender bias. The organization also seeks to encourage women and girls to get inspired about science.

“We want to interest the girls in science before they’ve been told they have to look like Barbie dolls and can’t do math,” Ervin said.

The group holds its Great Exploration workshops for fifth-eighth-graders. These enable students to see and hear from women in the sciences, such as veterinarians, dentists, forensic pathologists, astronauts and others.

The Kitchen Tour helps the organization secure funding to reach out to help girls and women pursuing their educational goals.

“Locally, we help provide educational opportunities for girls through scholarships, for girls and women who have had a break in their education. We’ve just awarded eight $1,800 scholarships,” Jamison said. Scholarships are given based on academics and financial needs.

“There’s more need than there is money. Once you’ve stopped it’s hard to get going again,” Ervin said.

Jamison credits Winnie Graham with the original idea for the Kitchen Tour.

“She went on a kitchen tour on the West side and came back with the idea for the tour. She pioneered it,” Jamison said.

Now, the tour is an annual event, a fun thing for the community. It’s so popular that people volunteer their kitchens to be on the tour. And many new ideas for the kitchen have been tried on for size.

The event is a large financial undertaking, so this year the AAUW sold sponsorships to help with the financing.

“Last year we were able to net around $9,000,” Jamison said. However, they need signs, tour booklets and printing, and have other expenses. “We have to be mindful of controlling our costs and still look professional,” she said.

Local businesses and artists helped with that goal, donating items to be raffled and contributing their services. The tour booklet was created with design work donated by Kathy Foster. Jamison and Ervin give credit to sponsors Bunch Finnigan Appliance, Gary’s Paint & Decorating and t.h.e INTERIOR for their immense help with the tour.

The tour continues to evolve. New kitchens are featured each year, and the process is being refined. Jamison said they like to include a variety of homes — some old, some new construction, homes of differing sizes and styles — so there is something interesting for everyone. The tour is a great way to get ideas for what might work in your home, she said.

Karlene Ponti is the U-B specialty publications writer. She can be reached at 509-526-8324 or karleneponti@wwub.com.

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