Wednesday, June 28, 2017 This Week's Paper

Scrabble Rousers use words to raise funds

When the Tacoma Community House (TCH) was trying to come up with a new fundraiser for their Student Scholarship Fund about a year ago, the organization knew a few elements were necessary. The non-profit seemed to encapsulate all their needs while still keeping things fun with the advent of the Scrabble Rousers series.

Hana Kato, development and communications associate for TCH expounded upon their needs. "The consensus was that we needed a smaller fundraiser that would engage the community in intimate events that are focused on promoting literacy." The ties to Scrabble Rousers just made sense, and the event was modeled after Seattle's gay bingo, which has a drag personality as its host, Kato said. TCH has many other fundraisers throughout the year, but Scrabble Rousers is unique in that it keeps things personal and makes the cause more relevant to players.

TCH has been trying to hold Scrabble Rousers events during fun holidays, such as their last event, which was held on Cinco de Mayo, and their upcoming event, which will take place on Bastille Day. It makes it easier for people to remember and allows for some interesting theme and food elements to be interspersed with the event. "The food we have is always based around the theme, like salsa and chips for Cinco de Mayo. For Bastille Day, we'll have cheese and maybe croissants," Kato affirmed.

King's books' own sweet pea is the emcee and face for the event, Kato said. "(He's) a literate gentleman and a lot of fun, and we thought it would make a lot of sense to make him the personality. This will be his third time hosting an event."

On game days, participants come in and sign up according to their skill level. TCH wants a mix of skill levels - not just the hardcore players, so players can choose whether or not they fit on beginning, intermediate or expert levels. There are also a series of other word games such as Boggle, Balderdash and Quiddler, available for players to warm up with. Individuals are set up in brackets and paired off. They play two games for 45 minutes each with a break in between.

At the last Rousers event, players hit a pinata made into the shape of a Scrabble tile and took part in other silly events to get to know each other in between rounds. The second game then takes place and after, prizes are awarded. Some awards are related to the holiday, for example, this Bastille Day, a French hat will be awarded, as well as Scrabble dictionaries, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons, patches, as well as some donations from local businesses such as gift certificates from the Grand Cinema and King's Books.

The events have been garnering between 30-40 people thus far, and as a result are small enough to remain intimate, yet also large enough to be fun and challenging. One goal of the series is to allow adults to get out and play. "The theme for the series is 'let your mischievous child out to play,'" Kato affirmed. The event is slowly growing, though, and TCH loves the setting that King's Books allows.

One of the most important elements to Scrabble Rousers is the promotion of TCH's Student Scholarship Fund, and the raising of money for students in a transitional phase of their educational careers.

"That fund is interesting in that it was run by a committee of students," Kato said. "They keep a pot of money and students select how they'll divvy it out to students. When people are transitioning from TCH to college, they need money for gas, bus tickets, or books, so these are small scholarships for those needs."

The next Scrabble Rousers event will take place on Tuesday, July 14 from 6:30-9 p.m. at King's Books, located at 218 St. Helens Ave. Admission for participants is $10, to support the scholarship fund. For more information about Scrabble Rousers, contact Derrick Rhayn via phone at (253) 383-3951 or email at