Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

Follow the Leader. Become the Leader. January 22, 2011

Filed under: Hot Projects,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 12:08 am
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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., last Monday was a day of service and we sent three teams of volunteers out to the Rainier Valley Food Bank, Multifaith Works and MEOW Cat Rescue.

Rainier Valley Food Bank is going through some very exciting transitions and we were able to meet them for the first time at this project. We hope it will be the beginning of a great partnership! We had volunteers scrubbing, mopping, stocking shelves, cleaning doors, painting doors, reorganizing the entire warehouse, arranging the shelves to be more useable, painting donation barrels, spraying food crates, and going through food to keep or compost. We made it a brighter, warmer place for people to feel like they are entering a respectable and welcoming facility to get food for their families.

      

Kelly, a very dedicated Seattle Works volunteer was at this project and as we were reorganizing the warehouse, moving boxes of food together all of a sudden, Kelly came across a Northwest Harvest box that said “Beans 25.” She said “Oh my gosh, I packaged this box at Northwest Harvest…I remember when they asked us to write ‘Beans 25’ on the side of the box.” She was able to see her work at another site come full-circle and help out at a place that needed the food.

Cue the goosebumps.

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Work smarter instead of harder. January 18, 2011

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 6:35 pm
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That is one of our new mantras of 2011!

One of the many ways that we’re applying this not-so-new idea is with our Bridge faculty.  We would not be able to offer The Bridge without the help of our volunteer trainers who teach coursework on:

  • Financial and legal responsibilities
  • Governance structures
  • Fundraising and public budgeting
  • Personal reflection
  • Exposure to organizations looking for new board members

In the past we have had a pool of qualified trainers to teach these different sections of the Bridge, and depending on people’s schedules and availability we would coordinate the trainers for a complete Bridge session.  This approach worked well and resulted in wonderful Bridge sessions, but understandably so, each volunteer has schedules, time constraints and workloads that can influence the ability to serve … aka real life happens.

Here comes the work smarter game plan:  To help avoid conflicts and burnout as well as provide more opportunities to engage more people, we are creating a faculty of 3 – 4 trainers per topic to commit to the program each year. The faculty will work together to develop curriculum, powerpoint presentations, activities, etc. on their coursework. This ensures consistent, helpful and engaging content from one training to the next!

Bridge faculty kicked off last week with an orientation session, but it’s not too late to get involved if you’re interested.  Email Tegan (Tegan@seattleworks.org) now though, because work is starting!

 

What can you do in two hours? January 12, 2011

Filed under: Team Works,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 11:10 pm
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Produce about 10,000 pounds of dry beans to supply about 2,857 family services? 

How about completing about 9,900 pounds of variety food boxes for food banks which will provide about 2,828 family services?

Didn’t think so much could be done in such a short time?  The hardworking Team Works team, Sleepless in Seattle did that and more during their December project at Northwest Harvest.  We know our volunteers are impressive, but wowza those are some big numbers.

 

 

Special shout out to our partners over at Northwest Harvest that always do a great job working with our volunteer teams, not to mention all the incredible work they are doing throughout Washington State to eliminate hunger.  http://www.northwestharvest.org

 

The A Team Brings Their A Game January 11, 2011

Filed under: Team Works,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 12:33 am
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The A Team saves the world once again. No, I’m not talking about Mr. T, though maybe someone on their team could grow a Mohawk.  The A Team is a well-seasoned Team Works team who have been volunteering together for at least six rounds of Team Works. That’s a total of 24 Saturdays they’ve spent together and they still continue to learn and spread the word about great organizations in our community. Recently the team went to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library and came back with glowing comments about the organization.

For someone who is blind or unable to read standard print media, it means a life without being able to read books, magazines, newspapers, even the computer screen. But the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library makes it possible for people of Washington State to access all of this material by serving the entire state and processing 10,000 talking books a week!

They don’t stop there! They also have a radio show on which they read the entire newspaper on air every day. According to Laura, the Team Captain of The A Team, “they are an exemplary social service organization” and while they were volunteering there, “[they] felt like the work was really important.”

And a shout out to all Seattle Works volunteers: the coordinator at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library expressed that the volunteers from Seattle Works are essentially worth about 18 full-time employees.

Nice work!

**Photos taken by A Team member Jesse Stanley (http://www.jessestanley.com)

 

Tegan and Kathleen go to georgia! January 6, 2011

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 7:08 pm
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In the three months we’ve been here, we (Tegan and Kathleen) have discovered that there are a lot of perks about being AmeriCorps members.  Other than the obvious—a job at Seattle Works—we’ve stumbled upon discounted memberships at the YMCA and a free t-shirt here and there.  But maybe the most exciting AmeriCorps perk so far has been the HandsOn Network’s National AmeriCorps Conference in Georgia that we attended at the beginning of November. 

When we found out that we were being flown to Atlanta for a conference, we were both excited for the possibilities that our first “business trip” would bring.  When we found out we would be participating in team building activities like Global Village, a poverty simulation experience, and a ropes course, we were even more excited (and a little hesitant).  In exchange for the Marriott Hotel digs that usually come with conferences, we were placed in cabins, each of us claiming one of the seven bunk beds available.  Between presentations, we ate in a mess hall and had numerous camp fires complete with s’mores. Welcome to Camp AmeriCorps. 

 

Our first unique experience, Global Village, gave us a tiny glimpse into the lives of people living in poverty in developing countries.  We ate very little, were assigned manual labor tasks such as wall construction or brick making and slept in huts modeled after Haitian villages.  Unfortunately, Atlanta was experiencing “unseasonably cold” weather, so we endured a very chilly night sleeping practically outside in below freezing temperatures.  Burrrr. 

While one day and night living in simulated poverty definitely does not paint the whole picture, it did raise some important questions for us to reflect on: 

How valuable is the idea of hope? 

Did the fact that we saw our way out make it easier to endure?   

Could I have had the energy to build a fire and prepare a meal if I were alone after a long day? 

How important is community, in both the practical sense and in terms of emotional support? 

Ultimately, Global Village didn’t give us all of the answers about the realities of poverty, but it inspired important moments of reflection on the basic things we take for granted and illuminated why it’s so important to foster a sense of hope and caring in all of our communities. 

After some ample time for rest and some more Georgia sweet tea, we were onto our next challenge: THE ROPES COURSE.  Neither of us had done a ropes course since we were in middle school (somehow it seemed easier back then).  After climbing to heights of 40 feet and swinging from various ropes and wooden obstacles, we both awoke the next morning with some sore muscles we didn’t even know existed. It was a rewarding team building experience that showed how something as simple as going a little higher than you thought you could can be a really empowering moment.  Just think how it relates to our Lead programming—encouraging people to take the next step in volunteering can be hard, but when people do take on the challenge, they are often met with rewarding leadership experiences.

Overall, the “Camp AmeriCorps” conference was a success!  We met interesting people from all across the country, and were inspired by HandsOn Network’s suggestions for making the most out of our years’ of service.  Between the excitement of the outdoors, we learned about some valuable resources and tools for getting people engaged that we hope to bring to the Seattle Works table in the coming months.  Keep an eye out for some of those things around MLK Jr. Day!