Seattle Works

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

We won an Innovation Award! Hooray Us! September 22, 2011

Filed under: Innovation Hub,Invest,Our Team,Swank — seattleworks @ 9:02 pm
Tags: ,

I know it’s tacky to toot your own horn, but every now and again don’t you think it’s appropriate?  We’re just so proud and honored.

Seattle Works has been named one of ten national Innovation Hubs by HandsOn Network, on the basis of our strong organizational leadership and proven track record as a volunteer connector and a source of new community leaders. Hot damn!

“Innovation Hubs will be learning labs for community engagement,” said Amy Smith, president of HandsOn Network. “These HandsOn Action Centers will be supported to drive innovation, build strong leadership and be ready to advance the mission of HandsOn through newly acquired skills and knowledge.

Read more about what this award means for Seattle Works! Innovation Hub Press Release (pdf)

We’re celebrating this awesomeness at Swank this year – so grab your tickets and join us!


Team Works team with their own blog! September 21, 2011

Filed under: Team Works,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 6:33 pm

A few of the Team works teams have their own blogs so we can hear their stories straight from them!

Here’s an example of over and above. Check out this team that went camping together! Incredible.

Want to meet cool people, volunteer at a variety of different organizations and have a little fun on the side?  Team Works registration is open now!


Volunteer Team heads to Trinidad to help build a house! September 20, 2011

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead,Service Trips — seattleworks @ 5:00 pm

Last week, Juli Genovesi and myself, both Hands on Leadership graduates had the pleasure of leading a group of 6 volunteers on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village build in Trinidad.

The idea for this trip started last December as the capstone for Juli’s HOL class and I got looped in soon thereafter.  While we initially looked at builds within the US we eventually got more ambitious and landed on Trinidad because of it’s interesting culture and acute need for housing help.  The following eight months were a whirlwind as we took trainings from Habitat, sorted out tons of logistics, recruited volunteers, and threw a few large scale fund raising events including a benefit concert at the Triple Door (thanks to Juli’s amazing musical connections).

With everything in place, our team of 8, finally headed off for Trinidad on the 3rd of September.  We arrived on the island on Saturday, and got to spend our first night at a small hotel on the outskirts of the capital, Port of Spain.  The next morning we woke up early, grabbed breakfast, and set off for our build site in the southern town of Point Fortin, known to the locals as just “Point”.

In Point we had a small guest house to ourselves including three rooms and a common area.  The local habitat office rep, Sharlin, was with us the whole time there and went out of her way to make our experience amazing.

Our first day involved seeing the build site and meeting the future homeowners we’d be helping: Melissa Brown and her husband.  We then got to enjoy a little fun on the beach to relax and get ready for our hard work ahead.

Each weekday, we’d get up at 7AM, eat breakfast which was provided by the Habitat affiliate, then head out to the site.  By 8:30 we would meet our foreman, Marcus Lucas, a habitat contractor, and start on the tasks for the day.  While the logistics and planning were not as rigorous as one may expect in the US, the whole team adapted well and went with flow.  Our goal was to get as far as we could on the foundation and included straightening up a trench, building re-bar for the hole by bending steel using our hands, then filling the entire ditch with hand mixed and bucket carried concrete.  In 95 degree heat with high humidity it was very taxing work for us Seattlites who’re not used to seeing the sun at all. Any cloud cover we got was a welcome break and passing showers provided us with a bit of relief as well.  The best part of the experience was being able to work alongside the family members whom we were building for as it made our impact more appreciable.  We really gelled as a team and by the end of the week exceed expectations by finishing the entire foundation.

After each workday, we had time to wonder around town and get a sense of the local scene.  We went to grocery stores, hung out in coffee shops, and even became addicted to the local street food called “doubles” which were served out of the back of a station wagon in the center of town.  One night we went us out as a team and got to experience a student steel drum group perform local music.

On Friday night, we went back to Port of Spain and took a one day excursion on Saturday to Tobago, a more touristy island.  While there we lounged on the beach and got to go snorkeling near a reef.  It was a welcome respite after a tough week of manual labor.  We returned to Trinidad that same evening, had a farewell ceremony hosted by the country’s Habitat affiliate, then woke up early the next morning to fly back to Seattle.

All in all, our Habitat for Humanity GV trip to Trinidad was an amazing experience.  It was a perfect mix of volunteering, immersion in the local culture, and a bit of vacationing.  While it was definitely challenging at times, with the skills we acquired in Hands on Leadership, Juli and I were set up well to plan and execute on this broad project.


And what do you know, we’ve got another service trip option coming up in November in Nicaragua if this sounds like something you’d want to do!


Meet Austin – a Bridge grad! September 19, 2011

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 11:44 pm

In November 2010, Seattle Works introduced me to a variety of board service opportunities through the Bridge. I had served on the founding board of directors for DeafACT, inc. in Texas, but I wasn’t sure how to get engaged in the Seattle community since moving here over two years ago.

Eager to jump into volunteer service after completing the Bridge, I soon joined the Social Venture Partners (SVP) Seattle as a partner donor. I was captivated by SVP’s mission of bringing philanthropic leaders together to strengthen local nonprofits through capacity building. SVP empowers other nonprofits to develop a solid infrastructure in areas such as legal, HR, and IT. This approach, designed to accelerate system-wide social change, appealed to me because I could contribute my skills to and also learn from the capacity building process.

After volunteering for an SVP grant selection committee, planning and co-presenting at the spring partner meeting, and attending a Collective Impact conference, I was excited to get even more involved. My passion for the people and the organization has continued to grow, and I was pleasantly surprised when a current board member asked me 7 months later to consider joining the board.

As I explored the opportunity, I remembered what the Bridge taught me about questions I should ask myself and the other board members before making a final decision. After meeting with two of the current board members, I was sold, and I’m excited to join SVP Seattle’s board!

SVP’s board is a great fit for me because I can learn from experienced board members while also bringing a fresh voice to the board as a relatively new partner donor and young professional. I look forward to developing my skills by contributing to the finance and outreach board committees. Now I can directly apply what I learned about nonprofit finance in the Bridge.

Congratulations Austin! We’re so glad you found the right fit.

Looking to step up your community leadership? We have a Bridge training course starting this week and if you hurry you can have one of the open spots!


Welcome AmeriCorps Team! September 13, 2011

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 10:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

Join us in welcoming our three new members to the Seattle Works team.

Meet Ellen!

Hi everyone! My name is Ellen and I’m the Project Management Coordinator. I’ll be coordinating the HandsOn Leadership Program, and am really excited about the opportunity to support volunteers and partner organizations in developing and implementing long-term projects.

One interesting thing about me is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to come up with a good way to respond to the question Where are you from? To give the shortest answer possible, here’s a list of the places where I’ve lived, in no particular order: New York, Thailand, Washington D.C., Germany, Virginia, Cameroon, Pennsylvania, Ecuador, Minnesota, and now Seattle. I just moved here in June after graduating in May from Teachers College, Columbia University, where I got my M.A. in International Educational Development and wrote my thesis on social justice in international volunteer service. I’ve slowly been adjusting to a lifestyle that doesn’t involve spending ridiculous amounts of time in the library, and so far I’ve really been enjoying getting to know the West Coast.

Prior to grad school, I taught elementary and high school students in several of the countries listed above (including a year teaching English in Ecuador as a WorldTeach volunteer and ten summers teaching German at Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota). I’ve also worked with non-profits in the U.S. and in Cameroon, West Africa, managing projects related to K-12 global education, international volunteerism, and human rights. Before I discovered my interest in all things international and education-related, however, I was an English major and Theater minor at Franklin & Marshall College, where I worked as a stage manager for three years during undergrad. I love managing projects, working to connect individuals and organizations, and learning about the ways in which people everywhere are working to improve their communities and the world through service and education–so Seattle Works seems like the perfect place for me. I’m so happy to be here and am really looking forward to getting to know this amazing community!

Meet Page!

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of the Seattle Works team!  Growing up in a small, Midwestern town and attending the University of Illinois I often hoped to try out a more urban and mountainous area. So, here I am! My time working with Seattle works and exploring the city has been fabulous so far and I can see this city quickly feeling like home.

During my time in college I was a Psychology major and continued to take English and French classes as well, because I enjoyed them so much. Through my work in psychology I was able to lead psycho-educational workshops and also lead training sessions for the LGBT Ally Network in the campus community.  Doing this type of educational work is something that I’m very passionate about and I can’t wait to delve into The Bridge program and help connect people with organizations and resources that will enhance their ability to give back to the community.

On a personal note, after spending an exchange year in France, anything francophone related (or food related, for that matter) will normally spark my interest. I’m also interested in reading, running, painting, and guitar playing. And now that I’m no longer land-locked in central Illinois, I can say that I like long strolls on the beach! I’m looking forward to getting to know you all further and being an active member of the Seattle Works community.

Meet Jenna!

My name is Jenna. I just moved here from Chicago and was lucky enough to start at Seattle Works as Volunteer Program Coordinator soon after
arriving.  I was drawn away from terrible Midwest winters to Seattle because of how different and new I felt this area of the country would feel.
Thus far, I have (happily) been proven correct. While still in Chicago I completed my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to my highly theory-based studies, I became interested in organizing events and leading my campus feminist organization. Hence, my newest endeavor with Seattle Works!

When I’m not working diligently for the volunteering cause, I can be found riding my Raleigh Reliant bike, looking for punk shows around town, or scoping out delicious vegan food joints. I also spend my time baking, reading political philosophy and sewing. The Next Big Thing hopefully coming up in my life is adopting a dog, something I’ve been waiting to do for a few years now.

After my Americorps tenure I hope to return to grad school to learn more about encouraging policy-making that comes from a more  understanding and positive position on issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Welcome to Seattle and to Seattle Works – we’re so glad to have you!


Want to know what happy and excited looks like? September 7, 2011

Filed under: Swank — seattleworks @ 9:53 pm

Yep.  This is it:

We just picked up the mail and immediately broke out into applause because what do you know…  a check was included! Thank you to our friends at the Banyan Branch who are sponsors of our annual gala, Swank this year!  Banyan Branch is a Seattle-based social media agency who knows a good sponsorship when they see one.

Wanna get in on the sponsorship action?