Seattle Works

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

Welcome Katie – Our New Program Manager! April 26, 2012

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 6:27 pm

Hey all, I’m Katie and I’m Seattle Works’ new Program Manager! In my first few days, my only great achievement was not (yet) locking myself out of the building. What I can say about what’s to come is that I’ll be working closely with the rest of the SW team to build an exciting new program (stay tuned!) and continue working with our incredible volunteers and community partners to ensure that our programs are equipping you with all the tools you need to make a difference in your community.

How’d I get here? In typical Gen Y fashion, I think. After four years of drinking the Jesuit kool-aid at Seattle University, I finished undergrad knowing that I wanted to do work that would build a community excited about learning and service, but didn’t know what that work would entail. I started off organizing community legal service programs and volunteer projects for law students—while simultaneously studying museum education and volunteering as a museum docent. Neither scratched my professional itch sufficiently—I knew I needed something “bigger picture.” So, I took my interests in public service, education and social justice to New York City, where I completed my MA in Education Policy and worked to run an experimental after-school program in low-income schools. I became fascinated by the ways nonprofits, neighborhoods, and schools worked together to support students—and make their communities stronger.

… which is what ultimately brought me to Seattle Works. In 2011, after making my way back to Seattle, I signed up for the HandsOn Leadership program with the hope of building project management skills while volunteering with an education nonprofit serving local schools. In the process, I accidentally fell in love with the Seattle Works vision—a thriving community of actively engaged individuals. So, seven years after setting out the loose goal of finding a work that builds an engaged, service-minded community, I’m here at Seattle Works working to do just that. I couldn’t be more excited about the work/years ahead and look forward to getting to know all of you current and future Seattle Works friends!

What else about me? I’m a food nerd. I spent a summer working on a farm, now volunteer teaching cooking classes to elementary and middle school students, and think baking bread on a Sunday morning is the cure for all that ails. I grew up in Washington but my favorite place in the world is Coney Island—I love my co-op like a Seattleite and eat pizza like a New Yorker. My other dream job? Being Stevie Nicks.


HandsOn Leadership Helps Make MathFest a Success!

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead — seattleworks @ 12:21 pm

On Saturday, March 24th the Seattle Works HandsOn Leadership (HOL) team of 3: Anna, Bola, and Jessica participated in the 2012 Eastside MathFest, an interactive math-based event put on by Explorations Math.  The event features various games, with the main goal of making math fun for elementary age children.  The HOL team was involved in fine tuning the final details of the event, as well as focusing in the creation of a step-by-step publication to help any city interested in replicating MathFest.

Over 100 volunteers were present and there was also an impressive turnout of over 400 elementary aged kids. Prior to the big day, the HOL team was very active in seeking donations, acquiring the donations, getting volunteers, managing the volunteers as well as setup and tear down at the venue.

Another key contribution was geared towards being able to document the steps needed for hosting a MathFest, since the primary goal of this HOL team is putting together such a guidebook.

As such, it was extremely beneficial that we were able to actually SEE a MathFest as this will make documenting the guidebook easier.  The HOL team’s goal for the next month is to have an outline of the guidebook in place and to start conducting interviews with relevant staff members as we start to flesh out the guidebook.  It promises to be challenging and rewarding. We’re all looking forward to it!


-Anna and Bola



Want to get in on the HandsOn Leadership action? We’ve got another training session kicking off in May and another weekend option in June:



Seattle Works Hands On Leadership team: Anna Meneses, Bola Agbonile and Jessica Dust at the 2012 Explorations in Math Eastside MathFest.  


Welcome to our new HandsOn Leadership volunteers and partners! April 25, 2012

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead — seattleworks @ 4:24 pm


On Wednesday, April 18, fifteen volunteers and five community partner organizations came together to kick off our most recent set of HandsOn Leadership projects! Over the next 3-9 months, volunteers will leading five exciting new projects for organizations all over the Seattle area:

  • Conducting community outreach and recruiting and supporting volunteers to lead science activities for children at the Cascades Science Center Foundation
  • Procuring auction items and coordinating part of the annual auction for El Centro de la Raza
  • Using social media and online publications to raise awareness about local environmental issues and educate the public about the work of the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed
  • Collaborating with staff at Imagine Housing to develop a new curriculum for educational enrichment programs for children ages 5-12
  • Strategize marketing ideas in order to build awareness of the Leukemia Cup Regatta, an annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

We’re so excited to be working with these amazing volunteer leaders and organizations to support these projects in the coming months, and will continue to post updates on their progress!

Interested in partnering with a team of HandsOn Leadership team of volunteers to lead a project at your organization? Click here for more information about the program and the application process. Applications for the next project cycle are due May 17!

Want to be a HandsOn Leadership volunteer leader, or just take the course to develop your skills in project management and community engagement? The next round of weeknight training kicks off May 24, and we’re also offering a new weekend training starting on June 9! Click here for more information about the training course and opportunity to manage a community project.


Team Hops & Props Digs in at Marra Farm April 19, 2012

Filed under: Team Works,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 7:00 am

We are SO into it when Team Works teams start their own blogs.  Even better, this is a brand spanking new Team Works team, so they’ve never volunteered together before.  Now they’re volunteering and blogging!  Hops & Props – you officially have a fan club.

“What is the most important thing I learned? That there is another way of doing things, that there are people willing to do it and that anyone can contribute a little bit.”

Read their full story about volunteering at Marra Farm:


Seattle Works vs. Blackberries: No Contest April 17, 2012

Filed under: Volunteer — seattleworks @ 7:01 am

Our volunteers made The Friends of Madrona Woods’ blog!

Team Works team, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper is featured here… hangin’ with some blackberry.

The Friends of Madrona Woods stirve to restore the Woods to a healthy, natural state by removing non-native invasive plants and revegetating with diverse native plants and to make the Woods safe and accessible through an environmentally friendly trail system.

Thank you Friends of Madrona Woods for hosting such a great project!


Board Retreat… SW Style

Filed under: Board of Directors,Innovation Hub,Invest,Our Team — seattleworks @ 12:10 am

Every year our smart and hilarious Board of Directors ventures onto a ferry boat and heads out for a weekend away.  Not a weekend of relaxation, but a weekend of work.  Down and dirty, hard work… ok, and some fun too.

This year’s retreat goals?

1. Innovation Hub: inform the development of a two page snapshot due to HandsOn Network 4/15.

2. Build relationships.

3. Deepen board understanding of current programming, most notably HandsOn Leadership.


This year we returned to Camp Burton on Vashon Island.  The weather cleared up and so did the somewhat cloudy picture in our heads about what the Innovation Hub proposal would be.

We achieved many goals on this weekend away – including a ton of staff/board bonding time, a very entertaining role play on what our next program could look like and beating the heck out of a darth vader head shaped piñata.  Stay tuned!



The Coolest Way to Celebrate 30! April 16, 2012

Filed under: Seattle Works Day,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 5:33 pm

“Last summer, a friend was soliciting ideas for his wife’s 30th birthday, and I told him, “Just pick something she loves to do, invite her favorite people to do it with her, and she’ll be happy.” In her case, that would be eating hummus and exercising, so I’m glad he did not follow my advice.

But that got me thinking about my 30th birthday, in May 2012. I took the guesswork out of it for my husband, Tom, by telling him that I wanted to celebrate by volunteering.


I first learned about Seattle Works after moving here in 2007, and Hot Projects were my gateway drug to Team Works, the Bridge, and Seattle Works Day. It’s the combination of meeting fun and committed people, doing tangible and measurable good, and connecting with community organizations that make SW so appealing to me.

So when it came to planning my big 3-0, I knew that SWD would be perfect. Good timing, plus the free food and drink means that I don’t even have to clean the house and cook dinner order pizza for everyone. I’m looking forward to introducing some new friends to the organization and to the joy that is spending a few hours on a Saturday giving back to the community.

Look for Team Turkey Sub on May 19 – I will be the one with the huge smile on my face, doing something I love with my favorite people.”   

-Holly Wyrwich

Sign up for Seattle Works Day and join us:

You can form your own team, or join the Seattle Works team!