Seattle Works

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

HandsOn projects are in–are you ready to take the lead? February 26, 2014

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead,Uncategorized — seattleworks @ 1:47 pm

So you’ve done the one-day volunteering thing for a while and now you’re ready to get your hands even (metaphorically) dirtier, right? Well we’ve got four new HandsOn Leadership projects waiting for you!

As Ben mentioned last week, we’ve got some new surprises in store for this round of HandsOn Leadership that will make you a rockstar volunteer project manager–and an even stronger leader. Our in-class time will use real-life projects from local nonprofits to build your skills and help you get to know your classmates. If you get attached to your project during the class, you’ll have the option to continue working on it with your team!

So, what are the projects?

Create an irresistible silent auction for the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association gala! Hamilton Friends helps high-achieving, low-income students make the successful transition from high school to college and beyond. This year, they’re hoping to raise $10,000 in the silent auction to support their work–the HandsOn Leadership team will help procure the items they need to make this year’s auction bigger and better than ever!

Be the Directors of Fun at the Arthritis Foundation’s summer camp for kids! The Arthritis Foundation’s KAT-FISH Camp is an annual family camp for kids and teens with arthritis. The HandsOn Leadership team will serve on the camp’s planning committee and plan all of the social activities for camp–think games, entertainment, icebreakers, talent shows and more!

Get Seattle to Walk Like MADD! Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash 5k is a run/walk that engages victims, survivors and supporters to raise awareness about impaired driving and underage drinking. The HandsOn Leadership team will help MADD develop a plan to spread the word about the Dash and get more Seattleites involved!

Throw a party for young donors at Imagine Housing! Imagine Housing is the only nonprofit in East King County dedicated solely to providing affordable housing for the lowest-income families. Their work is supported primarily through donors–and Millennials play a critical part. The HandsOn Leadership team will plan and throw an event to get young donors excited about Imagine Housing!

HandsOn Leadership starts Weds 3/12–are you ready to learn and lead? Need more info? Check out our website, or contact Ben and Katie.



HandsOn Leadership gets a facelift February 13, 2014

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead,Training — seattleworks @ 5:03 pm
Tags: ,

Every once and a while we must take a step back and look at our programming and identify ways in which we can improve the content, structure and overall feel. Some nip and tuck is sometimes the result of this type of evaluation.

Over the past several weeks Katie and I have been working hard to better understand how to prepare HandsOn Leadership participants with the tools and skills for completing projects with a nonprofit organization. And of course, in true Seattle Works form, figure out ways in which to make the training as interactive as possible.

We are excited to share with you the new and improved HandsOn Leadership:

Session One: Who are you as a leader?

The first session is all about getting to know others and getting to know yourself as a leader. Participants identify the project that is of most interest to them and are split into teams. Through interactive activities, you’ll learn about different work styles, practices in leadership and how you react to conflict.

Session Two: How do you manage a project in a nonprofit?

We walk you through how to work with nonprofits, breaking through some of the stereotypes, common misconceptions and the basics of how the nonprofit sector operates. You’ll get some project management best practices and have time to work with your team and representative from the project nonprofit on how to apply what you’ve learned so far.

Session Three: How do you put it all together?

Before coming up with your next steps and outline your project workplan, you’ll gain some more insights in project management. With plenty of team time to put everything you’ve learned to practice, you’ll present your plan to the group.

Next Steps: Execute the project!

Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll have next steps and a basic workplan to start your project with the nonprofit you’d been working on. Attend an orientation session with your nonprofit partner and new team to brainstorm how you’ll tackle your project–and then you’re off! You’ll work with your team to manage all aspects of the project on whatever schedule you decide works for you over the course of the following months. Seattle Works will check in along the way, but this is your chance to really put your skills as a leader and project manager to work!

So there you have it! Our new and improved HandsOn Leadership. I know you want to be part of it!

Sign up for HandsOn Leadership today! Our next series is Wed 3/12, 3/19 & 3/26, 6-9pm!


And our HandsOn Leadership teams are off! November 21, 2013

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead — seattleworks @ 5:48 pm

Last night marked the kickoff of our fall round of HandsOn Leadership projects–and we are so excited for the work these teams are about to accomplish. What will they be up to in the next few months? Well, last night they created mission statements for their projects–here’s what they came up with:

HOL Fall 2013 Teams 1

Helping Link
Helping Link assists Vietnamese immigrants in their effort to settle in their new country, strengthen the Vietnamese community and promote cultural harmony in Seattle. They use volunteers to provide ESL, parenting, job readiness, and computer literacy training; tutoring; youth leadership opportunities; citizenship assistance; and community building events. Helping Link also sponsors the Tet in Seattle Festival every year–at which the work of our HandsOn Leadership team will be displayed this year.

Project Mission: Create a visual exhibit to increase community awareness of services Helping Link provides and opportunities for the community to get involved in. The visual exhibit will be diverse, to serve  various events and purposes.

HOL Fall 2013 Teams 2Youth In Focus
Youth In Focus empowers urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives. Youth In Focus puts cameras in the hands of low income, at-risk youth and places them in a challenging environment surrounded by high quality talented teachers and nurturing adult volunteer mentors. They’ve graduated over 2,800 youth from their free program–and exhibits student photography all over the Seattle area.  The HandsOn Leadership team will help Youth In Focus reach out to new venues and work to schedule several student shows this winter and spring.

Project Mission: Establish sustainable relationships in the community in order to increase awareness and exposure by securing space, nurturing current relationships, and building new ones to showcase students’ work.

Want to learn more about HandsOn Leadership? Check out our website! HandsOn Leadership runs twice a year–and our next round kicks off in March 2014!




Why your organization needs a HandsOn Leadership team October 4, 2013

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership — seattleworks @ 1:15 pm


Most of our nonprofit partners know Seattle Works best for sending in crews of hard-working volunteers to tackle all of their best done-in-a-day projects–but did you know we train project managers to take on 3-6 month projects at these organizations, too?
That’s right–we have teams of project managers ready to tackle your organization’s to-do list. Through our HandsOn Leadership program, Seattle Works takes volunteers who want to take their service to the next level, and equips them with the skills they need to make your organization’s projects a reality. What have our HandsOn Leadership teams accomplished? They’ve:

  • Planned and managed the building of outdoor classrooms and playgrounds at a local schools and childcare centers
  • Helped organizations define and expand their volunteer recruitment and training strategies
  • Created outreach materials and developed social media and communications plans

And so much more! Are you ready for a HandsOn Leadership team? Great! In exchange for a team of trained project managers, we ask that project hosts:

  • Provide a vision for a 3-6 month project with a clear start and end date, mission and deliverables
  • Have the resources to support and manage a team and provide access to these resources for the duration of the project

Our Fall 2013 HandsOn Leadership projects kick off on November 20 and we’re accepting project applications until October 14. If you’re interested in learning more or would like the link to our application page, contact Katie Tiehen at



Kallie Hinton is a volunteer commitment-phobe no more! April 30, 2013

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership — seattleworks @ 2:38 pm

Guest post by HandsOn Leadership volunteer Kallie Hinton

I have thought a lot about volunteering over the past decade. I’ve been moved and inspired by stories of volunteers’ good works. I’ve browsed through many websites and brochures searching for engaging volunteer opportunities. Every once in a while, I volunteered a few hours of my time here and there, but I couldn’t seem to commit to a long-term volunteer project.

The HandsOn Leadership course motivated me to make a long-term volunteer commitment. My experience with HandsOn provided me with rewarding and edifying volunteer experiences. In the course I learned the fundamentals of how nonprofit organizations work. The knowledge I gained in the course gave me a greater appreciation for the organizations I would eventually volunteer with after the course completion. I learned new project management skills which have helped me in my nonprofit work, as well as my everyday happenings. (I schedule almost everything now, and I finally understand that five minutes late, is, well late.) I also learned how to best utilize my existing skills and personality traits in my nonprofit work.

I became aware of Seattle Works and the HandsOn program through a suggestion from a friend. In October I relocated to Seattle from the Midwest, and I was looking for a way to become involved in the community. Because of my volunteering experiences, I now feel connected to my new community and the nonprofits I volunteer with.

Through HandsOn, I am presently volunteering with two nonprofits, The World is Fun and Helping Link. At the World is Fun, I am helping to create a week-long arts project featuring international graffiti artists who will paint large-scale murals in Seattle. At Helping Link, I am currently asking potential sponsors for investments to ensure the stability of our computer and language literacy programs that educate and empower Vietnamese refugees.

I’m happy to say HandsOn has given me fulfilling volunteer experiences that I had hoped for. I am a volunteer commitment-phobe no more.

Kallie is a copy editor, writer and volunteer. Since she has moved to Seattle she has been hopped up on caffeine, she has lost at least 4 umbrellas, and she now knows what a ‘real’ mountain looks like.


Spotlight on HandsOn Leadership’s Greg and Henry April 25, 2013

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership — seattleworks @ 7:51 am

In honor of national volunteer week we’re spotlight some of our awesome and outstanding volunteers! Greg Altmann and Henry Cheath graduated HandsOn Leadership in the fall of 2012. They immediately jumped into work with Shoreline Community College’s Parent Child Center on building a playground that was also an outdoor learning space. Despite obstacles the team has always preserved and is making great progress.

I contacted Darlene Bakes who is supervising the team to ask if she would write a few words about them. This is what she had to say:

Greg: It is obvious that when Greg commits to something he takes it very serious! His leadership skills have really made a positive impact on the upward success of the project. We also appreciate his technology expertise and organization  skills. We are grateful to have Greg on our team. His support in helping to create a natural playscape for young children will benefit our families and community for many years to come.

Henry: His positive attitude and energy is great! Henry’s easy going demeanor and interest in the project has been very helpful. We are lucky to have Henry on our team. His curiosity regarding the various components of outside play materials has been helpful. Henry’s support of the natural playscape project is helping us to move forward with the  many stages needed to complete project.


Need Skills for a New Job? Volunteer! March 27, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,HandsOn Leadership — seattleworks @ 11:04 am

Guest post by HandsOn Leadership volunteer Christine McMullin.

My husband and I touched down in Seattle on a chilly December night with one suitcase, our cat, and his offer letter from Amazon.

In Chicago, I was a well-connected professional, who had an extensive network and lots and LOTS of connections. But, in Chicago, I didn’t like my job. So, here, without connections, it was time to make a fresh start as clean as the Puget Sound.

What was my plan? Volunteer, of course.

Amping Up Your Skills

If there was one thing I had learned from volunteer projects with my Young Professionals Association and Taproot Service Grants, it was that you can get so much exposure from volunteering just a few hours of your time.

Taproot emphasizes “probono” work instead of volunteering, which is the model that I ascribe to. When you are doing probono work, you are exercising skills you already have, while stretching them in new ways. You are also showcasing your skills to a completely different audience than you have before.

For me, I wanted to segue from writing and editing into content strategy, which is a bigger version of editorial guidance for all digital materials. With some help from and the Seattle HandsOn Network Leadership training in January, I was ready to go!

Teching Up My Portfolio, For a Good Cause

After my training, I chose to work on the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s project to recruit volunteers to expand their reach to girls who don’t have the traditional mom or grandma available to lead troops or volunteer at events. They especially want to recruit the coveted Millennial group. What a worthy cause and just perfect for me to try out my newly minted content strategy skills.

Since I’m a volunteer, I have the luxury of a little more time on projects. That means that I have some wiggle room if I’m not sure how to do something. Making a mistake in a high-pressure job might mean I get fired. With this project, I can learn from my mistakes and do it better the next time.

And, learning by doing, especially for such a worthy cause, means that I understand concepts in action, instead of just theory. Girl Scouts gets something it could not produce alone. I get experience.

My (very supportive) team at the Girl Scouts has been very pleased with our progress so far. And, with pieces of the project going up on my LinkedIn, my profile has been looked at and shown up in more searches lately. When I go on informational interviews, I send some samples from my Girl Scouts work ahead and people are incredibly impressed.

So, I’m confident that, when the right job comes along, I’ll be ready. And I’ll owe a lot of what I talk about in the interview to the Girl Scouts and HandsOn Leadership training.

Want to help us in our mission to recruit Millennials? Take a few minutes to take our survey. We’ll be eternally grateful!

Of course, if you’d just like to volunteer, see what Girl Scouts has available here. Or take HandsOn Leadership yourself!

Christine is a ghostwriter and university instructor of writing when she’s not busy volunteering and learning new skills. You can connect with her on Twitter @CMcMChatter