Seattle Works

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

Hi, my name is Jessica! November 15, 2013

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 3:37 pm
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Hello Seattle Works! My name is Jessica Frederick and I am joining the community as the Development and Communications Manager!

Volunteerism was my first step through the door to the nonprofit sector. Growing up, my family deeply valued community involvement; whether it was with the Girl Scouts of America or the Seattle Shakespeare Company, my childhood was full of rich, meaningful volunteer activities.

Deciding to pursue volunteerism professionally, I joined the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Volunteer Coordinator. “Do you want to sign up for a Nutcracker performance?” is still a regressive go-to for starting a conversation. (No really, do you?)

I am thrilled to connect with this amazing organization, and our many nonprofit partners and community stakeholders, and I want to know what you value and prize in your own connection to Seattle Works.

Non-professionally, I just had a huge revelation the other day getting to know a co-worker. His challenge? He could decipher my personality by the TV shows I watched. I rattled off the list: Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Boardwalk Empire, The 329_604943022278_9734_nLeague/Workaholics, Archer, etc. After a thoughtful pause, he returned with the assessment, “so you’re a frat guy.”

Frat guy.

Somewhere, a mental “ding-ding-ding!” sounded and I came to the fabulous realization that, indeed, this sci-fi-nerdy, arts-obsessed girl was indeed, half-frat guy. So let’s grab a coffee, talk sports (Go Hawks, Dawgs, Sounders!), and get to know why Seattle Works is important to you.

Phone: 206.324.0808 ext 6


HandsOn Affiliates Gather, Sharing is Caring October 8, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,HandsOn Network,Our Team — seattleworks @ 4:22 pm

Last Thursday, Seattle Works, HandsOn Greater Portland, and the United Way of King County Volunteer Center gathered at UWKC for an all day joint staff retreat. We mixed, we mingled and we shared ideas.

What ties us all together? We have one common goal: engaging volunteers in our communities. Through the HandsOn Network, volunteer centers across the country are connected with each other in our efforts to make an impact. Whether it be one-off volunteer opportunities like Hot Projects; volunteering with a team of friends through Team Works; or training the next wave of volunteer leaders in board service or volunteer leadership.

All of our organizations differ, of course, but we help each other out, sharing resources, ideas and even program models.

Our day started out with  an icebreaker (duh! I think you all know how much we love icebreakers!) and moved into “What’s Up with your Center?” During this session we all shared about our programs, staffing structure, philosophy around engaging volunteers and what is unique about our organization. Let me tell you right now, all three of us are pretty rad!

We then broke out into affinity groups the rest of the day focusing on: Agency Support & Relationships, Training & Leadership Development, Events & Days of Service, Volunteer Centers in United Ways, Social Media, Disaster Preparedness, and a few others. It was a full day of hearing best practices, what hasn’t worked for other centers and overall resource sharing.

We had a blast getting to know some of our colleagues in the region. Thanks to HandsOn Greater Portland for traveling to Seattle and to UWKC for hosting us! We had a blast getting to know everyone and look forward to the many more opportunities to gather in the future!


Wishing #SWBevin a Fond Farewell September 11, 2013

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 11:56 am

Say it ain’t so! After nearly four years of outstanding service, Bevin Wong is moving on up to the next phase of her career.

And because no one likes a boo-hoo blog post, least of all the ever-sunny Bevin, we’re going to focus on all the good that has come of her time on our staff. Including…

Four Seattle Works Days! That’s about 4,500 volunteers, $260,000 in support for Seattle Works and an unfathomable number of t-shirts, tacos and keg cups.

A truckload of corporate projects! From Starbucks to Starwood she’s delivered outstanding customer service and connected our partners with high quality volunteer days.

– Three “Rock Star” Campaigns! Before 2010, we had never raised a significant amount of money from individual donors (other than current and former board members) outside of our events. Over the past three years our annual campaign has grown to raising $17,000 from more than 250 donors, fueled by an enthusiastic army of SW volunteers asking their networks to invest in us.

One website conversion! (thanks for not quitting then B.)

Three election seasons! We’ve improv’d, we’ve trivia’d, and we’ve mixed and mingled with the goal to connect YOU with the candidates and issues on your ballot.

Approximately 156 Weekly Updates! Plus eblasts, plus fb posts, plus tweets, plus blogs. Best of all, Bevin honed her craft as our online content lead and then trained and mobilized everyone our on team to communicate as Seattle Works across our channels.

Though it all, Bevin has been one incredible team player. It’s not just about what Bevin has done, it’s how she’s done it. She’s brought dedication, professionalism, flexibility, reliability and an non-stop positive attitude. It’s hard not to enjoy working with someone who laughs so easily.

We’re excited for you Bevin. We’re sad.

And we’re a little jealous that you get to drink at Swank this year and we don’t.

With great appreciation, The Seattle Works team

We will miss you!


Civic Boot Camp whips us into shape! August 30, 2013

Filed under: Influence,LeadNOW,Our Team — seattleworks @ 3:39 pm

photoLast week, our friends at City Club and History Link teamed up for the second round of their new project, Civic Boot Camp. We can’t stop talking about what a great experience it was! Boot Camp was built out of the idea that to make a difference in your community, you need four key things: knowledge, connection, trust and action. In turn, Boot Camp was equal parts history lesson, policy briefing, networking session and call to get off the couch and do something–all focused around the issue of the history and development of Seattle’s Waterfront. Seattle Works Program Manager Katie Tiehen and LeadNOW Committee Member Kristin Elia both attended and had this to say:

What did you think of Civic Boot Camp?

Kristin: I found the concept of the boot camp really intriguing–the idea that civic engagement should come from knowledge, connection, trust and action. I think structuring the entire day around that concept and bringing in something very tangible–like the waterfront–was the perfect combination for engagement. You could instantly connect the past, present, and future of the waterfront to various components of civic life in the city and how a more engaged public makes a big impact. And better than that, you could see how structuring future boot camps in other neighborhoods or areas could be based on something current that is directly impacting the community we live in.

Katie: I’m a history nerd, so was completely drawn into Boot Camp with the prospect of a Seattle history lesson–what I didn’t expect and was so excited to get–in addition to a crash course in urban development–was a really clear understanding of the players and paths to action in the current debate over the waterfront. The caliber of the guest speakers we had throughout the day was inspiring–and the group of fellow Boot Campers was really one of the most diverse and challenging (in the best way) groups I’ve encountered in a while! It was amazing to see and talk about how the past has really informed our present and future with regards to how we treat and see our downtown. It was also so inspiring to talk with a group of Seattleites about our shared vision for this place we live and love–we were a diverse group that shared a lot of the same values when it comes to the community in which we live!

What do you think was the most valuable takeaway?

Kristin: I thought the overarching waterfront component was one of the best pieces of the boot camp, but I also found direct action at the end of the day very valuable. We were able to engage with a community organization around the issue of the waterfront and create solid action by voting on a grant to support their work and the larger campaign overall. I found that to be a perfect, concrete end to a day filled with knowledge and engaging conversation.

Katie: I agree on the waterfront theme–I think it’s one thing to talk about civic engagement broadly and another to explore it through a really concrete, pressing issue that is affecting our community right now. I thought the idea of knowledge, connection, trust and action as the foundation for engagement was really interesting when it was introduced, but even more compelling when I really saw those pieces come together throughout the day. It’s really empowering to know the history, know the players and know the routes to change–I’m so excited to see which issue Civic Boot Camp tackles next year!

Want to learn more about Civic Boot Camp? Check out City Club–and stay tuned for announcements in the Seattle Works Weekly Email!


We walk our talk: Seattle Works volunteers, too! August 9, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 2:57 pm

A pretty big portion of our work at Seattle Works involves connecting incredible, willing volunteers with the organizations serving our community who need them. Not only do we connect you–Seattle Works staffers are volunteers and board members in the community ourselves!Image

I recently started my newest volunteer gig at FareStart and was peer pressured by my coworkers into bragging all about it on this blog!

So why do I volunteer? Well, for a lot of reasons–namely that I care very much about supporting the organizations in our community doing the work I couldn’t do alone. Also, it’s so much fun–no matter where I volunteer, it turns out that people who want to be involved in their community are people I like hanging out with.

Why am I volunteering at FareStart? I know I’m passionate about two very specific things: education and food–and FareStart happens to merge the two in a pretty incredible way.  My work schedule at Seattle Works stopped agreeing with my former volunteer gig teaching cooking classes through Solid Ground’s “Cooking Matters” program–if you love food and kids, check them out!–and after volunteering with the Seattle Works board at FareStart last year, decided to make the leap.

FareStart provides education and job training in the food service industry to men, women and teens who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. How do they do it? They run a restaurant and catering company–an incredible one–serving amazing food while also satisfying a huge community need.

Every Thursday night, FareStart hosts Guest Chef Night, in which a local chef takes over the kitchen–staffed by FareStart students–and creates a three-course meal for restaurant patrons. The front of the house is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers–large groups who serve as volunteer servers, as well as regular Thursday night volunteers–like me!–who help run food, fill orders and greet guests. Every week, 20 or so volunteers walk in the door with little to no serving experience, get a crash course in waiting tables, and walk out as  server extraordinaires! It’s fast-paced and the most fun I’ve ever had volunteering. I’m only one week in and I can’t wait for my next shift!

This is all to say: we at Seattle Works walk our talk! As volunteers, we know the power of a great volunteer experience–and hope we can keep connecting you to them for another 25 years!

If you’re interested in joining the FareStart volunteer team, they’d love to have you. There are many opportunities to get involved–beyond Guest Chef Night–and you can check them out on their website.


Farewell to our AmeriCorps Team–it’s been a great year! July 17, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team — seattleworks @ 5:08 pm

teamAs much as it pains us to say it, today is our AmeriCorps team’s last day! In celebration of the hilarious and amazing year that was 2012/13, we’ve put together some of our favorite memories of the team–both work- and, uh, not-so-work-related.

Ben: As captain of The Bridge this year, Ben trained nearly 200 prospective nonprofit board members, developed and launched The Bridge 201 AND created a network of Seattle Works alumni, LeadNOW. What else? He’s serenaded us with Britney Spears on so (too?) many occasions and we’ve watched Ben get emotional over more than a few sandwiches–we take full credit for introducing him to the Honey Hole and Paseo. You’re welcome, Ben. Thankfully, Ben is joining the Seattle Works team for good, as Program Manager for Leadership Development–running The Bridge, HandsOn Leadership, LeadNOW and our elections programming!

Irina: We could say Irina killed it leading Hot Projects and Team Works this year–but that might be an understatement. in her first six months on the job, she increased the number of Hot Projects on our calendar by 50% and Hot Project participants by nearly 60%! She also recruited all of Seattle Works Day projects and matched teams with project sites–a crazy puzzle that involved daily meetings around a huge list on our white board wall. The day Irina explained to us that Karen Walker is her spirit animal, everything made sense. She’s off to London in September for graduate school at University College London–hay girl hay!

Tomilyn: As leader of HandsOn Leadership this year, Tomilyn didn’t necessarily sign up to, you know, build a park–but she did it anyway. That’s right, Tomilyn is a part of the small planning team that is bringing a new park to 19th & Madison. Tomilyn has tirelessly knocked on doors all around our neighborhood, meeting neighbors and recruiting volunteers to help make this park a reality. She’s also been Seattle Works’ official walking encyclopedia of all things great and random. At any point, she has an article discussing all of Jay-Z’s 99 problems and a “Sharknado” trailer in her back pocket. She took over the Seattle Works Weekly Email this spring, and we’ve been laughing out loud in the office every Tuesday since! Tomilyn is staying in Seattle to start a grad program at UW’s Evans School this fall.

And while they were all amazing individually, they were even better as a team. This year, we tasked them with getting Seattle Works Day participants to better understand what we do and how to get involved. Sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult! After working at their projects, people are tired. They want to kick it and have a beer with their friends. They don’t want to listen to speakers, they don’t want to read information and they sure as heck aren’t going to visit an info table. Reasonable enough, but it makes things tougher for us! This year the team took that to heart and created a series of games to get people interacting and learning. It was an awesome strategy–people were willing to do crosswords and word searches. They were even up for asking strangers questions thanks to some pretty great raffle prizes as motivation. Thanks to the AC team, we got great feedback and a good solid list of people inquiring about our fall programs. That’s this team in a nutshell–just the right blend of fun and practical, hopeful and realistic. They know how to get a job done!

And last but not least, we thank them for introducing us to The Creep while on the Vashon Island ferry.


The A-Team Gets Connected July 3, 2013

Filed under: Our Team,Training — seattleworks @ 11:14 am
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The AmeriCorps team attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago. We were all very excited about two things: learning new practices and meeting other AmeriCorps–those currently serving, as well as alums.

We met the other three AmeriCorps National Direct – two of them serving at HandsOn Central Ohio and one at Chicago Cares. We discussed our awesome experiences, laughed about the many interesting and hilarious moments, and of course – bonded over a slew of amazing food at Ping Pong Dim Sum. Here’s what we took from it:

IMG955521_1Ben: It was great meeting other AmeriCorps members that are currently serving across the country. We had the opportunity to connect with them and share insights and stories around volunteer engagement and the different ways we bring people together. They will be valuable connections for future activities, projects and networking.

Tomilyn: It was so fantastic to meet all the other AmeriCorps serving in National Direct. National Direct is a small program different from the main avenues people serve in AmeriCorps. While I had encountered other Vistas, it was great to get together with the 6 folks who are doing similar work from Ohio to Chicago. I also learned about opportunities to connect with AmeriCorps alumni here in Seattle! Can’t wait to tap into this amazing network of dedicated public servants. IMG954497_1

Irina: It was awesome meeting those who started serving at the same time we did, to see how far they had come in their organizations, what they accomplished, and what their next steps were. It was also encouraging to meet AmeriCorps alums who were doing great things for the community – whether it was working for another nonprofit, founding their own organization, or working internationally on a completely different area of interest. We learned that AmeriCorps alums go far and I’m proud to be part of that legacy – 800,000+ strong and counting!

Interested in learning more about AmeriCorps? Check out the details and current openings!