Seattle Works

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

Green Belts Give Back! June 14, 2011

Filed under: Seattle Works Day,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 5:03 pm
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We love seeing stories and write up like these.

Thank you Starwood Hotels for your continued support of Seattle Works and our community!

 

A new fence for Lettuce Link! March 29, 2011

Filed under: HandsOn Leadership,Lead — seattleworks @ 6:10 pm
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HandsOn Leadership is a program that starts off as a training class, forms small teams of dedicated volunteers and results in serious impact with (and for) a community partner.  Say hello to another successful HandsOn Leadership project!

A team of four volunteers, Amy, Ethan, Emily, and Genevieve, first learned all about project management, community engagement, project development and team building before setting out to plan and find resources for their fence building project. 

   

Lettuce Link is a program run by our partners at Solid Ground.  It creates access to fresh, nutritious and organic food, seed and gardening information for families with lower incomes in Seattle.  When finished, the site in Rainier Valley will not only provide space for a neighborhood garden, but also serve as a community gathering space complete with picnic tables, and learning opportunities for children.  The fence was a crucial step in completing the space, providing protection for the space from cars and pedestrians that often tread on the land. 

Before building, the team then attended a community meeting (complete with an interpreter because of the Rainier Valley’s language diversity) to gather feedback and keep them informed of their plans to install a new fence and shed at the Lettuce Link farm there.  They asked members of the neighborhood to join them in volunteering, and then chose weekend dates in March for the fence building. 

This past weekend, the team had their first project of the build and the turnout was inspiring.  Looking around, there were three different work parties going on, many people from the community pitching in to improve their neighborhood.  Amy said, “When you look around, it’s amazing how much volunteerism there is right in this little section of land.  It’s 360 degrees of volunteering.”

       

The team took the lesson of neighboring and used it perfectly!  We can’t wait to see the finished product.

HandsOn Leadership is ready for you. Are you ready to do something?http://www.seattleworks.org/HomePage/index.php/handsonleadership.html

 

Welcome to our ‘hood community partners! March 4, 2011

Filed under: Volunteer — seattleworks @ 5:54 pm
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This week we opened up “our house” to all of our community partners  as a way to introduce them to new staff members, share our programming options with them and most importantly to convey our main goal: for our volunteers to get involved with their organizations!  Partners we’ve known for years and years, brand new people that we haven’t worked with yet and everyone in between came to share the morning with us.

We asked our partners to tell us how they use Seattle Works volunteers, how they would like to use them, their favorite ways for inspiring volunteering and more specifically what appeals to people in their 20s and 30s.

      

Sampling of feedback we heard:

  • Partners notice that our generation likes to work together and see the impact and difference that we make.
  • Direct contact with people benefitting from the volunteers’ work, providing the big picture of how the volunteer project fits with the larger community issues helps to inspire more volunteering!
  • An amazing trait of the nonprofit sector is the energy and willingness to collaborate with each other! Our community partners were eager not only to learn from us, but to learn from each other and share what they’re doing in order to move forward together and better serve our community.

Do you know of a nonprofit organization in the are that could benefit from working with Seattle Works volunteers? 

Tell Randi (randi@seattleworks.org) and if we aren’t working with them yet, maybe we can be soon!

 

Painting the town February 28, 2011

Filed under: Our Team — seattleworks @ 11:00 pm
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Last Friday we had ourselves some team fun!  We try to all get together in the same place for some fun once a month, but the last few months we’ve run into some scheduling trouble. 

Randi was in charge of this month’s fun and we headed to Paint the Town in U Village to put our creativity and artistic skills to the test.

Tegan was very focused on her sweet mug:

Tara making a lovely votive holder that matches her upstairs bathroom. 

Kathleen, Jan and Randi. Between them they painted two butter dishes and a precious dog dish for Jan’s new puppy.

The team and their pre-fired pieces.

We definitely made up for lost time!

 

Conversation, Cocktails and Community Cinema February 22, 2011

Filed under: Influence — seattleworks @ 9:10 pm
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Last Tuesday, we tried something new by bringing people together at Liberty Bar to watch the inspiring movie, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai.  Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace prize in 2004 for eliciting massive social and political change in Kenya.  While this was no small undertaking, her vision started with the simple act of teaching women in her community to plant trees in order to counteract the effects of colonial deforestation. 

The documentary, supplied to us by the Emmy-award winning PBS series Independent Lens, took us through the stages of her peaceful fight, from its humble beginnings as the Green Belt Movement to its triumphant end with a democratically elected president of Kenya. 

To say this movie was inspiring might be an understatement. It emphasized the power of grassroots movements to change the world, and allowed us all to recognize how we’re changing the world every day in our own ways. 

After the movie, we had a thoughtful discussion about the issues brought up in the film.  We talked about the importance of changing our economic perspective when it comes to environmental loss as well as the value of education as an impetus for change.  One participant tied the movie to the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which led us to another great idea …

Would you be interested in reading this book (or some other!) and getting together with a group of people to discuss it?  We want to inspire dialogue in our community, but are dedicated to doing that in a way that meets your needs and desires.  Our Community Cinema event proved that having a movie to react to gets people talking.  Have ideas to get the gabfest going? Tell us: jan@seattleworks.org

 

Photo by Wanjira Mathai

 

Looking for our secret admirer February 15, 2011

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 12:59 am
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Somebody sent us a valentine!  It’s so great, we couldn’t keep it to ourselves.

Featured in The Stranger’s Reader Valentines it says:

I ❤ U Seattle Works

It’s been over 3 years and we’re still together, longer than me and any girlfriend ever. We’ve done some amazing stuff together and I heart you for it

Seriously, we aren’t making this up! http://post.thestranger.com/seattle/Valentines/Page?search=seattle+works

Lucky for us, our AmeriCorps gal Kathleen was thoroughly reading through the listings looking for the one that was meant for her, and stumbled upon the message for us.

We ❤ you too, secret admirer.  Your message is pinned on our bulletin board, and will forever be pinned to our hearts.

 

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!