Seattle Works

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

Rally with us to Restore Summer! June 7, 2011

Here at Seattle Works we absolutely refuse to believe that it isn’t summer.


When summer actually does get here (in August), we’re going to throw an ice cream party for all those cool folks that sign up to spend some time with us this summer!

Will you be one of these elite/extra-special/uber amazing types?

What qualifies you for the ice cream shindig in August? Any/all of the following:

*The Bridge – starts Tues 6/14

Our training class in nonprofit and government board service. Starts ONE WEEK from today, so jump on it before we run out of room.

*Team Works – kickoff Tues 6/14; first project Sat 6/18

Volunteer with a team of 15 people one Saturday a month, for the next four months.  You’ll get a chance to meet some cool people, and volunteer at four different projects. And we throw in a party at the beginning and end – pretty sweet deal (kinda like ice cream).

*HandsOn Leadership – starts Wed 6/29

Get trained in project management (and many other areas) and then work with a local nonprofit partner to help them create, develop and implement a project that they really need your help with.  This is your opportunity to help out at a different level.

*Join a Committee!

We need help with our Swank Procurement Committee! Swank is our annual gala and an incredible event. Help us plan, execute and procure the items that makes this gala awesome. Email Rachel:

Elections Committee! Do you care about the upcoming election? Want to help make sure your peers make an informed vote? Join our Elections committee and be an integral part of how we decide to make the elections exciting, relevant and engaging. Email Bevin:

*Hot Projects – two or three projects offered every week ALL summer long

One-time volunteer opportunities at Seattle Marathon Association, Hamlin-Robinson School, MEOW Cat Rescue, Food Bank at St. Mary’s, Communities in Schools, etc.

*Project Coordinator

Take the Hot Projects one step further: lead a project! We’ll train and support you, and you’ll work as the liaison between the nonprofit that’s hosting the Hot Project and the volunteers that have signed up. Email Kym:


C’mon – who’s with us?


Bridge Grad – Spotlight on Le Ann! June 6, 2011

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 7:10 pm

We are excited to feature one of our Bridge Alums finding a board they are passionate about!

Le Ann Langston

Bridge Grad: Fall 2010

Organization: Northwest Girls Coalition

I selected the Northwest Girls Coalition (NWGC) because its mission was closely aligned with my passion.  When joining the Bridge I remember thinking that I wanted to do something to serve women and/or girls. NWGC was a perfect match!

From the first meeting in November observing the council through today, I’ve felt that I’m an active part in the organization’s success.  NWGC held their annual evening event in February and has an upcoming facilitated networking Happy Hour April 19th.  The biggest thing I walked away from the Bridge with is knowledge of all the different ways I could make a difference.

Before the Bridge, I wanted to be involved but didn’t know where to start.  The speed dating exercise was a fantastic way for me to get my feet wet and realizes that I could make a difference.  In addition, to being part of NWGC leadership council I’ve started serving on my daughter’s co-op preschool board.  My favorite part of board service so far is getting to know people with common interests better!


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 ( 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!


Work smarter instead of harder. January 18, 2011

Filed under: Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 6:35 pm

That is one of our new mantras of 2011!

One of the many ways that we’re applying this not-so-new idea is with our Bridge faculty.  We would not be able to offer The Bridge without the help of our volunteer trainers who teach coursework on:

  • Financial and legal responsibilities
  • Governance structures
  • Fundraising and public budgeting
  • Personal reflection
  • Exposure to organizations looking for new board members

In the past we have had a pool of qualified trainers to teach these different sections of the Bridge, and depending on people’s schedules and availability we would coordinate the trainers for a complete Bridge session.  This approach worked well and resulted in wonderful Bridge sessions, but understandably so, each volunteer has schedules, time constraints and workloads that can influence the ability to serve … aka real life happens.

Here comes the work smarter game plan:  To help avoid conflicts and burnout as well as provide more opportunities to engage more people, we are creating a faculty of 3 – 4 trainers per topic to commit to the program each year. The faculty will work together to develop curriculum, powerpoint presentations, activities, etc. on their coursework. This ensures consistent, helpful and engaging content from one training to the next!

Bridge faculty kicked off last week with an orientation session, but it’s not too late to get involved if you’re interested.  Email Tegan ( now though, because work is starting!


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!


What do you hope to take away from The Bridge? September 16, 2010

Filed under: The Bridge — seattleworks @ 8:15 pm
Tags: ,

We kicked off another session of The Bridge this week and wanted to share some of what our participants had to say.  After all, they say things much better than we do. 

Here is a visual of responses gathered from the question, “What do you hope to take away from this course?”

Diverse perspectives, a range of experiences, completely intelligent and heart-felt.  We hear ya, and we hope to exceed your expectations.

The Bridge is our dynamic training program designed to give you the basics in nonprofit and government board service.  We’ll have one more course this year in November in case you want to step on up: