Volunteering

Our volunteers do it all: after-school tutoring, writing workshops, working with classes in Seattle schools. Whatever your secret (or not-so-secret) talent is, we'll find a use for it. Our volunteers are authors, scientists, teachers, artists, programmers, engineers, musicians, jacks-and-jills-of-all-trades, and Everyday Folk whose invaluable efforts help keep BFI's award-winning programs free of charge and open to all. 

Volunteering

Where are our Opportunities?

We currently have two neighborhood locations in Seattle offering various volunteer opportunitites.  (We also have programs at schools that occur throughout the greater Seattle area.)

 

  • Greenwood - After School Tutoring (2-8th Grade), High School Tutoring, Field Trips, Workshops, Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co, Behind-the-Scenes Agentry
  • Yesler Terrace - After School Tutoring (2-8th Grade), Field Trips (on occasion), Behind-the-Scenes Agentry
  • Throughout the Greater Seattle Area - In-School Programs

How to Volunteer:

The Bureau of Fearless Ideas is powered by volunteers! We especially need people who are available during the workday.

Interested? Click here to complete our online Volunteer Application.

Once we receive your application, we will send you an invitation to the next volunteer orientation, when you can meet the staff and learn about our current opportunities.

To learn more, please click on one of the huge range of opportunities listed below. If you have any questions, please contact us at volunteer@fearlessideas.org.

After-School Tutoring (Grade School) and Writing Clubs 
High-School Tutoring
In-School Programs
Field Trips
Workshops
Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.
Behind-the-Scenes Agentry!


After-School Tutoring: The super-popular cornerstone of the BFI universe, after-school programs run Monday through Thursday, from 2:30-5:30 pm, throughout the school year. Open to students in grades 2-8, after-school tutoring begins with an hour of homework and quiet reading. Then things get creative with writing clubs, game time, crafting groups, and volunteer-guided tours through all manner of creative endeavor.

After-School Volunteer Duties:

  • Provide one-on-one or small-group homework help to kids in grades 2-8 with patience and persistence
  • Provide positive mentorship as a role model and advice-giver to students
  • Help with or lead writing clubs, game time, and other activities once homework is done
  • Work well with a diverse group of students, volunteers, and staff
  • Nurture and encourage the creativity, spontaneity, and thoughtfulness of our students

Desired Qualifications: 

  • Ability to help with at least one school subject (English, math, science, social studies, reading, writing) up to an 8th-grade level
  • Comfortable with kids (or willing to become so!)
  • Share our love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling, and good humor

Time Requirement: We ask that volunteers pick a day (or several), Monday-Thursday, they can commit to for the entire school year, and work from 2:30-5:30 pm. Students will often memorize tutor schedules and count on your attendance on those days!

(Available in both our Greenwood and Yesler Terrace locations)


High-School Tutoring: BFI's high-school tutoring runs Monday through Thursday from 6-8 pm throughout the school year. Open to students in grades 7-12, it's a "drop-in" program where tutors offer help with homework and other high-school concerns, from college-essay writing to SAT tutoring.

High-School Tutoring Duties

  • Provide one-on-one or small-group homework help to students in grades 7-12 with patience and persistence
  • Provide positive mentorship as a role model and advice-giver to students
  • Help with or lead clubs as needed, including college-essay writing sessions and/or SAT tutoring sessions if you feel comfortable with those
  • Work well with a diverse group of students, volunteers, and staff
  • Nurture and encourage the creativity, spontaneity, and thoughtfulness of our students

Desired Qualifications

  • Ability to help with at least one school subject (English, math, science, social studies, languages, reading, writing) up to a 12th-grade level
  • Comfortable with high school- and middle school-aged kids (or willing to become so!)
  • Share our love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling and good humor

Time Requirement: Shifts are from 6-8 pm Monday through Thursday throughout the school year. Come in for a regular shift once or more a week!

(Available only in the Greenwood location)


In-School Programs: For BFI's In-School programs, a team of volunteers (led by a BFI program manager) ventures into a Seattle-area school to lead a writing project that works in tandem with a teacher's existing curriculum. In-school workshops typically run one day a week for 4-6 weeks, and volunteers' daytime availability is key. Best of all, In-School programs close with the publication of of a workshop chapbook, which we celebrate with a reading and publication party and sometimes even cake. It's wonderful.

In-School Volunteer Duties

  • Help edit students’ written work and guide their research as part of a writing project
  • Travel via car, bus, or carpool from North Seattle to partner schools around the Seattle metropolitan area (with a heavy focus on South Seattle, Burien, and White Center)
  • Work well with a diverse group of students, volunteers, teachers, and staff
  • Nurture and encourage the creativity, spontaneity, and thoughtfulness of the students and teachers in the schools we visit

Desired Qualifications

  • Great command of the English language and an ability to guide children’s work to make them better and more skilled writers
  • Comfortable with kids (or willing to become so!)
  • Share our love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling, and good humor

Time Requirement: In-School projects require volunteers to attend each session in a given project; each project has a different schedule and requires 2-3 hours a week, usually on the same day each week for a 4-6 week period. For each project, we will check with you to make sure your availability meets a specific project’s timeline.

(Takes place in schools across the Greater Seattle area)


Field Trips: BFI's legendary on-site Field Trips involve classes of elementary school students visiting BFI headqaurters for high-energy, two-hour writing workshops that send each kid home with their own published chapbook. Field trips happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45 am-noon throughout the school year, and are ridiculously fun.

Field Trip Volunteer Duties

  • Learn and carry out one or more roles in a field trip, which may include transcription, bookbinding, behind-the-scenes acting, story-building with kids, light computer graphic work, and/or typing really fast
  • Work in a fast-paced environment to help a classroom full of kids write, edit, produce a book in two hours
  • Come to field trips consistently and predictably, giving advance notice if you can’t make it
  • Work well with a diverse group of students, volunteers and staff
  • Nurture and encourage the creativity, spontaneity, and thoughtfulness of the students that visit our center

Desired Qualifications

  • Not required but helpful: fast typing, drawing/illustration, light experience with Adobe InDesign.
  • Flexibility and willingness to get the job done no matter the obstacles. (New challenges love to pop up during the two-hour book-making bonanza.)
  • Comfortable with kids (or willing to become so!)
  • Share our love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling, and good humor

Time Requirement: Field Trips run from 9:45 am to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the school year. We ask that volunteers commit to Tuesdays or Thursdays (or both) for the length of the school year.

(Takes place mainly in our Greenwood location and occasionally in our Yesler location)


Workshops: Many BFI programs are regimented affairs, but workshops are a wide-open playing field. Held on weekends during the school year and on weekdays during seasonal school breaks, workshops are conceived and presented by BFI staff and volunteers, and can cover anything writing-related that can be boiled down into two-hour classes for kids. (Past workshops have covered everything from improvisional poetry and playwriting to "After the Apocalypse" zombie stories and "Adevnture Story Deadline Club.")

It is BFI's belief that every volunteer has at least one workshop in 'em, and if you'd like to discuss how to turn an idea into a workshop, we're here to help. And if you're not yet up for hosting your own workshop, be an assistant for someone else's workshop! Workshop assistants are as valuable as workshop leaders.

Workshop Volunteer Duties

  • Assist with a variety of creative-writing workshops on various topics
  • Communicate with workshop leaders before workshop dates to understand your particular role
  • Follow the instructions of the workshop leader and BFI staff and give constructive feedback to student work
  • Work well with a diverse group of students, volunteers, and staff
  • Nurture and encourage the creativity, spontaneity and thoughtfulness of the students and teachers in the students we teach 

Desired Qualifications

  • Great command of the English language and an ability to guide children’s work to make them better and more skilled writers
  • Comfortable with kids (or at least willing to get better)
  • Share our love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling, and good humor

Time Requirement: Workshops are two hours long and take place during the morning and afternoon on most Saturdays throughout the school year, and during the weekday during major breaks from school (Winter, Spring, Summer). Most workshops are 1-4 days long.

(Available only in our Greenwood location)


Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co: To find the Bureau of Fearless Ideas, you must enter the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., Seattle's premiere purveyor of space travel supplies that doubles as a whimsical front for the BFI universe. This functional retail space runs with the invaluable help of volunteers, who run the register, welcome visitors, and serve as front-line ambassadors for BFI.

Duties for Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.

  • Learn the basics of running a cash register, including handling cash, operating the Square app on iPad, and ringing up items. (It’s easier than it sounds!)
  • Performing opening and/or closing duties
  • Act as a spokesperson for the Bureau of Fearless Ideas, telling customers about our store and our programs, and encouraging customers to be part of our community
  • Work well with a diverse group of customers, volunteers, and staff
  • Help with tasks around the store, such as stocking, tidying up, arranging items and other small duties
  • If desired, can help with other administrative work

Desired Qualifications

  • Good customer service skills, a positive attitude, and a slight adeptness with technology
  • Enthusiasm about our mission and our programs
  • A love of creativity, self-expression, storytelling, and good humor
  • Space and/or science geekery a plus!

Time Requirement: The store is open Wednesday through Saturday, with multiple three-hour shifts available. Volunteer on multiple days, once a week, once a month, or sign on as a substitute!

(Only available at our Greenwood location)


Behind-the-Scenes Agentry: Want to help further the BFI mission but don't feel like getting all up in kids' business? Like all good nonprofits, BFI has a back office forever in need of helping hands for mailings, data entry, tech support, cataloguing, etc. We are very friendly and provide a wide array of herbal teas!

Duties for Administrative Volunteer: Stuffing envelopes, data entry, tech support

Desired Qualifications: Attention to detail, a friendly disposition, and a familiarity with Apple computers

Time Requirement: Up to you! BFI office hours are 10 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, and we'll plug you in whenever you've got a free hour or two.

(Available in both our Greenwood and Yesler Terrace locations)

“The students here have truly illustrated for me the transformative power of the learning process. Tutoring here is always the best part of my week!”

- Helen Shears, Volunteer