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Andy’s Notes - December 2017

by Adam / Dec 22, 2017

Happy Jolabokaflod (again)!

Avid readers of this column (of which I assume there are more than grains of sand on Jupiter) might remember this happy Icelandic tradition from last year. Because Iceland’s assortment of recreational activities in the middle of winter is limited to sitting in a front of the fire or in a natural hot tub, people have developed the awesome habit of giving each other tons of books during ‘Jolabokaflod’, whose colorful and evocative title translates as ‘Christmas Book Flood.’  As you can imagine, BFI fully endorses this holiday, and by cultivating the love of words in our students now, we hope to ensure the book floods of the future.

We at BFI, the staff, the volunteers—everyone involved--are guiding students to define their ideas in the sea of amorphous thoughts and emotions where all ideas originate, and to articulate those ideas, helping them, to use the the colloquial term, ‘find their voices.’ And boy, do they react to that.

To underline that point, I’ll quote the introductory statement from our Youth Advisory Board:

The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) consists of about 15 high school students dedicated to bettering the BFI community through service, mentorship, and fundraising events. In last two meetings, we began to plan out a buddy system, where high school students would consistently spend time mentoring elementary and middle school students. The middle school students are planning a “culture day” soon, where students and their families come together in celebration of one another’s backgrounds and heritages through food and entertainment.  Us YAB members plan to help the middle school students set up and accomplish this event. Also, two of our very own YAB members, Naz and Hana, recently received a grant to fund their service projects at the Bureau of Fearless Ideas. We are looking forward to another year of YAB and have more ideas coming on the way!

Imagine, a bunch of high schoolers working together VOLUNTARILY outside of school with minimal staff guidance to host events and mentor younger kids with similar backgrounds. They also independently wrote a grant for their service projects to United Way and got it funded! (I can’t say I’m not a little envious--we didn’t get funded this year!) Most of the YAB members have been coming to BFI for years. This makes all of us incredibly proud.


Remember our new location in Yesler Terrace? It’s going gangbusters. There are literally times LaKesha, our fearless program manager, has to shoo out kids that aren’t registered for that particular day. And this is where you come in. Yes, you. We need your help! Please come and volunteer with us. And if this is not for you, (What? You don’t like being surrounded by tiny, sticky people yelling?) tell your friends about us. Despite having acquired both staff and volunteers, the demand at the new location is so overwhelming that we, after about 10 weeks of running tutoring programs, already have a waiting list of students we can’t serve because we just can’t recruit volunteers quickly enough.

So. I think I just made your new year’s resolution for you. I know you were struggling. You can thank me later. 

Happy Holidays,