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Teri’s Update – April 2016

Teri’s Update – April 2016

by Adam / May 1, 2016

Dear BFI Fans,

I was signing copies of Encyclopedia Greenwoodia at the Greenwood Senior Center book release party when one of our loyal readers reminded me it was time for an update. I’ll be honest: That was flattering and a definite reminder. A reader requesting an update! So here ‘tis.

Springing Forward

We are chugging along at our temporary post-explosion home at the Phinney Neighborhood Association and very much hoping to be back at BFI headquarters by mid-June. We finish up afterschool tutoring and field trip programs by June 16 and hope, hope, hope we’ll be moving back into our Greenwood Avenue headquarters the next day. It all depends on the reconstruction which depends on city permits which depends on who knows what which depends on some other things we don’t know. Despite our temporary classroom's stunning views of Green Lake and the warm welcome we’ve received from our pals at Phinney Neighborhood Association, we can’t wait to get back. As Frank Baum put it in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “There's no place like home.” (And despite the ridiculous challenges, this explosion experience has been a real team-building exercise for BFI. I can’t think of a better group of people to go through a disaster with.)

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the weekly BFI updates that are plastered (well, wheat-pasted) on the front of our under-construction-and-particle-boarded home base. These updates give passersby information, illustrations, and writing assignments. Maybe next week we’ll offer a recipe! (Helpful hint: Don’t try wheat-pasting posters on a breezy day. I did and wound up looking like a Buster Keaton outtake.)

For now, here’s what’s been going on and what’s coming up next.

Summer Workshops!

Our summer workshops start June 27 and run for the next five weeks. The full schedule of workshops will be posted on the BFI website on May 31. Here are a couple of teasers: “May the Verse Be with You,” Michael Malloy and Joe Concannon’s workshop on Star Wars-themed poetry, and “The Play’s the Thing,” Rebecca Demarest’s introduction to playwriting, which culminates with a staged reading of kids’ work at Taproot Theater. We’re planning a songwriting camp and….well…’ll find out everything on May 31.

Encyclopedia Greenwoodia 

This month brought the launch of BFI’s latest book—Encyclopedia Greenwoodia, a book of neighborhood stories conceived as a sweet, smart literary souvenir but which, after the April 6 explosion, became a rallying cry for the neighborhood. (For more on the Encyclopedia Greenwoodia’s amazing journey, check out these stories from the Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly.) The book was launched at a terrific publishing party at the Greenwood Senior Center. There must have a hundred-plus people there, including a dozen or so authors featured in the book. The program included a word from former mayor and Greenwood resident Mike McGinn, youth readers, interviews of student writers by our Creative Director David Schmader, and a glorious book signing, with our impressive collection of youth and adult authors sitting side-by-side autographing their work.

If that weren’t enough, we held a second reading the following Saturday at Phinney Books, where I gave dramatic readings of student pieces following by interviews with the young authors by Mr. Schmader, who drew out the young authors on subjects ranging from their post-publication lives to the times of day they do their best writing. (It was hilarious.)

In the meantime, I’m sure many of you reading this are very eager to get your copy. Numerous businesses all over Greenwood are selling the books, and as mentioned in the Times and Weekly links above, all proceeds from sales go to the Greenwood Relief Fund. (Can’t make it to Greenwood? Buy Encyclopedia Greenwoodia online!)


On April 1, we held our annual People Eating and Giving gala at the lovely Fremont Studios. This event featured a little bit of everything, from student Sebastian singing the national anthem to a fashion show and impersonations of fearless thinkers throughout history.  We blasted our fundraising goal out of the water and everyone agreed: Best PEG ever. Huge thanks to our student performers, the awesome Kimya Dawson who served as inspirational famous musician/songwriter, and the amazing opera star Gino Luchetti accompanied on accordion by Bonnie Birch. And, as leader of the pack, I want to say a special thank you to the amazing BFI staff who worked like nuts to pull off this event with good spirit and great energy and most amazingly just a few weeks after that gas explosion that threw all our lives off-center.

Wilderness (and Dog) Adventure!

Earlier this month week brought a field trip to my farm on the Olympic Peninsula, where BFI students, volunteers, and staff hiked in the woods, played field games, ate lunch, held Otis the puppy, named chickens, judged my homemade pickles, and gathered material for future writing. (We'll go anywhere for a good story and a puppy.) Huge thanks to BFI volunteers Ann Senechal, Mike Madden, and Howard Cutler for all their help in making this wonderful day happen, including heading up their nature scavenger hunt teams and driving.


We're Hiring

Our Programs Manager Joe got accepted (no surprise) to graduate school for next fall so will be reducing his hours with us next year. That means we are looking now for a full-time teacher with tons of great experience managing children. This person should be a terrific writer, extremely fun to be around, gets our humor, and knows lots of field games that can be magically transformed into writing prompts. Here’s more info.

The Rest

We will be winding up the spring with field trips and some great in-school projects. At Chief Sealth High School, BFI volunteers will help ninth-graders write stories of the Duwamish River. At Highline Big Picture School, we’ll help eighth-graders write and illustrate guidebooks to the Highline area. And at Greenwood Elementary, we’ll help third-graders create a mixed-media guide to nearby Sandel Park.  

I do believe this wraps up my April update.

In closing, some dates to remember:  

May 7: BFI student extraordinaire Lilly Grey Rudge will be reading her piece "Mom of Steel" at Town Hall as part of the “Listen To Your Mother” event, which features live readings by some of the city's most talented writers and bloggers on the beauty and challenges of motherhood, in honor of Mother's Day. Plus, 10% of ticket sales benefit BFI! Saturday, May 7th at 1:30pm. Full info and tickets here!

May 24-25-26 (Memorial Day Weekend): If you’re a Sasquatch Music Festival-goer, come find our booth and write a six-word poem about music festivals.

May 31:  Summer Workshop Calendar is posted on the BFI website.

June 16: Regular BFI programming for the 2015/2016 school year ends.

June 27:  Summer Workshops start! 

WAIT: One More Thing

BFI will be participating in the one-day GiveBIG campaign again this year, so all gifts made at on Tuesday, May 3 will be matched by a percentage of the Seattle Foundation's stretch pool. Plus, now you can schedule your GiveBIG gift in advance, which means you can visit the website any time between now and midnight on May 3 to schedule your gift.