Pongo is Hiring a Program Manager

Job Description for Program Manager

TITLE:                           Program Manager

REPORTS TO:             Richard Gold, Executive Director

HOURS AND PAY:      Three-quarter time (30 hours/week);
                                     salary range $45,000-$50,000/year


The Pongo Teen Writing Project is a 23-year-old, award-winning nonprofit that offers therapeutic poetry programs to youth (and others) who have suffered traumas, such as abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. We work in the most sensitive institutions and agencies, such as detention centers, homeless shelters, and psychiatric hospitals. Our mission is to help our authors, through personal poetry, to understand their difficult feelings, find their strong voices, and address their life challenges and best hopes. Pongo’s programs are based on its own specific methodology that has proved to be effective, safe, and replicable. We collect data and support pilot studies of our outcomes. Pongo also teaches its method nationally and internationally, as an important aspect of our future service and impact. There are “Pongo-inspired” projects around the country and the world. As an organization, Pongo believes in social justice and strives to be a sensitive and equitable workplace.


The Program Manager will be responsible for the following project tasks:

  • Act as direct supervisor to Pongo project leaders and Pongo volunteers at our direct-service projects, such as the King County juvenile detention center in Seattle and the Child Study and Treatment Center (the state psychiatric hospital for children) in Tacoma

  • Act as Pongo liaison with administration and staff at direct-service sites

  • Communicate and coordinate with new volunteer applicants, compiling applicant materials and conducting interviews with written assessment of candidates

  • Conduct Pongo trainings for new mentors at all core projects

  • Help Pongo staff, project leaders, and volunteers to understand trauma and to adapt to its secondary impact

  • Assist or lead in the facilitation of Pongo’s bi-annual community trainings, as well as other presentations and trainings

  • Support the young people who serve as Pongo Poet Ambassadors

  • Other tasks and duties as assigned relevant to Pongo’s program work

In collaboration with the Executive Director, the Program Manager will contribute to the following organizational tasks:

  • Write new policy, procedure, training, and process documents as needed

  • Help plan future projects

  • Help support researchers who are examining Pongo outcomes

  • Communicate with other writing projects in the community, in particular the “Pongo-Inspired” projects that are based on Pongo’s model and methodology

  • Arrange diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for all Pongo staff and volunteers annually with professional facilitator

  • Other tasks and duties as assigned relevant to Pongo’s organizational development

In consultation with the Executive Director, and with support from contractors, the Program Manager will take on writing and communication tasks, such as the following:

  • Answer youth poetry that is submitted on Pongo’s web site

  • Update the Pongo web site with poetry and blogs

  • Conduct the Pongo Prize evaluation and posts

  • Engage in outreach through social media

  • Represent Pongo effectively at public festivals, gatherings, and invitational events

  • Other tasks and duties as assigned relevant to Pongo communications


The Program Manager must be a strong leader and advocate for Pongo’s mission and values. The Program Manager must function as a team player, which means that the Program Manager must be part of the communication, collaboration, and support that are essential for productivity within Pongo. The Program Manager must be a flexible individual who can adapt to the sensitive environments, vulnerable people, and challenging societal context of Pongo’s work. The Program Manager must be insightful clinically, to help Pongo’s own staff and workers adapt to the trauma to which they are exposed. The Program Manager must help Pongo to be a sensitive and equitable work environment. The Program Manager must meet standard professional expectations, including timeliness, recordkeeping, etc. The Program Manager must maintain the highest ethical standards.


The Program Manager candidate will have the following required skills:  

  • Master’s or higher degree from a clinical program such as LCSW, LMFT, or LMHC

  • At least two years’ experience working with distressed or “at-risk” populations

  • Excellent written communication skills, with at least some creative writing/poetry background

  • Personal values that exclude any form of discrimination or prejudice

  • Valid Washington Driver’s License and car in order to travel to various Pongo sites

The preferred Program Manager candidate may have the following desirable skills:  

  • Experience in field that is relevant to Pongo, such as creative writing or education

  • Experience in nonprofit leadership

  • Experience in public speaking and training facilitation

  • Ability to speak Spanish


We value diversity and are committed to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse identities, traditions, heritages, and experiences.


Please send an email to Richard Gold, Executive Director, at pongo_publishing@hotmail.com. Include as attachments a resume and a writing sample, preferably poetry. No phone calls, please.