How to Apply to Volunteer

Thank you for applying to volunteer with Pongo Teen Writing. It is a privilege to get to know some of you better, as wonderfully accomplished, insightful, and creative people who honor Pongo with your commitment. Pongo accepts volunteer applications in June and July each year, to work on Pongo teams during the upcoming school year. Please forward this link to agencies and colleagues who might be interested!

The Pongo opportunity will train you to help victims of childhood trauma (abuse, violent loss, etc.) to heal and grow through writing poetry. The skills will benefit you in current and future careers in counseling, teaching, and community service. The Pongo Teen Writing Method is uniquely helpful for distressed individuals, and uniquely nurturing for caregivers.

Pongo volunteers are well trained, and they work in teams under an experienced leader. We have three sites currently, inside juvenile detention, inside the state psychiatric hospital for children, and at a residence for adults with significant experience of homelessness and alcohol use. To begin the process for selection as a Pongo volunteer, see #1-5 below. If you are interested in Pongo's work, but are not currently available to volunteer, see #6 below.

(Pongo operates its projects in the Seattle/Tacoma area. However, if you live outside the Seattle/Tacoma area, please feel to contact us to express your interest in volunteering where you live. We may be able to connect you to a Pongo-inspired writing project in your community.)

1. For the next school year, Pongo will accept volunteer applications in June and July. However, people are encouraged to apply early. We will begin filling positions in early July.

2. To begin the volunteer process, please review the Pongo web site, including the volunteer commitment and expectations (You'll write your own poetry as part of Pongo!), as described on the Volunteer page .

3. Carefully consider the volunteer schedule, which includes one of these times... 

     * the state psychiatric hospital for children (Mondays, 12:00-3:00, Oct-April, in Tacoma) 

     *the juvenile detention center (Tuesdays, 12:00-3:15 pm, mid-Sept through April, in Seattle)

     * the residence for homeless adults (TBD, but probably Fridays, 10:30-1:00, mid-Sept through April, in Seattle)

4. Email your resume and a writing sample (preferably poetry) to Pongo's executive director, Richard Gold, at
5. In your email message, please include the following:

     a. Tell us why you're interested in Pongo and our mission
     b. Include all of your experience working with youth (if not included in your resume)
     c. State your availability to volunteer on a Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, or Thursday mid-day during the coming school year
     d. If you are available at several times, state your preference for working with Pongo inside juvenile detention, the psychiatric hospital, or the adult shelter
     e. Let us know your questions

6. We expect to contact people and begin conducting interviews in early July. We expect to figure out our teams for next year in early August.

7. If you are interested in this work, but not available to volunteer with Pongo this coming year because of our hours and time commitment, please send us an email explaining your future interest. We will put you on our email list, and we may be able to place you with a volunteer opportunity at another project that follows our teaching model (a Pongo-inspired project) but that meets on a different schedule.

We look forward to hearing from you!