The Work-It-Out Pilot Project (WIO) strategic program for volunteers strengthens our community and learning environment by offering opportunities for people to serve one another, to take action, and to help solve some of our community’s toughest challenges – education. During our first year of operation, WIO volunteers contributed over $146,000 in volunteer labor working on our school campus. This is a remarkable testament to the generosity of employers and employees, and people in the neighborhood, community, businesses and educational institutions throughout the City.

We estimate more than 500 people volunteered in some capacity during the year, and were involved in our project development and implementation from beginning to end of Year-One.

How we helped in 2011: The efforts of civic-minded, generous volunteers, helped to establish WIO as a high quality, rigorous, relevant, relational small school model using community volunteers to successfully implement strategic programs for the direct benefit of students who have left high school without a diploma. It’s worth mentioning, we relied 100% upon the strength of our partnerships, collaborations, skills and expertise of volunteer professionals and lay people to implement our project to transform the community through education and job training of youth that have left high school without a diploma.

Balancing volunteers with paid staff in year-two however, will give us capacity to build sustainable long term relationships, deepen program strategies and enroll additional cohorts of students. The University of Washington – School of Social Work through the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center placed two students with us Winter Quarter 2011 in our Service Learning Program. Social Work is a field of study our students can benefit and learn from. Likewise, WIO
is partnering with Seattle University Youth Initiative Community-Based Research Faculty Fellows Program to engage high school age students in collaborative research as co-investigators examining social justice issues they view as vital to their lived experiences.

On a similar note, we partnered with a group of eight (8) students from Seattle Tilth, an organization that educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community. Together we worked on a permaculture design course to explore ways to expand and better integrate WIO resources into the neighborhood using regenerative designs and sustainable connections for the benefit of students and the community. At this writing, more conversations are needed to explore impacts and resources needed to form connections furthering WIO’s environmental depth and reach deeper into the community and our ability to access flows of economic capital available in nearby neighborhoods.

Want to get involved?

Check out our calendar of upcoming events to find opportunities for you to get involved or email our director of volunteer activities, Deborah Lane to find out ways to get involved.

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