Become a Workshop Facilitator

Write Around Portland’s volunteer workshop facilitators help to build community and promote healing through writing with workshop participants around our region. 

Benefits of Facilitating

  • Use your love of creative writing to help others recover, heal, and transform
  • Develop listening skills and learn how to hold space for others
  • Learn how to respectfully enter communities far different from your own
  • Learn ways to communicate across differences
  • Share the joy of creative writing with individuals who may not have experience with it

“Write Around is the best thing I do in this city. Every time I engage with it, it reminds me that being useful, helpful, and kind to other people is crucial to me feeling like I’m living my life well. It has made me more generous toward my neighbors, coworkers, to people at the grocery store.”

Cara Olexa, Facilitator

Getting Started

Workshop facilitators deliver our programs firsthand across our community. Since our volunteer facilitators represent our work, all interested individuals enter a competitive application process. We accept applicants twice per year.

Summer Cohort

Spring applications open in mid-April and are due in mid-June.

Interviews occur in July.

Facilitator training starts in late July/early August.

Workshops begin in early September and typically last 6-10 weeks.

Winter Cohort

Fall applications open in mid-September and due in mid-November.

Interviews occur in late November/December.

Facilitator training starts in early January.

Workshops begin in early February and typically last 6-10 weeks.

We seek applicants who believe in Write Around Portland’s mission, share our values, and reflect the full diversity of our community. You do not need to be a professional writer or have extensive experience to be a facilitator!

If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, please start by filling out a volunteer application, and our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch with additional information. People of color, Spanish speakers, people living with a disability or people who have lived or are living on a lower income are encouraged to apply.

Desired Qualities and Characteristics of a Facilitator

You do not need to be a professional writer or have extensive experience to be a facilitator! Instead, we are more interested in how you interact with others.

Here are a few qualities and characteristics we look for in facilitators:

  • warmth, friendliness and genuine interest in the well-being of others
  • flexibility and ability to adapt to changing needs or circumstances
  • ability to adapt to groups’ and individuals’ changing moods, energies, and needs while maintaining professional boundaries and within the construct of the Write Around Portland workshop model
  • openness and ability to work respectfully with new people and people with diverse backgrounds, health statuses, income and education levels, experiencing isolation, or those who may otherwise face barriers to writing in community
  • ability to meet deadlines, turn in paperwork, and follow through on commitments

“For the first time in my life, I feel like my volunteerism is connected: connected to personal talents and abilities, connected to the world in a real, gritty, passionate, unpredictable way. I have been looking for this my entire life and have not found it until now.”

Sara Guest, Facilitator & Board Member

Volunteer Facilitator Commitment

  • We are limited to training individuals who are committed to and capable of facilitating workshops for Write Around Portland. We are unable to train individuals who do not intend to or do not have the time to facilitate workshops with our organization. Because of the careful choices we must make as an organization, we ask that those interested take the same care in choosing whether or not to apply for and complete our training.
  • Attend and actively participate in all training sessions
  • Attend three volunteer meetings during your workshop
  • Follow all Write Around Portland policies and procedures
  • Pass a criminal background check and sign a volunteer liability waiver
  • Let staff know if you cannot make your workshop session
  • Within 24 hours of each workshop session, call or meet (virtually) with your support staffperson
  • Attend the Reading & Book Release associated with your workshop

“It felt really good to work with Write Around Portland. I felt I was helping carry the message of Write Around Portland, and it is a message I believe in; and I was helping to add to the community of writers in Portland…I also felt I was giving back to my community in a way that was personal—not just through my profession or ‘work duty’—but from my heart.”

– Dot Hearn, Facilitator

About Facilitator Training

All facilitators go through an 8-session, 27-hour training with Write Around Portland staff before they can facilitate one of our workshops. Here are some details to know:

  • Trainings occur in a cohort model, with all accepted applicants and two staff members engaged in a Write Around workshop together.
  • Training sessions are generally held on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM and on Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
    • There will be one all-day session held on a Saturday during your training. Lunch is provided. This is a required session that cannot be made up.
    • We provide snacks and invite folks to bring whatever will help them feel comfortable!
  • We require attendance at all sessions. Sometimes, we can supply a makeup session in the event someone is sick, but we ask that all applicants make time in their schedule to attend all the sessions.
  • Most sessions are held at our office on SW 2nd & Pine in Portland, OR. Our office building is ADA-accessible.
  • We can provide transit tickets and guided playtime for kiddos during training, upon request.

“I loved the Write Around Portland facilitator training! It’s like a universal training for life.”

Erin Ellickson Gerry, Facilitator

“It has been truly life-changing for me to facilitate Write Around Portland workshops. It has not been a small part of my life. While I know that I was volunteering to help others change their lives through writing, I think I was the one who was most affected!”

Elizabeth Fuss Arnott, Facilitator

Questions?

Elisabeth Geier (she/her)

Volunteer Coordinator

503-796-9224 | egeier@writearound.org

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