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Pongo Seeks Volunteers (WA)

From Richard Gold, Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project:

Pongo is doing wonderfully and looking for volunteers for the fall. Pongo volunteers will make a six-month commitment (once a week for three hours plus), and they will learn our techniques for helping abused, neglected, and other traumatized youth to express themselves therapeutically through poetry. More information is included below.

WHAT IS PONGO? Since 1992, the Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project has worked with teens who are in jail, on the streets, or in other ways leading difficult lives. We help young people express themselves through poetry, and the teens often write about traumatic life experiences. Through creative writing, Pongo helps its authors communicate feelings, build self-esteem, and take better control of their lives. Each summer we publish chapbook compilations of the teens’ work. The chapbooks are distributed free to incarcerated youth and others. You can find out more about us at www.pongopublishing.org .

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AND FREE TRAINING: Are you interested in learning how to use creative writing therapeutically with incarcerated, homeless, and other distressed youth? The Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project is offering volunteer opportunities and trainings at several sites this fall, to run mid-September 2006 to mid-April 2007. The sites and possible schedules include:

King County Juvenile Detention, Seattle, Tuesdays, noon-3:15 PM
Child Study and Treatment Center (state psychiatric hospital), Tacoma, Mondays, noon-3:15 PM
(Please feel free to contact us if you will not be available on these schedules but would like to be informed about schedule changes or other volunteer opportunities.)

People who join the Pongo program will be well-trained and well-supervised, and they will work as part of a close-knit team of four to six people, under the direction of a Pongo project leader. Every weekly session includes one hour of training (with discussion about poetry, traumatized youth, and writing activities).

We are looking for mature individuals who have a clear understanding of personal boundaries and an ability to adapt to institutional rules. Ideal candidates will write poetry, have education as teachers or counselors, and have experience working with distressed youth. Candidates must make a commitment to attending the weekly Pongo sessions, being on time, and staying with the program until its completion in April.

If you are interested in becoming a Pongo volunteer, please contact us soon. Spaces are limited, and the application and interview process must be completed in early August. You can begin this process by emailing us a copy of your resume and samples of your poetry. Our address is info-at-pongopublishing-dot-org . We welcome your questions, too.

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