Over a decade of working and volunteering with nonprofits and community-building organizations.
June 2014 to June 2015
Volunteer food re-distribution with Urban Gleaners. Aligned with the innovative thinking going on in Portland more generally, this team finds surplus food from a number of sources as well as receiving donations.
Volunteer Kayak Guide
Youth Day on the Bay is an annual kayak outing for residents of the Hunters Point and Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco. As an instructor, I paddled kids and parents into the Bay, teaching paddle techniques, explaining tides, and holding races.
It was also a treat to paddle with the legendary SF kayak enthusiast Bo Barnes, whose trip from Oregon to the Bay has been an inspiration throughout my years on the West Coast.
Patagonia Trail Maintenance
This was for a non-profit called AMA in the Torres Del Paine park in the Patagonia region of Chile. It was a two week pay-to-volunteer situation, where we were given warm meals and space for our tent in exchange for eight hour work days. The work included repairing signs and digging post holes, as well as clearing brush along the trail up to the three towers. At the end we were able to stay in the park to hike the circuit of trails. AMA also provided a bus ride into and out of the park.
Volunteer Creative Writing Instructor
For over a decade the 826 non-profit organization has provided writing and tutoring resources to thousands of students in seven cities across the U.S. My time with 826Chicago annually brought me to, among other schools, Schiller Elementary, where I worked with some amazing kids and teachers before the school and the rest of the Cabrini Green Projects in which it was situated was demolished.
At Schiller I taught various creative writing sessions, culminating in bound books for each student. A highlight of these years was attending the annual Printers Row festival, where students would read their stories to a packed tent and flashing cameras. The festival was a day for students, parents and teachers to come together and smile at the power of young imaginations.
Friend and current Logan Square Preservation treasurer Bruce Anderson and I ran canvas crews, knocked on doors with petitions, and stood at L stops to tell neighbors about the importance of not letting another Starbucks pop up on Logan Boulevard. In 2005 we achieved landmark status for the Boulevard, a highlight of Bruce and Co.’s tireless campaigns.