RSVP of Spokane County is piloting a virtual intergenerational project to connect local high school students with AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers to share stories, forge connections, and promote the benefits of journaling and creative expression.
For our pilot, we'll be partnering with The Community School (TCS), a Spokane public high school with a unique "project-centered" curriculum. The project begins April 12, 2021 with all TCS students participating.
This project is a collaboration with researchers at McMaster University who are studying creative and supportive ways to improve the cognitive and social wellbeing of older adults.
The platform they've developed, WritLarge, is an online resource for older adults to anonymously share personal life stories. Users can explore stories using themes, keywords, and other criteria, or use the 'Story Roulette' function to read randomly selected entries.
Here's how Writing Across Generations (WAG) works:
Each AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer is paired with two students for 4 weeks, meeting twice a week using Microsoft Teams breakout rooms
Volunteers will register as YMCA volunteers and undergo background screenings prior to participating
Sessions will be recorded for project staff review
During the first four sessions, volunteers and students use prompts and stories from WritLarge to engage in group discussions
Participants write weekly journal entries and post them to the WAG online platform (powered by WritLarge)
Group members will read and discuss each other's entries each week
During the last four sessions, student pairs choose a story from their volunteer mentor's life to reflect on and share in a creative way (via essay, video/digital story, podcast, performance, etc.)
The best stories will be selected to feature on our website and share with the greater Spokane community
Becoming a WAG Mentor
In addition to being enrolled as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer, WAG mentors must r egister as volunteers of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest and undergo a criminal background check
To access the YMCA volunteer application, visit https://ymcainw.org/support-the-y/volunteer/
Under "Location you are interested in volunteering," select "Corporate Office" or leave the boxes unchecked
Under "Area you are interested in volunteering," select "Other" and write in "RSVP"
Next to "Why are you interested in volunteering with us?" put "Writing Across Generations"
Return your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to (509) 343-4096, or mail to YMCA Corporate Office, 1126 N Monroe, Spokane, WA 99201, attn: RSVP
You'll need a computer or tablet, stable internet connection, and access to Microsoft Teams (free to install, or connect through your browser)
If you don't have a webcam, RSVP has a limited supply of webcams available for volunteers to borrow. Just email email@example.com and let us know you need one.
In March, we will provide training to all interested WAG mentors on using Microsoft Teams and the WAG online journaling platform (training date(s) TBA).
For more information, contact RSVP Director Justin Eisenstadt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 720-5635.
No additional volunteer opportunities at this time.
About RSVP of Spokane County
1126 N MONROE, Spokane, WA 99201, US
RSVP of Spokane County, an AmeriCorps Seniors program sponsored by the YMCA of the Inland Northwest, connects people age 55+ with volunteer opportunities at local nonprofit organizations to address critical community needs. View all current volunteer opportunities at rsvpspokane.org/post/current-rsvp-volunteer-opportunities.
Join the nation's largest volunteer network for people 55+ that provides matching services and free benefits! We partner with 25+ non-profit agencies throughout Spokane County to provide you a wide range of service opportunities that are best suited to your interests, experience, time commitment, and level of physical ability. Free benefits for members include supplemental insurance coverage, transportation reimbursement, recognition and fellowship. Through service volunteers can share their unique knowledge, skills, and experiences to support positive change in the community. Visit www.rsvpspokane.org to learn more and enroll.
Children & Youth
Education & Literacy
Mon Apr 12, 2021 - Fri Jun 18, 2021
This is a Virtual Opportunity, with no fixed address.
February 18, 2021
Literacy / Reading
Reading / Writing
Basic Computer Skills
Must be at least 55
Orientation or Training
Exact schedule TBD. Commitment will most likely be 2 sessions/week, 1.5 hours/session, for 4 weeks. Sessions will most likely be held Mon/Wed and Tues/Thurs from 9:30 - 11:00 am.
Must register as an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer at rsvpspokane.org, and as a YMCA volunteer. Visit https://www.rsvpspokane.org/writing-across-generations for more information.