Middle School Volunteer Mentor

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Recruiting Organization: Young Storytellers

Who Are We?

Young Storytellers is a youth development and arts education nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles and with programs across the country. Young Storytellers’ mission is to spark creative self-discovery through storytelling. Our programs highlight young people as the center of their own narratives, emphasize that their stories matter, and celebrate their unique voices as the ones telling them. Young Storytellers works towards a future where young people experience the impact that their thoughts, feelings, and words can have on the world in which they live.

Young Storytellers works with students in elementary, middle, and high school. In elementary school, students write scripts that are completely their own; in middle school, students create stories about times they have been misunderstood; and in high school, students write about challenges they face in their self-identified communities. Students in each program work with volunteer mentors, and every student gets to see their work performed by professional actors. Young Storytellers programs are designed around Common Core standards, integrate Social and Emotional Learning activities, and include components of Learning for Justice’s Social Justice Standards. For more information on our work, visit our website.

What Is This Position?

Young Storytellers Middle School Mentors are the people who make the YS magic happen in schools all over Los Angeles. Over the course of several weeks, Mentors help facilitate writing by developing a relationship with their student writer(s) and guiding them through the process of telling their story, from ideation to a finished product. In the Middle School Stories program, students work in small groups with a Mentor to create stories about times they have been misunderstood. The group setting allows students to discuss personal topics in an intimate environment and work collaboratively with their group. Mentors support their writers’ creativity through Young Storytellers’ values of belonging, exploration, connection, and play. At each session, Mentors encourage creative exploration, make room to try new things, ask curious questions, and facilitate activities. \. While a creative background and experience working with young people can be helpful as a Mentor, they are not necessary, as Mentors are led through the process by YS curriculum and supported by the student’s middle school teacher. .

Cool, But Let’s Get Specific. What’s Involved in Being a Mentor? Responsibilities:
  • An ability to commit to all in-person, hour-long sessions throughout a 10 week program, and one 2.hour live performance called the Big Show
  • All sessions happen on weekdays only and are scheduled between 10 am-2 pm
  • Transportation is not provided and is the responsibility of each Mentor (note that limited funds for transportation are available)
  • Implement YS curriculum with student writers with the guidance and support of a Middle School teacher and Young Storytellers’ Middle & High School Programs Specialist
  • Support, facilitate, and manage a small group of student writers inside of a classroom setting
  • Transcribe student work, if needed (note that access to a device such as a computer or tablet is required)
  • Model the YS values of belonging, exploration, connection, and play, as well as the YS Worldview, while working with student writers, other volunteers, and YS staff
  • Complete a Volunteer Application (link is below)
  • Attend required Volunteer training session (in-person or virtual)
  • Complete all necessary paperwork, including a background check, TB screening, and providing proof of Covid-19 vaccination; note that if the district requires, regular Covid-19 testing may be asked
  • Communicate on a weekly basis with a Middle School partner teacher via email

What Skills & Experiences Are Needed For This Volunteer Opportunity?
  • Experience working with young people is helpful but not necessary
  • Awareness of social and emotional skills
  • Empathy, patience, and good listening skills
  • An ability to ask open-ended and curious questions
  • A commitment to empowering young people so they can develop the skills to tell their own stories

What are YS’s COVID Protocols?

For the safety of our students, volunteers, and their loved ones, all YS volunteers participating in in-person programs must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 and provide proof of vaccination (note that vaccination status is confidential and for internal use only). This is in addition to the mandatory mask use and weekly COVID testing required by school districts for all on-campus visitors. For more information on how Young Storytellers is working safely on campuses this fall, visit our website at https://bit.ly/YSFall2021FAQs.

Ok, I’m In. How Do I Get Started?

Young Storytellers programs begin in September 2021 and run throughout the fall semester. To become a volunteer Mentor, please visit https://www.youngstorytellers.com/volunteerand fill out an application.

For any questions or accommodations while applying, please email us at katie@youngstorytellers.com or call us at 323.962.4500.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Young Storytellers believes in raising voices, particularly those that don’t often get listened to. Belonging is a core value of the Young Storytellers culture, and our daily practices around equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-bias, antidiscrimination, and antiracism are central to that value. Young Storytellers firmly believes that Black Lives Matter. We encourage women and gender diverse people, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans, immigrants, and anyone with a disability to apply for this and all our positions. Young Storytellers has designed our interview, onboarding, and ongoing cultural practices to be a welcoming space for everyone. You can read more about our worldview on our website.

Stipend ProvidedFalse

Training ProvidedFalse

Housing AvailableFalse

Language/Cultral Support AvailableFalse

Wheelchair Accessible

Fee RequiredFalse

Fee Amount: None

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