The thing that makes the Sydney Story Factory different from other creative writing centres is our ability to offer students close, personal attention to their writing.
Becoming a volunteer is the best way to become part of the Sydney Story Factory team. You’ll be offered a range of professional learning opportunities as well as fun social events. Best of all, you’ll get to work closely with our amazing students, knowing you’re making an important difference to their lives.
Our biggest need is for volunteer tutors, who work shoulder-to-shoulder with the students, helping them to write the most exciting stories of their lives. We also need volunteers in other areas: shop staff, illustrators, stall hosts, typists, and occasionally even someone to act as Marcia the Martian Librarian!
Our focus is on students from marginalised backgrounds. This means in a workshop you may be working with Indigenous students, students from a language background other than English, students from foster homes, students from difficult family circumstances. You may be working with students who are very shy, or very loud, who may be rude or hyperactive or cheeky. Or you may not be! Our students come from a wealth of life experiences, and our aim is to treat every one of them with respect, kindness and understanding.
Our workshops cover a wide range of areas, but all focus on creative writing. You may be working on narrative fiction, poetry, performance script, a radio podcast, short film, memoir, letters, comic strips, or any number of other projects. The workshops are either one-offs or, much more often, a series that runs for around 6-9 weeks through the school term. We always ask volunteers to sign up for the full term as you will be working with the same students each week on the same project. Most opportunities are in term-length workshops on weekdays between 8am-5pm.
Most of our workshops are run during working hours on week days, between the hours of 8am and 5pm. There are also a few opportunities for weekend volunteering, however these are limited.
Some workshops are run here in our magical space at the Martian Embassy, 176 Redfern St in Redfern, although increasingly we're running workshops offsite in our local schools and community groups and, as we get closer to opening our Parramatta centre, in schools and organisations in Western Sydney. If you're signing up to volunteer, keep in mind that often the workshops will not be here in our space.
While we are always looking for more enthusiastic volunteers, interviewing and signing up new volunteers does take up a lot of administration time and resources. Please think carefully about whether we are a good match for you before signing up, and feel free to email through with any questions or concerns you might have before you do. It's much easier for us to spend some time chatting with you beforehand than to go through the process of signing you up to the team if you're not able to join in for anything.
If this all sounds wonderful, we'd love for you to get involved! Just fill in the form below; you’ll then receive an email letting you know the next available interview and orientation dates (which happen on the same day, the interview lasting fifteen minutes and the orientation five hours, with a forty-five minute lunch break), after which you’ll be eligible to volunteer at any of our workshops.
If you have any questions about the volunteer roles, training process or anything at all, don’t hesitate to send our Volunteer Manager Craig an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
WHAT OUR VOLUNTEERS ARE SAYING:
"As a newbie to the team, Sydney Story Factory has been a completely eye opening experience for me. I have loved connecting with kids from such diverse backgrounds and feel so nourished from their positive energy and creativity. A workshop at SSF always reminds me why I'm becoming a teacher."
"What I loved the most about the Story Factory workshops was not only the incredibly creative and extraordinary writing tasks the kids tackled every week, but the safe and supportive space the tutors create. Even with a small number of volunteers, the tutors were still able to inspire every kid in the room to tell their story and not one child was left without a story they were proud to share. "
"I started volunteering with SSF because I write for a living, and thought I'd be able to give something back to kids who could use some help. What I didn't realise was how genuinely rewarding and fun it would be to get to spend time every week with an enthusiastic, imaginative, energetic kid who has a bunch of great ideas that can be turned into great stories. Volunteering at SSF is challenging, but in the best way — it requires patience, empathy, and thinking deeply about how to best support a kid in finding their voice. There is no better feeling than connecting with your student, and helping them produce work that is observant, crazy, hilarious, and smart."