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. At the moment we are really just looking for volunteers who can commit to term-length workshops, one day a week throughout the term.
Most of our workshops are run during working hours on week days, between the hours of 9am and 5pm. There are also a few opportunities for weekend volunteering, however these are limited.
Many 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 sometimes even farther afield. 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 three hours, with a half hour 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:
"Volunteering at Sydney Story Factory is important to me as I get to work directly to make my community a happier and more creative place. I also get to work with a bunch of generous, intelligent and inspiring people - I'm never not smiling after a shift at that crazy place."
"I just love working at the Martian Embassy because not only do I get to be part of a wonderful team, in which everyone is totally devoted to all the marginalised children having opportunities to explore their potential in a safe nurturing space; but also as a volunteer I am encouraged to utilise all my skills, training and life experiences to assist in empowering these children."
"It is brilliant to see how so many of the children we work with at the Sydney Story Factory can just grab ideas and roll with them. As someone who writes for a living, this is a reminder of how liberating it can be to be silly and experimental in the ‘draft’ stage without worrying too much about how the final version will turn out. It’s this unbridled creativity that is so fun to be involved with, especially when a young person surprises themselves with the quality of their own work. When this happens, the child's proud smile is the volunteer's priceless reward."