Q: What do volunteers do?
A lot! For starters, you make our free programs possible. We have a variety of programs in which you, as a volunteer, can participate. Volunteers have the opportunity to tutor students after school, help students with writing projects in public schools around San Francisco, assist with our yearly Young Authors’ Book Project, and much more!
Q: Do I need to be an expert writer or tutor to volunteer?
A: No! Volunteers are not required to be an expert writer, editor, or published author. However, it is crucial that volunteers are excited and eager to do the important work of supporting our young learners with a positive, flexible approach. We ask that volunteers come with an open mind when learning 826’s tutoring best practices, values, and when working with our students. We provide a lot of training in the orientation and ongoing training opportunities along the way!
Q:What’s the time commitment?
A: You can sign up for shifts that fit your schedule, and there’s no minimum time commitment. That said, our programs (and our students!) benefit from your consistency—it’s a great way to see the same students grow over time, to form a bond with your fellow volunteers, and to help us meet students’ needs. So we ask that when possible, you sign up for a regular weekly shift.
Q: What are all the things I need to do in order to become a volunteer?
A: The first thing to do is fill out a volunteer application. Once you do that, you will be invited to our volunteer orientation, where you will learn much more about our programs. Then, you will need to complete a Live Scan background check and a TB test for us, and sign a quick form. That’s it! When you’ve completed these three steps, you will be able to start signing up for shifts in our volunteer calendar.
Q: Why do I need a background check? How does that work?
A: As an organization that works directly with young people, the background check is a safety measure and safeguard for our students, and is a required step for all volunteers. If you have recently completed a Live Scan for a different organization, you’ll still need to have another Live Scan processed for 826 Valencia. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to accept Live Scan results from other agencies or organizations, as they are proprietary and private.
Q: Why do I need a TB test? How does that work?
A: As an organization that works directly with young people, negative TB tests results are required by the State of California for working with youth in-person. We can accept test results that are up to 2 years old. (Note: these are only required for in-person volunteering)
Q: There are so many volunteer opportunities. How do I know which one is best for me?
We recommend trying a few different programs to see what age group, type of tutoring, and program suits you the best. You can view the volunteer calendar by location, and sort it by program within that location. And if you’d like some consultation, you can always reach out to email@example.com with questions.
Q: I’m just a big fan of 826 Valencia. How else can I support you?
We’re big fans of you, too. You could recruit a friend (or five or eight-hundred-and-twenty-six) to volunteer along with you, or make a donation! 95% of our funding comes from individual gifts of all sizes. You can make a donation here.
Q: How can I keep learning and growing as a volunteer?
A: The first step is to approach all tutoring sessions with a growth mindset about your own abilities as a tutor, and to be willing to learn from and alongside our students! You can also join us for Tutor Trainings throughout the year, to learn more about specific tutoring skills; and don’t forget to check out the resources on our Oasis page to learn at your own pace.
Q: I have a question that’s not included here. How can I ask you an infrequently asked question?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can answer any other questions you might have!