Jenny Lloyd, Volunteer, Team Lead
I moved to Seattle in 2001, and early in my time here, a good friend working at the YMCA suggested I check out Seattle Works. I signed onto a Team Works team and volunteered with the same group of people for several rounds. Years later, my kids now attend the same school as a kid of my long-time Seattle Works friend!
One of my most memorable projects was working the Glitter Sale with Goodwill, their event of the year. There are a LOT of sequins, rack after rack. People in the know line up at dawn just waiting for those doors to open! Then they hit the ground running, grabbing clothes off the rack, wearing full-body spanx so they can try on clothes right there in the middle of the store. Volunteers would have to escort other volunteers bringing out new merch to keep them from getting swarmed!
I had the privilege to lead a pilot family-friendly Team Works team, letting parents volunteer alongside their children, having some really educational conversations along the way. We also found that kids are enthusiastic doing most anything if they are doing it with friends.
I want to raise my kids not to be isolated in their privilege. I am so impressed with the equity work that Seattle Works is prioritizing. The paradigm shift has been eye-opening to me, moving beyond “We’re doing to do good and give back,” and changing the conversation to recognize the privilege we have to be able to volunteer at all. We’re not going in to save anyone; we’re being invited in to learn from and work alongside sub-communities that are part of our larger community.
As a team captain, I’ve appreciated the leadership experience focusing on all of the steps required to work as a volunteer manager: recruiting volunteers, distributing information on how to be prepared for the projects, setting expectations, making sure volunteers (especially the kids!) have background information about the partner organizations, and doing whatever I can keep up my team’s energy since we sign up for several months’ worth of projects.
The single issue I care about most is working with organizations to help meet the basic needs of young families.
If I had a super-power, it would be the ability to have complete openness to other perspectives and the ability to have peaceful dialogue. I think that showing empathy towards people coming from circumstances that don’t match our own, and working hard on respectful discourse go a long way.