As a young nonprofit, with a tiny (albeit mighty) staff, we genuinely need volunteer help. However, we know how uncomfortable it is to commit to an open-ended, vague project. So we’ve come up with a bunch of discrete, but essential ways you can volunteer to help. Some of these jobs are completable, and others are on-going, but in either case we ask that you commit to your small job for at least three months. Thanks to your support, we’ll be able to reach more young people uptown and help them discover their inner voices in a diverse community of writers.
Scroll through the current volunteer opportunities to see if there’s a job that’s right for you! Clicking any tile will redirect you to our sign-up form. We look forward to hearing from you!
Queena is a lifelong resident of Queens who loves to read. Her favorite books are The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. She volunteers at Uptown Stories as a Wednesday Worker Bee, making sure that everyone hears the buzz about our writing workshops!
Karina teaches us the wonders of Adobe InDesign so we can publish our incredible anthologies.
Karina Granda is an Art Director at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she designs Young Adult and Middle Grade novels, as well as the occasional Picture Book. She has worked on numerous New York Times bestsellers including The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black, Internment by Samira Ahmed, The Magic Misfits series by Neil Patrick Harris, Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. When not making books, she likes to take walks around her Bushwick neighborhood, visit museums, watch reality TV, and read Yelp reviews for her next eating adventure. You can find her work at karinagranda.com.
Ben helps keep the young artists in our comics class inspired!
Benjamin Hughes Agrella graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, with a BA in Fine Arts, majoring in Creative Writing. He has had years of experience crafting a versatile and expansive writing style; exploring fiction, articles, poetry, comics, surrealism and magical realism, as well as self-publishing. His main passion however is comic script writing, whether posting hand drawn work online, or collaborating with illustrators, Ben tries to keep his weeks busy with new ideas.
Gillian helps inspire diabolical plots in our Villains workshop.
Gillian Kalson is a New York City native-creative with a passion for writing, and for teaching young people to become fearless storytellers. Gillian was a New York City Teaching Fellow and public high school ELA Teacher for two years. She finds helping students develop their talents as imaginative and creative writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry the most rewarding aspect of teaching. Gillian delights in seeing students’ confidence and self-esteem rise as they own the creative process and tap into their unique experiences, expressing their ideas freely and authentically. Gillian is a published writer of news articles, reviews, poetry, and essays and enjoys writing in the genres of science fiction, horror fiction, and fantasy fiction. She earned her B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz and attended Brooklyn College for her M.A. in Secondary Education, English Teaching.
Wednesday Worker Bee
We are looking for a responsible intern/volunteer to perform administrative and marketing tasks in our office. Mondays and/or Wednesdays from 10am - 3pm. Perfect for a college student interested in the inner workings of a nonprofit. Skills: internet savvy, FB, Twitter, IG, InDesign, Wordpress.
Cedilla creates materials that communicate the trends in our program data in an accessible way.
Cedilla Sachar is a data analyst and researcher with a background in social policy. She has a passion for using data—along with careful analysis and well-designed visualizations—to improve social services and make information more accessible for everyone. In her spare time, Cedilla enjoys learning eclectic trivia and can often be found indulging her curiosity on Wikipedia, TVTropes, and Google Scholar.
Granter of Wishes
As the granter of wishes, Emily helps us by writing and submitting grants to keep us going strong.
As a young girl, Emily started writing stories on the backs of old holiday cards and never put the pencil down. Her long-term goals are to work in education and teach writing at the college-level. She spends the 9-5 workday as a project manager in the brisk world of advertising and works with ESL students at LaGuardia Community College on the side. Emily graduated from Ithaca College in December 2016 and moved to Astoria, Queens soon after.
Dina reads our students' work closely and provides helpful edits to polish their stories to a fine finish.
Dina Paulson-McEwen is a writer, editor, and educator. She is the author of Parts of love (Finishing Line Press, 2018). Other work appears in Flash Fiction Magazine, FlashFlood, Minola Review, Dying Dahlia Review, The Ham Free Press, The Hungry Chimera, and elsewhere and has been exhibited at Hudson Guild Gallery and San Juan Capistrano Library. She is the assistant managing editor at Compose | A Journal of Simply Good Writing and an editor at Flash Fiction Magazine. She collaborates with creative thinkers through her company, Aqua Editing, and she lives in Princeton, New Jersey. She is thrilled to join the Uptown Stories family and cannot wait to share the children’s stories with you!
Help us conjure marketing campaigns.
Granter of Wishes
As the granter of wishes, you will help us by writing a single grant to keep US going strong.
As our Fidget Finder, Shae finds ways for our students to think, create, write, and play better.
Shae Davidson has explored social and cultural history as a museum director and has taught history, literature, and public policy. His games have been used by counselors to help teens explore memories and experiences, as well as teachers in ESL and language arts courses. Shae grew up in West Virginia–where his family shaped his early love of games, folklore, and fiction–and currently lives in Illinois where he works at a school for students with learning differences.
Sultan of Snacks
As Sultan of Snacks, you will help solicit stores and families for edible donations to keep our young writers energized and happy while they work.
The Facebook Aficionado understands Facebook's algorithms, and helps us create and maintain ads and donations campaigns.
Bryan maximizes our Mailchimp use so we can reach more people with quality news about our program.
Bryan graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in business, which he used as a human resource professional before switching gears to become a web developer. Off the web, he enjoys attending concerts and sporting events.
Katya examines, cleans, and transforms our data to help us discover useful program information, draw conclusions, and support our decision-making.
Katya Johns has always been enamored with communication of all types – be it written, visual or data. She graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in Government and English, which she combined in the pursuit of political journalism, before turning to the world of business and finance. A native New Yorker, uptown girl and wannabe writer, Katya found immediate resonance with Uptown Stories’ mission and model.
Help us communicate with your school’s administration, literacy teachers, PTA, and parent community.
You'll assist Uptown Stories writers in entering the Scholastic writing awards.
You can help us connect with local business who are interested in sponsoring a workshop or helping US out in another way.
Help organize special events like "Saturday Write Live," soliciting food and drink donations from local businesses and helping to run the party.
The Anthologester helps edit and layout the print anthology published at the conclusion of each semester.
The bibilotrix stocks the student library and solicits donations from individuals and corporate book grants.
Take up residence on the backend of our site conjuring web traffic with Google AdWords and SEO best practices.
Amanda is on hand to read our students' work closely and provide helpful edits to polish their stories to a fine finish.
Amanda Orozco graduated from UCLA with a degree in Physiological Science and a minor in English. She is currently a student at NYU, studying for her Master’s of Science in Publishing. While a student, she also works as an Editorial Assistant at ACLS Humanities E-Book and interns with the National Book Foundation. A Los Angeles native, Amanda is adjusting to the below-60-degree weather and is learning to love the city. She aspires to one day work as an editor at a publishing house.
Téa uses her photoshop wizardry to polish our students' comics so they look beautiful in our print anthology.
Téa was born and raised in New York City. She is currently a rising junior at New York University; unfortunately, her acceptance letter to Hogwarts was lost in the mail. She lives with her mother and three pets: Maniuiok and Rocky Raccoon, who are cats, and Michael, who is her human twin.
Ellen selects excerpts from every student's published writing to share with online and with the wider Uptown Stories community.
Ellen is a historian, educator, and media producer currently directing New York University’s master’s degree program in Archives and Public History. In her prior work at American Social History Project (based at the City University of New York), she designed and led professional development programs serving New York City public school social studies teachers, created and consulted on curriculum development projects, and developed digital projects for educators and the public. She served as supervising editor of the textbook Who Built America?: Working People and the Nation’s History, Volume One: To 1877 (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008) and is the author of The Strange Career of Porgy and Bess: Race, Culture, and America’s Most Famous Opera (University of North Carolina, 2012). Her daughter Susannah is an avid participant in Uptown Stories workshops.
Daniel volunteers as an assistant teacher in our It's Your Thing workshop.
Daniel Ortega-Venni is a freshman at Columbia College majoring in applied mathematics and creative writing. When he’s not fretting about schoolwork, he’s listening to epic orchestral music, reading Alice in Wonderland, watching The Amazing Race or writing fantasy stories.
As our resident webcrawler, Laura updates and maintains our WordPress site.
Laura is a freelance web developer based in New York. Her website is lauraho.work
I think Sofia's writing has become clearer, stronger and more sophisticated, both in what she's written for the writing class, and what she's written for school assignments. Uptown Stories has helped her tune in to her writing in a way she was not doing before.
Our daughter’s writing has improved in that it now includes more descriptive sentences which flow really well. Her story written in class was very descriptive with many details and very easy to follow.
We did a game where we wrote something on a piece of paper and passed it around so that the others could add onto it. That was my favorite thing we did at Uptown Stories, because we ended up with a funny story at the end.
The quality of teaching is superb. The teachers have the chance to get to know each child, and, due to the small class size, the feedback is very specific. Also, witnessing the other children critique the writing is remarkable - the children are kind and respectful, but very honest. This format that no doubt aids the children in their confidence and skills as writers.
I love the teaching style, because it allows the student to dig into what they may be having trouble reaching by themselves. I believe that 'less is more' is the way to go, but as an effective teaching technique it’s not easy to achieve.
Uptown Stories definitely helped me grow as a writer: I now add details without thinking twice and know what I struggle in as well as what my stronghold is. Being in an environment that I feel comfortable about sharing my writing in has also helped.
Thank you for providing such a creative, nurturing haven for budding writers! In this age of tweets, texts, and fast communication, it is wonderful that our children have the opportunity to stop, think, and write.
Our daughter is much more excited about sharing her work and is willing to make changes to see what happens. She is not just automatically wed to the first way it comes out; instead, she has a much more serious commitment to the process and her standards are much higher.
As far as I can tell, the quality of teaching is superb. While I can't describe exactly what goes on in the classes, I don't think I need to either. The effect the classes have had on our son speaks for itself and the readings are the icing on the cake. It’s part of being a writer, after all, which means they are able to exercise skills that they will need to develop
I think my daughter has a greater appreciation for the process of writing, rather than just wanting to finish something so it's done and can be turned in. She takes great pride in what she's written and I think the creative process that has been encouraged in the class has helped her open up as a person. She is starting to recognize the importance of being able to write and the value of being able to write well.
Our daughter has become more aware of what a writer wants to convey in a story when she reads, because of her new understanding of who writers are. She pays attention to what the writer wants the readers to get from a story and how they use different techniques to accomplish their goal, many of them similar to the ones she is learning herself at Uptown Stories.
Uptown Stories offers a stimulating and encouraging refuge and outlet for her students. The weekly assignments offer different approaches for my son to consider how to tell his stories and how to develop his characters. They also offer insights into their own creative process while also providing ways for him to learn about the structure and forms that contribute to storytelling.
It's an outlet for a lot of feelings I don't really have anywhere to express otherwise. It feels like a private space for me that I only I can really understand--no one other than me really knows what I mean in what I write. Writing helps me express to other people feelings I wouldn't know how to tell in another manner.
Thank you so very much for contributing such a positive writing experience for my son. He truly loved his time with the class. His eyes were so lit up and happy when he returned home each evening from class. Through your class his love of writing was reignited.
Her writing has improved tremendously. She´s more descriptive in her scenes. Her imagination travels far more that what she herself expects. She loves writing. She can sit for hours and let her imagination fly. She’s happy when she has to attend her writing workshops.