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!
Google gives us $10K in Google Ads each month. Help us use that opportunity to spread the good word about Uptown Stories.
The Anthologester helps edit and layout the print anthology published at the conclusion of each semester.
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.
Do you secretly wish you were a librarian? Examine our current library and correctly categorize and organize our books. You would also solicit book donations from book publishers and literary agencies that represent middle grade and YA book authors.
Do you live uptown and like talking to your local business owners? Help connect with folks who are interested in sponsoring a workshop or contributing to Uptown Stories.
Katya helps analyze our registration tables, and communicates the trends in our program data in an accessible way.
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.
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.
Granter of Wishes
Emily's grant game is 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.
Granter of Wishes
As the granter of wishes, you will help us by writing a single grant to keep US going strong.
Help us create beautiful, stylish, and informative campaigns. We'd love to dive into the deeper features too, using tags and A/B campaigns, etc..
Help organize special events like "Saturday Write Live," soliciting food and drink donations from local businesses and helping to run the party.
Communicate with local media and develop relationships, spreading the word about our pay-what-you-can program. Skills: excellent telephone and email etiquette, experience writing effective press releases
Social Media Savant
Help find interesting content to share with our supporters on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, such as publishing opportunities, articles about writing, writing contests, book recommendations, and more.
Julianna is a lover of all things art, and is happy to be a helping hand at Uptown Stories.
Sultan of Snacks
Help provide a balance of healthy and fun snacks for our hungry young writers. You'll solicit donations online from places like Costco and Fairway and help us get snacks from places we maybe haven't thought to ask.
Assuring all voices can be heard here at Uptown.
Natalie Legros is a Haitian-American native of Washington Heights. She started learning Spanish in middle school and went on to major in Spanish at Haverford College. (She also studied linguistics and Chinese.) She has translated for online newspapers, non-profit organizations, and media companies. In May, she will earn her Master’s degree in Translation from Kent State University. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, listening to music, baking, and being a foodie!
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
Wednesday Worker Bee
Sade is a regular at our Wednesday work parties, and handles anything we throw at her!
Sade Boyewa is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Harlem with her two kids. A native of Sweden and Nigeria, her colorful and vibrant collages based in photographs pay homage to her transnational and multicultural upbringing from around the world. Sade started her career as an Internationally Renowned Makeup Artist in the Television, Film and Print. In November 2018, Sade founded The Harlem PoP-Up Collective & The Harlem Flea, a hub for local artisans, creatives, designers and vendors from Harlem to share their goods and link with the community. Sade says of her work, “My ultimate goal is to inspire people, most of all children to look carefully at the world around them, beyond the obvious, to uncover all the beauty that exist in the most unusual and unexpected places.”
Wednesday Worker Bee
Emily is an incredibly helpful and pleasant person, who's willing to do whatever to assist us at Uptown.
Emily loves a good question. Questions are what brought her to medical school, a Masters in Bioethics, and New York City. And questions are what brings her to a good story. Emily like to create words out of thin air- it’s almost like magic! She can’t wait to work for Uptown Stories and looks forward to meeting all of you!
Come to Wednesday Work Party. Every Wednesday from 10-4, we meet at the Cornerstone Center and get work done! Show up and we will give you a task for the day.
Vivian sparks student's creative flow in our poetry class.
Vivian Holland is an undergraduate at New York University’s Gallatin School pursuing an interdisciplinary major in neurochemistry and music, with a creative writing minor through the College of Arts and Sciences. Vivian is passionate about nurturing young writers and loves being part of Uptown Stories’ dynamic creative space! When she isn’t scribbling poems in her notebook or testing compounds in her lab, Vivian can be found singing and playing jazz in the East Village, or occasionally performing standup comedy.
Sarah helps strengthen the voices of young writers in Girls Rising.
Sarah Yang is a senior at the Academies@Englewood in New Jersey. Originally born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Sarah utilizes the duality and diversity in her multicultural identity throughout her writing, specifically her poetry, as ways to relearn herself and the world in different ways than before. Looking to major in literature in college, Sarah is passionate and continuously optimistic about writing’s power to defy and redefine.
Layla inspires beautiful verse in the Art of Poetry
Layla Acito is a poet, visual artist, and recent Trinity high school graduate on a gap year; she will be attending Eugene Lang College at the New School in Fall 2020. Much of the creative work she did in high school was in an effort to foster an artistic community, creating large-scale murals, starting the Communal Sketchbook Project, and leading the Visual Art Club. In her final semester, she received the opportunity to pursue an Independent Study with poet Andrew McCarron, the topic of which was the New York School of poets. Her poetry and creative writing were frequently published in Trinity’s literary magazine, Columbus. She has also been self-publishing an experimental literature and art zine, the Bear, for the past three years.
Workshop wizards provide extra support to instructors in our creative writing workshops. Duties can include setting up workshop space and supplies, taking attendance, assisting students one-on-one or in small groups with their writing.They also take photos and videos during workshop, and assist with the preparation of student writing for the reading and anthology produced at the end of the semester.
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.
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.
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.