Volunteer with Create Now
Volunteering is rewarding and helps build healthy, sustainable communities, thereby empowering individuals.
We offer mentors the chance to share their knowledge and experience with the kids who need it the most in our community. Many of our mentors feel more fulfilled and happier with their careers, since their lives take on special meaning.
Our volunteers report that they also get along better with their own families after mentoring these youth and find themselves becoming more patient, open-minded and better prepared to deal with challenges.
While most of our partner agencies require mentors who work with the children to be at least 21-years-old, Create Now always needs help with fundraising and some other tasks.
We have three main volunteer opportunities:
1. Working with Youth - Arts mentoring
By focusing on the arts, such as music, writing, dance or painting, it’s often easier to get kids to open up. Youth build their confidence and self-esteem by accomplishing their goal of engaging in the arts, while keeping souvenirs of the experience. This is equally rewarding for the mentors, as they share their expertise and give back to the neediest children in our community.
2. Working with Youth - Life Skills Mentoring
By donating just an hour of your time each week, you can make a difference in our world. By mentoring a small group of youth as a Life Skills Mentor, volunteers help the kids to learn basic survival, including how to apply to college, find an apartment, interview for jobs, open a bank account and start their own business. Taking your mentee(s) on fun outings also makes them aware of opportunities in their neighborhood.
3. Helping Create Now - Strategic Projects
There are many ways to help Create Now, such as by serving on one of our committees (Programs, Fundraising, Marketing/PR and Finance), or perhaps on our Board of Directors. Support is also needed for tasks like organizing our arts supplies storage room or assisting with special events. For example, Create Now is sometimes invited to promote our work by distributing brochures and other information to the public. We need volunteers to help us set up our table, hand out our marketing materials, solicit donations and spread the word about the great work our organization is doing in the community.
Is there a long-term commitment?
While many mentoring organizations require a one-year commitment, we’ve learned that even just one meeting between a mentor and a youth can have a positive effect. The child might be inspired to change their behavior or motivated to pursue a particular career. And since many of the troubled youth that we serve are often moved around or released back to the streets, we customize our programs so they have the maximum effect in the shortest period of time. This also allows for flexibility in our volunteers’ schedules. Therefore, we can usually organize a project based on your timetable, including opportunities to help out through fun one-time events. One-on-One Mentoring (“Big Brother/Sister” type) generally requires a minimum of a one-year commitment.
How much time do you require to be a mentor for a group?
When teaching a workshop, we ask our mentors to contribute an hour a week. Our programs are usually set for a fixed period of time (generally around 6-12 weeks). That way, you can complete a short project and the youth have a sense of accomplishment. This also allows our mentors flexibility. After the workshop is completed, mentors might decide to work with the same kids, start a new workshop or end it because of personal time constraints, without the children feeling abandoned. Each program is tailored to the mentor’s and children’s needs and some projects go on for longer periods of time, including several years. We also arrange "Mini-Tours" where you can mentor a different group of youth each week at a variety of facilities.
What types of skills are you looking for mentors to have?
Experience in any of the arts are welcome, even as a hobbyist. We can also help you teach simple Arts and Crafts workshops that don’t require any specific talents. Younger children enjoy storytelling, coloring or to just play games. The greatest aptitudes that mentors need are patience and dependability. For those volunteers without an artistic expertise, you can become (1) a Life Skills Mentor, teaching financial literacy, college opportunities and job interview techniques to a group of youth, (2) a “Special Friend” or “Big Brother/Big Sister” type of mentor with One-on-One mentoring, or (3) an academic tutor.
How many children are there per class?
We usually limit the arts workshops to no more than 12, but on average it is 5-10 youth. We also hire professional teaching artists with assistants to lead classes that can include up to 35 students.
Do you need teaching credentials to be a mentor?
No. All volunteers need is a commitment and passion. We will help you to develop a structured curriculum and provide you with sample lesson plans in writing, music, art, etc. if needed. Hired teaching artists must have previous experience working with students in the arts.
Do you train your mentors?
Yes. All mentors receive an orientation and a comprehensive Mentor Training Manual. We also hold seminar training throughout the year for our volunteers, which includes an opportunity to network with other mentors, share ideas and learn about our other programs. Most of the facilities that we serve offer their own orientations and training sessions, as well.
Do mentors get paid?
Since we’re a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, every dollar we spend is crucial. We are hopeful that you will donate your time free of charge. Some of our programs do offer a stipend to volunteers to cover their expenses. Our professional teaching artists are paid.