Volunteering at Story Factory
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Story Factory, that’s great! We are always on the lookout for dedicated volunteers who believe in the power of creativity.
Explore the links below to find out more about volunteering at Story Factory.
*Read about our Term One program adjustments due to COVID-19 here
Simply put, volunteering with Story Factory is life-changing for everyone involved.
We work with young people who are experiencing adversity and disadvantage in their lives, whose voices are often not heard due to external influences. We work with Indigenous students, students from language backgrounds other than English, students with mental or physical health challenges, and unstable home lives.
Our programs aim to help develop their confidence, creative and critical thinking skills, writing and storytelling skills, a positive engagement with learning and a sense of belonging to a greater community.
We can happily say there’s never a dull day volunteering with Story Factory. There’s laughter, mischief, a bottomless well of knowledge and creativity and, well, we really ought to say this up front… the occasional killer unicorn. After all - the imagination knows no bounds!
If you believe in amplifying the voices of young people and want to contribute to a vibrant community that puts our students at the heart of everything we do, then join us!
Am I suitable? What makes a good volunteer?
The only skills you need to volunteer with Story Factory are:
A sense of humour and imagination
Proficiency with the English language
You don’t need to be a teacher, writer, or a wordsmith to volunteer with Story Factory. Our workshops are led by our expert and formally-trained Storytellers, so all you need is your amazing personality and a commitment to young people.
What is volunteering at Story Factory like?
Volunteering as a tutor usually takes place in a school or community organisation in Sydney or Western Sydney. Our workshops are led by Story Factory Storytellers who guide and support the session.
When tutoring as a part of a workshop, you will be working with two to five students on a creative writing project that runs over 6-9 weeks, for an hour or two each time. The only minimum time frame we ask for is that you commit to a full term – consistency is of paramount importance for most of our students.
I Have More Questions!
Great! Curiosity is always encouraged at Story Factory.
Below are some of the most frequently questions asked by prospective Story Factory volunteers.
+ What do volunteers do?
Most of our volunteers enjoy tutoring in our creative writing workshops, but there are other opportunities as well! These include illustrating or providing other artwork for student stories, staffing our retail space and community stalls, assisting with technical projects like audio recording and film editing, typing student work and more!
+ What’s the minimum commitment?
All we ask is that you commit to a term series. Consistency is of paramount importance for most of our students, so it’s important that you come each week of a 6-9 week series. Other than that, you can commit to just one term, or as many terms as you like!
+ I can only help on weekends or evenings, is this okay?
As of March 2019, we are not currently accepting any more volunteers who are unable to help during the week. This is simply because we are usually unable to see our students in weekend or evening workshops, and so most of our programs - and therefore all our volunteer needs - are during weekdays, generally between 8:30am-5pm.
+ When and where do the workshops happen?
While some workshops are run in our Redfern and Parramatta centres, most workshops run in schools and community organisations right across Sydney and Western Sydney. Most workshops run on weekdays between 8:30am-5pm. There are currently almost no opportunities to volunteer on weekends or evenings.
+ Are there any formal qualifications I need?
The only formalities we need are:
- a Working with Children check – this is free for volunteers and shows that you are safe to work with young people (this is a legal requirement in New South Wales); and
- a little bit of paperwork – this is to indicate that you understand our child safety policies. There is also a form that NSW schools require if you are helping with any school workshops.
That’s it – we do not require university degrees or any other formal training qualifications.
+ Do you run reading programs?
No. All our programs focus on creative writing across a wide range of workshops. Tutors are helping students to write creative texts, not reading to them.
+ Do you provide any training?
Yes! We run a comprehensive orientation for all new volunteers that will offer lots of strategies for working with young people, especially for those who have never done so. We also offer free training sessions each month on a wide range of topics, and offer free tutor evaluations throughout your time with us, to support you in your tutoring and provide you with whatever resources you need.
+ I’m a uni student, can I do my placement hours with you?
It depends on your university course requirements but yes, many students complete their placement hours with us when our workshops align with their timetable. Please be aware that our workshops are not often run like a traditional classroom lesson, so you will have a different experience with us than if you were teaching lessons in a regular school environment.
+ I’m currently looking for work, will you provide references?
Yes! We are very happy to provide references for volunteers who have been doing a terrific job. We can also provide you records of your hours whenever you need them.
+ Are you a Centrelink-approved volunteer organisation?
Yes! We are now registered with Centrelink as an approved volunteer organisation. If you need to complete volunteer hours as part of your obligations, you are able to do so with us.
+ I'm in high school, can I volunteer?
Yes! We have a great team of Young Volunteers, many of whom are volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh or other volunteering award program. We prefer our Young Volunteers to be at least 15 years of age, and we’ll always make sure that you’re working with students younger than you. Please keep in mind that most of our programs are run during school hours, and there are only a small number of after-school programs that you may be able to fit into your schedule around your own school commitments.
+ English is an additional language for me, am I welcome to volunteer?
Yes! We have many volunteers with many different languages, and many students too. Most of your tutoring role is being supportive and encouraging, and asking questions. So long as you have enough English to hold a conversation with a young person, and read their work, you will have no problems at all in our workshops and we’d love to have you there.
+ I’m interested but a little nervous – what do you suggest?
One thing you can rely on is that you will be well supported. You are never left alone in a workshop – one of our trained staff is always in the room, working alongside you, and is there to help whenever you need it.
Our volunteer managers Craig and Sanki are always on hand for questions and support, and you can book in for any number of trainings and evaluations to improve your volunteering skills. You are also welcome to arrange to come in to observe a workshop before starting, or we can team you up with an experienced tutor for your first few sessions so you have more immediate support at the table.
In short, there are many things we can do to help you feel more comfortable!
I'm ready - sign me up to volunteer!