Current Volunteer Opportunities

February – March 2017 Volunteer Opportunities

No experience or training is necessary to volunteer with students as a writing, research or art coach, or field trip supervisor.

To sign up for one or more of the opportunities below, contact volunteer@behindthebook.org with the program code(s) and date/time(s) you’d like to join. Once you receive confirmation, you’re all set. The program coordinator will follow up a few days before each workshop date with details about the curriculum, your role in the classroom, and any other information you’ll need. If you have to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible so we can find a replacement.

Volunteer spots can fill quickly, so please check this page regularly for updates. We also announce new programs by email, and on Twitter and Facebook.

If you haven’t volunteered before, please join our team by completing a brief questionnaire.


Program 42VSK-S (Washington Heights) 

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 28th • 9:00 – 10:15 AM FILLED
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach (Spanish speakers appreciated)

Overview:  Second graders read A Surprise for Teresita, a bilingual story of a New York City girl who discovers her Puerto Rican community while awaiting a special surprise from her uncle. Author Dr. Virginia Sanchez-Korrol will lead workshops that engage students in an exploration of the book’s main ideas, and their experiences and thoughts about their own communities. Guided by Teresita’s story, students will take a neighborhood walk, and with help from coaches, write letters depicting their discoveries. Program Coordinator: Bureen Ruffin

Program 46SA0130 (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 28th • 12:30 – 2:00 PM FILLED
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Fifth-graders read The Case for Loving by Selina Alko, the story of a historic civil rights case that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Students will research and report on another important Supreme Court case. Writing coaches will guide them in editing their drafts to reach the final version. Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program 241KCL-C (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) NEW!

Date & Time 1: Wednesday, March 1st • 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Date & Time 2: Wednesday, March 8th • 9:00 – 10:00 AM FILLED
Volunteer Role: Art Coach

Overview: A kindergarten class read Stuck with the Blooz by Caron Levis, a picture book that helps children talk about emotions by depicting them as friendly monsters. Students will meet with the author to explore ways to handle their feelings, then choose an emotion to write about and illustrate with the assistance of coaches. Program Coordinator: Jo Umans

Program 1542TH-PB (Harlem) 

Date & Time 1: Wednesday, March 1st • 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Volunteer Role: Research Coach

Date & Time 2: Wednesday, March 8th • 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM FILLED
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Second graders read The Bear Report by Thyra Heder, the story of Sophie, a young girl who befriends a polar bear named Olafur who teaches her about his home and life in the Arctic. Assisted by research coaches, students will gather facts about an animal of their choice from provided resources. Writing coaches will help them edit and polish the final drafts of their reports. Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program CIMA0215 (Allerton, Bronx) NEW DATE!

Date & Time: Tuesday, March 7th •  8:24 – 9:10 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: This 10th-grade class read Marc Aronson’s Sugar Changed the World to learn the interesting cultural history of sugar. The author will lead two classroom workshops tracing the history of the product, from its use in religious ceremonies to its role in the slave trade. With the support of writing coaches, students will edit their own research reports on a product. Program Coordinator: Chris Fleming

Program IC12MB-C (Mott Haven, Bronx) NEW!

Date & Times: Tuesday, March 14th • 3 consecutive classes: 9:00 – 10:00 AM, 10:00 – 11:00 AM and/or 1:50 – 2:50 PM (Please choose one or more time slots)
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Three classes of 12th graders read Watched by Marina Budhos, a novel that examines what it means to grow up in the age of surveillance. The author will discuss the book’s themes and ideas, as well as her writing and revision process. Using the story as inspiration, and with volunteer coaches’ support, students will write a relevant essay. Program Coordinator: Chris Fleming