City of Mercer Island, Washington - Home City of Mercer Island, Washington - Home Facebook Twitter YouTube
advanced search | site map
HOME City Council DEPARTMENTS BOARDS & COMMISSIONS CONTACT US
Back to Youth & Family Services
LINE

Thrift Shop
LINE
Individual & Family Counseling
LINE
School-Based Services
LINE
Court Diversion
LINE
Senior Services
LINE
Family Assistance
LINE
JobLink
LINE
Giving Back Today
LINE
VOICE/SVP
LINE
Communities That Care Project
LINE
Meet the MIYFS Director
LINE

Calendar Events
LINE
FAQs
LINE
News
LINE
Staff Directory
LINE

2040 - 84th Ave SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Phone: 206.275.7611
Fax: 206.275.7890
Email: miyfs@mercergov.or. . .
Hours:
M & F 8:30AM - 5:00PM; Tues, Wed, Thurs 8:30AM - 7PM
*
Notify me by Email
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between VOICE and SVP? Who can participate in these programs?
What is the time commitment? Do I need to be available all eight weeks?
What is the cost? Why pay to volunteer?
How do I register for VOICE/SVP?
What’s this I hear about a ‘lottery’? Is there a chance my child will not have a spot in the program?
I’ve registered and paid online – what are the next steps?
How do I sign up for projects?
What if I don't know my Shiftboard password?
What do I do if my Shiftboard calendar is blank after the calendar opens May 22?
Can I see the calendar before May 22?
Which nonprofits does VOICE/SVP partner with?
Where do projects meet?
Can volunteers drive themselves, or be dropped of at, projects that take place off-Island?
My child wants to volunteer with their friends – how do I find out who is on the projects?
What is the Social Justice Film Festival? Is it required?
What is an 'All Star'?
Do you have any job openings?
We signed up, but can no longer participate. What is the refund process and policy?
Is there a way to document my hours volunteered with VOICE/SVP?
What is a P-Lit? How are they chosen, and how competitive is the application?
What is the Youth Development Internship and how do I apply?

 
What is the difference between VOICE and SVP? Who can participate in these programs?

The SVP Program is for current 6th and 7th grade students, and the VOICE Program is for current 8th – 11th grade students. Students must be a resident of Mercer Island, or go to school on Mercer Island, to participate in this program.

What is the time commitment? Do I need to be available all eight weeks?

Volunteers do not need to be available for the entire eight weeks – they only need to be available for their project commitment (four projects for SVP and eight projects for VOICE). Group volunteer projects are intensely scheduled throughout an 8-week period and offer the choice and scheduling flexibility not available in other programs.  We offer projects seven days a week, and while most projects take place in the morning and early afternoon, there are some evening options as well. Click on this link - ‘A Typical Summer in the VOICE/SVP Program’ - to see what our project offerings looked like in 2014. We anticipate that 2018 will be very similar. Note that we do not offer projects on the 4th of July, and offer a very limited number of projects during SeaFair Blue Angels practice and events (August 2-5, 2018) due to road closures.

What is the cost? Why pay to volunteer?

The City of Mercer Island Youth and Family Services is committed to providing quality programs while also maintaining a balanced budget. It is important to us that this program remains affordable to all Island residents, and thus we continue subsidizing the program fee to a cost of $225 per participant. The actual cost of the VOICE/SVP program is $500 per volunteer. We ask that those able to do so consider donating the full cost of the participation fee to help sustain the program. Families that pay over $225 will be sent documentation for their tax exempt donation. 

It is also important to us that cost not limit a student from participating in our program. During registration, there is an option to request a partial or full fee waiver. Contact Tambi Cork at tambi.cork@mercergov.org or 206.275.7755 with any questions.

This fee pays for logistical coordination, staffing and transportation. Similar to summer programs in music or athletics, we hire a team of nine adults that are responsible for the daily coordination and management of our youth participants. For off-Island projects, all volunteers meet at our office in Luther Burbank Park, and we transport them to and from the nonprofit in City vehicles. With over three hundred students and fifty nonprofits, the program is quiet large, so there is also a great deal of coordination done prior to the summer, and an online scheduling system (Shiftboard), which is also covered by this fee. In effect, the youth are not paying to volunteer, but rather the structure that allows them to volunteer in a group setting with their peers and adult supervision.

How do I register for VOICE/SVP?

Registration takes place online at www.mercergov.org/voice. Even if you have participated before and already have a Shiftboard account, you still must register for the program again each year. 

In 2018, registration will be open at 10am March 21 and close at 5pm April 20. Registration and payment occur online concurrently. If you would prefer to not pay online, or would like to request a fee waiver, a form will be available for download from the registration page. Printed forms are also available beginning March 21 at Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, 2040 84th Avenue SE. Paper registration and fee waivers are also due by 5pm on April 20.

What’s this I hear about a ‘lottery’? Is there a chance my child will not have a spot in the program?

VOICE/SVP has been able to increase capacity, and no longer operates on a lottery system. As long as you have registered and paid (or requested a fee waiver) prior to 5pm April 20, your child has a spot in the program.

I’ve registered and paid online – what are the next steps?

Step 1 - Paperwork! If you are a returning volunteer, this paperwork will be mailed to your home address after registration closes on April 20. For new volunteers, there is a mandatory New Volunteer Meeting. In 2018, this meeting will take place on April 30, from 7pm – 8pm at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. New volunteers will receive their paperwork packet at this meeting. We will be sending out an email after registration closes on April 20 with instructions for new participants that are not able to attend this meeting. 

*All paperwork will be due May 18th. Participants will not be granted access to our online calendaring system, Shiftboard, until we have their completed paperwork.*

Step 2 – Sign up for Shiftboard (or make sure you have access to your account). Shiftboard is our online calendaring system. Instructions for sign up will be included in your paperwork packet, and added online after registration closes on April 20. Shiftboard is only available to registered participants. If you are not a registered participant, and would like to volunteer with the VOICE/SVP programs, please either register online or contact Tambi Cork, Youth Development Coordinatortambi.cork@mercergov.org or 206.275.7755.

Step 3 – Sign up for projects! The calendar opens May 22. See “How do I sign up for projects” below.

How do I sign up for projects?

All of our projects are scheduled through our online calendar, Shiftboard. Once registration closes, we will send information out to all participants about how they can sign up for this site, and confirm their registration. For participants that have registered, paid, and completed all paperwork, the calendar will open on May 22. If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent your family from turning in your paperwork prior to that date, please contact the VOICE/SVP office – we want to ensure that every youth has a positive experience, and are happy to work with individual circumstances

What if I don't know my Shiftboard password?

Go to www.shiftboard.com/voice. Click “Forgot Password” above the login, and an email will be automatically sent to the address on the account. If you have recently submitted a new account, and have not received a password yet, follow the same process – click “Forgot Password” and a new password will be sent to you. We do not have access to passwords at the VOICE office, so we will not be able to give it to you over the phone or via email. 

What do I do if my Shiftboard calendar is blank after the calendar opens May 22?

All Shiftboard registrations will be accepted and added to the calendars prior to May 22, so your ‘filters’ probably need to be reset. On Shiftboard, directly above the calendar on the right side, there is a small people icon and “People/Filter”. Click that. A box will pop up, and on the right it will say “Programs” with a white box. Under the white box is a broom icon and “Clear”. Click “Clear”, then click “Set Filter” on the bottom left. If you still cannot see anything on your calendar, check to make sure you are on June, July or August of 2018. If you still have nothing on your calendar, contact Tambi Cork at 206.275.7755 or tambi.cork@mercergov.org.

Can I see the calendar before May 22?

*NEW* Yes! The calendar will be available for preview on Shiftboard at 5pm on May 21 (the day prior to the calendar opening for sign ups). Our hope is that this preview period will allow participants some time to look through the projects without the rush to sign up. Due to the logistical demands of coordinating 50+ nonprofits, we are not able to release earlier than that - we are often making adjustments up to the last minute. Prior to May 21, check out this Typical Summer in the VOICE/SVP Program document to see if VOICE/SVP is a good fit for your schedule. This is a standard set of projects from summer 2014, and 2018 will look very similar.

You may notice that the SVP and VOICE calendars are very different. The SVP calendar is much smaller and limited to fewer nonprofits due to size and age – we have nearly four times as many VOICE participants each summer, and many nonprofits are not able to schedule projects for younger volunteers. SVP volunteers also have a smaller project commitment.

Which nonprofits does VOICE/SVP partner with?

Volunteers work on projects with over 50 community organizations.  The program provides the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as children, immigrants and refugees, people living with terminal illnesses and disabilities, and the homeless. Volunteers also participate in environmental projects and community events. Click here for a list of probable 2018 nonprofit partners. 

Where do projects meet?

All projects meet at Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS – 2040 84th Avenue SE Mercer Island) except the list that follows. From MIYFS, our staff transport volunteers to the nonprofits and return them to the Mercer Island Community and Event Center (8236 SE 24th Street Mercer Island) at the end of the projects. For projects that we provide transportation to, volunteers must ride in the van and cannot meet us at the nonprofit. There are three volunteer organizations that hold their events on Mercer Island, and for those projects volunteers will meet at the project site. The nonprofits are: EarthCorps, Mercer Island Farmers Market, and Mercer Island Summer Celebration. 

The locations of the only projects that do not meet at MIYFS are:

EarthCorps: Clarke Beach: 7700 East Mercer Way; meet in the parking lot
Mercer Island Farmers Market: SE 32nd Street between 77th Avenue SE and 78th Avenue SE between Mercerdale Park and the Rite Aid Shopping Center
Mercer Island Summer Celebration: North End Fire Station - 3030 78th Avenue SE, Mercer Island


Can volunteers drive themselves
, or be dropped off at, projects that take place off-Island?


No. All volunteers must ride in the provided transportation to off-Island projects. This is a liability issue, and we will not be able to supervise or give credit to any volunteer that ‘shows up’.

My child wants to volunteer with their friends – how do I find out who is on the projects?

Unfortunately, we are not able to release the names of who is on VOICE/SVP projects. As a program within Youth and Family Services, confidentiality of all of our clients is extremely important to our organization. We recommend that youth get together, or communicate over the phone, if they would like to be on projects together

What is the Social Justice Film Festival? Is it required?

In addition to the volunteer projects, VOICE offers a few opportunities each summer to have discussions around the many issues we see while volunteering – homelessness, poverty, environmental issues, the US educational system, etc. The purpose of these events is not “to educate”, but to begin a dialogue that we hope continues on our volunteer projects and at home. These are not required events, but can count as a project. 

The films will take place in the evening at the MI Community and Events Center at 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island.  Dates and film titles will be emailed out to all participants once finalized.  

What is an 'All Star'?​
'
All Star' is a recognition we give to program participants that go above and beyond the program requirements. For the VOICE program, participants must complete 15 projects to become an All Star, and for SVP, they must complete 10 projects. All Stars are recognized with an additional certificate, and a special event at the end of the program each summer. 

Do you have any job openings?

There are two types of positions available during our VOICE/SVP program. 

Each summer we hire 8-10 ‘Project Leaders’, also known as Youth Volunteer Program Assistants. The application period is generally early March to early June. For the 2018 program, the application period is March 14 to April 11. 

The  V.O.I.C.E. Youth Development Internship for graduating seniors was created in 2016 in response to the need for a more formal internship program that will better prepare youth leaders for future employment in Youth Development and/or Human Services. The Youth Development Internship replaces our previous P-Lit (project leader in training) program.  It will include increased responsibilities, training and integration with the regular Project Leaders team. This is a paid internship. For the 2018 program, the application period is March 14 to April 11. ​

We signed up, but can no longer participate. What is the refund process and policy?

Receipt of payment ensures your child’s spot in the VOICE/SVP Program. If your summer plans change, you must submit a refund request in writing to tambi.cork@mercergov.org prior to May 18th. This mid-May date allows for the program to hire the correct number of staff and release the correct number of volunteer positions. No refunds will be issued after the May 18th refund deadline.  Should a family’s plans change, a youth become injured or other unforeseen circumstance that limits his/her expected availability, VOICE staff will work with that youth to accommodate this reduced availability.  Thank you for understanding.​

Is there a way to document my hours volunteered with VOICE/SVP?

Each volunteer will receive a certificate at the end of the summer with their total hours. If this is misplaced, or a more thorough account of the volunteer hours is needed, a total hours calculation is available through Shiftboard, our online calendar.

After logging into your account at www.shiftboard.com/voice, click “My Account” in the Dashboard at the top of the page. From “My Account”, there is an “Account Toolbox” on the right side of the screen. The “My Hours” link will allow you to calculate the total hours volunteered. To create a list of volunteer projects, tab through the “Calendar” tab located on the Dashboard at the top of the page. Tip: Putting the calendar into “List” form (located directly above the calendar) is often a preferred format for easily documenting projects.

What is a P-Lit? How are they chosen, and how competitive is the application?

The P-Lit Program was a component of the VOICE/SVP program for many years, and has now been replaced by the Youth Development Internship. This change is in response to changing needs within our youth community, including the need ​​for a more formal internship program that will better prepare youth leaders for future employment in Youth Development and/or Human Services. It will include increased responsibilities, training and integration with the regular Project Leader team. This is a paid internship. See below for more details, including application instructions. 

What is the Youth Development Internship and how do I apply?

See "Do you have any job openings", above. 


 

 

City of Mercer Island Washington | All Rights Reserved © 2017| Privacy Policy | printer friendly version Printer friendly version | Site by ProjectA.com