Friday, August 19, 2011

How To: Get Involved With The HALO Learning Center

Hello, my name is Natalie and I am the Workshop & Volunteer Coordinator for the HALO Learning Center. This week I am going to give you an idea of what it looks like to be a volunteer in the Learning Center. There are several ways to get involved, regardless of your experience, talents, and time constraints.

The HALO Learning Center relies completely on volunteers to run our weekly workshops. Chelsea mentioned in our first post that we partner with several local homeless shelters and residential homes to provide art therapy and life skills workshops to the youth that are being served by those agencies. Each agency has a specific day that they come to the Center (or the Center goes to them- more on that in a moment).

We have workshops with reStart Youth Emergency on Tuesday, Niles Home for Children on Wednesday, and an Open Dream Night in the Center on Thursday that is open to all agencies that wish to attend. On Monday nights we have a pair of volunteers that travel to the reStart Family Shelter to conduct a weekly Art Night.

Each night that there is a workshop in the Learning Center we usually have 2-3 volunteers present. One of these volunteers is a workshop host and the other is the workshop facilitator.

Workshop Host

A workshop host is essentially in charge of the night. It is the workshop host’s responsibility to come up with a lesson plan. We have had some amazing workshops recently, and the youth have really enjoyed making Story Quilts, totem poles, and filming video poetry.

As a workshop host you are able to be an influence in these youths’ lives. We strive to create workshops that will positively affect the youth and hopefully instill life skills that will help them to go on and be successful adults.


Workshop Facilitator

Just as workshop hosts are essential to the creative side of workshops in the HALO Learning Center, workshop facilitators are an integral part of what makes each night run smoothly. Before a host even steps foot in the Learning Center, a facilitator is preparing for them. It is the facilitator’s responsibility to read through the plan for that evening and pull out any supplies that will be needed.

The workshop facilitator also begins the workshop with a brief introduction, usually some background information on that night’s host and any announcements that need to be made. After the workshop host takes over, the facilitator steps in and acts as an extra pair of hands as necessary.

One of my favorite things about facilitating workshops is being able to take the time to have conversations with the HALO Center members. It really is an amazing opportunity to simply be able to be present to the youth and learn about them as people.


General HALO Learning Center Volunteer

Have you read through the first two volunteer options but are still not sure that either of those could be a good fit for you? Not a problem! We have an infinite number of ways that you can help. We are always accepting donations consisting of art supplies, school supplies, and other materials. Or if you prefer to donate your time, we always welcome a helping hand in the Learning Center.

For example last weekend two of our volunteers, John and Michelle Cordone, came in and cleaned and organized the Center. John was also able to use his technological background to take a look at some of our donated computer parts and tell us what would work for our program and what parts needed to be replaced.

If you have any questions about volunteering in the HALO Learning Center, please email me at or Michelle Cordone at . We would love to help brainstorm ways in which you can contribute to the HALO Learning Center. Thank you!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out to John and me. We love being part of the HALO team!