Category Archives: Volunteering and Giving

Beacon Hill Int’l School seeks volunteer tutors

Beacon Hill International School needs volunteers to tutor kids who need additional academic help. Tutors must commit to one hour a week while school is in session. Each tutor is paired with a 3rd-5th grade student, and will work with that student for the entire year. Sessions at BHIS will be on Tuesdays, from 3:15-4:15 p.m.

Orientation sessions start this week, and tutoring will begin in October.

Neighbor Sara told us:

“My husband Dan and I have tutored with Invest in Youth at various elementary schools since 2004, and then joined the program at Beacon Hill International School four years ago when we moved to the Hill. We’ve had a fantastic time, each working with a student for one hour, once per week each school year and have really enjoyed getting to know some of the students and parents in our neighborhood. Over the years, a number of neighbors have volunteered with the program as well and I’d love to get additional community members involved with the program, providing great help and additional great role models for these kids right in their own backyards.”

To find out more and sign up to tutor, visit the Invest in Youth website.

Library needs Homework Helpers

Local kids and the Seattle Public Library need your help with homework. Volunteers are currently being sought for the Library’s Homework Help program at two Beacon Hill branch libraries, the Beacon Hill branch and the NewHolly branch.

Volunteers will help students (mostly ESL) in grades one through 12 with homework assignments in school subjects including English, history, math, science, and more. Volunteers must have completed at least one year of college, and have experience as a tutor, parent, or teacher.

To volunteer as a homework helper, download a volunteer application here. For more information, contact Anne Vedella, volunteer services coordinator, at or 206-386-4664.

Neighbors waiting for the Beacon Hill library to open in the morning. Photo by Jason Simpson.

Food Forest friends to celebrate “Ground Making” 9/29

The Food Forest site was marked during July’s Jefferson Park Jubilee to show where the features of the park will eventually be. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Three years into the Beacon Food Forest planning, the site is still just plain lawn. That will change on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the forest’s first trees are planted at the Beacon Food Forest Ground Making Day celebration. All are invited to this inaugural work party to begin the transformation of the site.

West African drums will be played by Katia Roberts and Friends, and there will be food provided by Tom Douglas, La Panzanella, and more. Volunteers should RSVP to Glenn Herlihy at, and bring their own gloves.

The next day, Sunday, September 30, a tree planting workshop is scheduled for the Food Forest site from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., taught by Jana Dilley, Seattle Public Utilities’ reLeaf Program Manager. There are 20 spaces available in this workshop to learn how to plant and care for fruit trees. RSVP to to reserve a space.

Both events will be held at the Beacon Food Forest site, the southwest corner of Jefferson Park, at South Dakota Street and 15th Avenue South.

The Ground Making work party will begin by planting trees in a small area of the site. The rest of the site preparation and planting will come later, after the site is connected to a water source. The Friends of the Beacon Food Forest sent out an announcement explaining the delay:

“Hard working people at Seattle P-Patch (BFF is a Seattle P-Patch) are negotiating with several government agencies to find our point of connection to city water. Since we are starting with absolutely nothing but grass on our site we need to find where we will be placing our water meter and routing our water to the forest garden. Currently we are exploring two options: 1) Seattle Parks and Recreation allows us to tap into their Jefferson Park system or 2) we create our own point of connection by digging up 15th Ave S and running a new line up into the site. Seattle P-Patch, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle public Utilities who are negotiating these terms are being asked to be as economical and ecological as possible in their final decision. When the point of connection is agreed, final drawings for construction will be delivered to the Conservation Corps who will be doing the construction beginning, we hope, later this month.”

Fire leads to landslide risk at Rizal Park

By Elizabeth Dinh, KOMO Communities
(Beacon Hill Blog news partners)

A fire at Dr. Jose Rizal Park on North Beacon Hill Saturday night did more than ruin a viewpoint—it has put some motorists in danger.

The area at Rizal Park is prone to landslides—and now that the plants have been destroyed in a fireworks-sparked blaze, the risk of a slide has re-emerged.

Volunteers have spent years beautifying this park, and Saturday night’s fire ruined some of their work. And if heavy rains sweep in before this charred land is reinforced, it could pose a threat to the many people who walk and jog there.

Nine years have passed since Craig Thompson first started putting a lot of time and effort into the park that’s a few minutes away from his home.

“And we’ve done quite a bit of good work,” he says.

Volunteers have planted an apple orchard and put in more vegetation—including thousands of trees.

“We’ve managed to put ivy control measures around about 1,000 trees. We’ve planted upward of 7,000 trees,” says Thompson. He has even worked with Seattle police on how to take back the park from drug lords.

Then, at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, fireworks touched off flames that raced across the dry land.

“I live about block and a half away from here, and we heard the bottle rockets go off,” Thompson says.

Below the beautiful Seattle skyline is now a charred patch of land that—with rain—could pose a danger to people who visit the popular park.

“This is a historically landslide-prone area,” says Thompson.

The devastation bothers David Choy, a visitor from Texas who’s been coming here for more than two decades.

“That’s a terrible shame,” he says. “I always come through here because this is such beautiful scenery. I brought my uncle and my aunt over here to look at the scenery.”

But Thompson isn’t mad about having to clean up and bring in more plants. He’s only looking forward.

“I look at it, and rather than becoming depressed or angry, I see what needs to be done,” he says.

He sees yet another opportunity to make this a better place. Volunteers already had plans to come out here on September 21 and 22 to clean up the park. Thompson says that with the added work needed to fix up the area where the fire was, it would be nice to have even more helpers come out.

Friends of Cheasty Greenspace need volunteers to build trail

The Friends of Cheasty Greenspace/Mt. View are having a trail-building work party this Saturday, September 1 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. All interested neighbors are invited to pitch in to help build the new woodland trail.

Volunteers should meet at 2809 S. Alaska Place, one block west of Columbia City Station. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m.

Bring your own water and water bottle, sturdy shoes and layered work clothes. Gloves and tools will be provided for your use. Shared snacks are welcome.

Volunteers wanted Saturday for Ridge Trail work

The Friends of Cheasty Greenspace/Mt. View invite you to a community work party this Saturday, August 4 from 10 a.m. until noon. Volunteers are needed to lay surface gravel on the Ridge Trail. The trail is eventually intended to serve both as a commuter route to Columbia City Station and as access to the recreational Hazelnut Loop.

If you’d like to help, meet at 9:45 a.m. at 2809 S. Alaska Pl., one block west of Columbia City Station. Gloves and tools will be provided but please wear sturdy shoes and work clothes and bring your own water. Shared snacks are welcomed.

Have you seen a whale lately?

Perhaps you were having a coffee at The Station when suddenly a whale appeared:

Or perhaps you were at Victrola when a whale swam by:

This is all part of the Save the Beacon Whale campaign on indiegogo, to raise $500 to restore the whale weathervane from the historic Garden House. The weathervane was damaged last year in a windstorm. For more information on the fundraiser and how you can contribute, see the website.

Volunteers to improve Rizal Park today

King5 reports on a special event today on North Beacon Hill:

Jose Rizal Park is one of a few Seattle parks that will be filled with volunteers Friday as part of Volunteer In Parks Day, a project of the Seattle Parks Foundation. Volunteers will plant trees and flowers, clean up litter, remove weeds and more.

The event is from from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, and more volunteers are welcome. You can register here.

See the video report here:

Volunteers needed for Jefferson Park Jubilee

Volunteers are needed for the Jefferson Park Jubilee, an all-day celebration at the park on July 14 from 11-9 p.m. Help is needed in a variety of roles throughout the event. Volunteer shifts may start as early as 8 a.m. to help set up or run as late as 10 p.m. when cleanup is done.

Interested and willing? Fill out the “Contact Us” form on the Beacon Hill Merchants website. Please include the subject line “Volunteer for Jubilee,” and provide your contact information.

Among the things to celebrate at the Jefferson Park Jubilee will be the completion of the Beacon Mountain playground, shown here as it was a few days ago, approaching completion. Photo by Melissa Jonas in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

Volunteers needed for Beacon Rocks!

Volunteers are needed to help put on the Beacon Rocks! summer music series. Help is needed for these roles (at all three events unless noted):

  • “Set up” shift, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.: unloading tables and chairs, setting up canopies, creating an information booth, helping folks cross at the crosswalk, helping performers get set up, setting out garbage/recycling cans, putting up signage, supporting youth volunteers and vendor set up.
  • Sound system technician, June 24 and July 29, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Poetry facilitator, June 24
  • Event emcee, August 26, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • “Running the show” shift, 12 noon – 3 p.m.: vendor support, information booth, assisting performers’ set up, crosswalk assistance, support of youth volunteers
  • “Break down” shift, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.: rounding up and putting away tables, chairs, canopies, signage, garbage/recycling.

Volunteers will get a free t-shirt. To volunteer or for more info, call or email ROCKiT Community Arts Volunteer Coordinator Liz Walsh-Boyd at or 206-324-6351.

The events’ themes have been decided. They are:

  • Sunday, June 24: “Transportation” theme. Light rail representatives and possibly Metro transit will be there
  • Sunday, July 2 “Save the (Weather-vane) Whale” theme. Water fun and a project to restore the “fallen” whale to the top of the Garden House
  • Sunday, August 26 “Barter Your Way” theme. An assortment of services/products and people who “trade” in these items.

Each event will also have a poetry activity.

These folks volunteered their time and labor to make the first Beacon Rocks! series happen in 2010. Photo by Julia Cheng in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool.