It is summer and fall volunteer recruitment time at Deep, a local nonprofit organization that offers free writing workshops to Savannah youth. Deep’s goals are to help students ages 8-18 develop their writing skills; to encourage their voices as students, citizens and artists; and to help teachers get their students excited about writing.
“The first thing people usually want to know is what Deep stands for,” said Catherine Killingsworth, founder and executive director of Deep. “Deep isn’t an acronym; it stands for depth. Deep stands for students thinking deeply, getting deeply involved in reading and writing, and feeling excited about it.”
Sarah Bates, Deep’s volunteer coordinator, joined Deep in 2009 and spends much of her time enthusiastically reaching out to get diverse volunteers for the program.
“Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds,” she said. “From army captains and local business owners to retired writers and current university students majoring in English or education. Deep looks for passionate, dedicated and responsible volunteers and interns.”
While Bates loves her job, she admits it’s challenging. “The hardest part is getting the word out to potential Deep teachers. Deep is a life changing program, and if you ask any of our teachers, they’ll agree that it is worth every hour put into the program.”
Volunteers benefit from Deep as much as the students. They can gain teaching experience and build networks, but they can also earn college credit as interns. Many SCAD students know firsthand the benefits of volunteering for Deep.
First-year graduate writing major Allison Ramirez from Miami, Fla., volunteered with Deep at Southwest Middle School in the fall of 2010.
“I loved working with the kids at Deep,” said Ramirez about her experience. “They were always so excited to see us—and to eat the snacks we brought for them—and to write and then share their work.”
Second-year graduate writing student Cameron Belk of Savannah, Ga., learned about Deep while searching online for writing jobs. As a volunteer, she promoted Deep by working on advertisements and press releases for upcoming events.
“My experience was very satisfying,” said Belk. “I was very impressed with the dedication of the volunteers. I would definitely recommend Deep to other students. It feels good to be around people who are passionate about what they’re doing.”
For information, visit Deep’s website or email Sarah Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org.Contact Ida Ronaszegi.