Opportunities with the Austin Bat Cave

Dave Eggers’ recent visit to Southwestern for the annual Writer’s Voice provided a night of storytelling and inspiration to the importance of how we communicate with one another. Eggers’ presentation addressed an interest that many in the Southwestern community hold in writing and education. Throughout the night he discussed how to deal with adversity in the face of strange and surprising obstacles, such as the governing city ordinance that accompanied the founding of Dave Eggers’ entrepreneurial effort, 826 Valencia.

Innovative and humorous solutions provided the solution for 826 Valencia, a tutoring center with a pirate supply storefront located in the Mission District in San Francisco. Eggers focused on the amazing feats that can be accomplished with hard work and a little creativity. His visit has inspired interest in projects similar to his tutoring center.

As a local project of a similar nature, Austin Bat Cave offers several programs and projects, such as tutoring and workshops, for the local Austin community. ABC will be launching their official storefront starting next year.

ABC hopes to provide opportunities for youth between the ages of six and eighteen to develop their skills in creative and expository writing. They have also been named in the Best of Austin 2010 as the “Best Place to Develop Creativity”. Southwestern students may have interest in volunteering with Austin Bat Cave, which currently provides three main types of opportunities: creative writing workshops, online opportunities and local events.

Every other month, ABC offers creative writing workshops at three Austin schools: Anderson High School, Kealing Middle School and UT Elementary School. Workshops range from more serious topics like SAT prep, to more creative and exploratory topics like playwriting and hip hop poetry. These workshops last from 45 to 90 minutes depending on the age group, and the volunteer day is no more than 90 minutes at Kealing and UT, and four hours at Anderson. Volunteers are needed to help with the workshops and to help the instructors. These workshops build around a theme (i.e. description, point of view) and stand alone in a creative framework.

If volunteers aren’t able to make it to the on-site volunteering opportunities, online opportunities will begin in January through both Austin and Anderson High School. This one-on-one mentorship opportunity is flexible for the volunteer, and volunteers are matched with AVID students who are working on college application essays.

In addition, ABC also offers monthly or seasonal event opportunities. One example is the monthly fundraiser called “The Story Department” where artsy adult (21 and up) Austinites come together to tell stories based on a given theme for the month. Volunteers are needed to set up the event, manage money, and break down the event.

Austin Bat Cave works to support public school teachers in their drive to accomplish tasks that would be impossible alone. For more information about volunteering, ABC can be reached at volunteer@austinbatcave.org.