be a volunteer!



About Southside Scribblers


Southside Scribblers has been teaching creative writing in Hyde Park since 1994. We’re a community service organization with the University of Chicago’s University Community Service Center. Our program mission is to get kids excited about being creative, excited about writing, and excited about creative writing! You and a partner will instruct creative writing activities to a group of 3-4 kids ranging from 2nd grade to 6th grade.


Time Commitment

Once you commit to Southside Scribblers, you are committed to teaching for the entire quarter. You will be expected to volunteer once a week for one hour at your school.

Outside of actual teaching times, you must meet with your teaching partner(s) to plan the activities you will do with your students. This usually takes anywhere between 15-20 minutes and can also be done via e-mail.

New volunteers are expected to come to a training session. Coming to this training session indicates that you are committed to volunteering for the quarter.


Example of Creative Writing Activities

Some activities we’ve done with our students last quarter include the following:

• ”Fax Machine”: One kid writes a sentence. The next kid draws a picture of that sentence, then folds it over so you can't see the original words. The next kid writes a sentence about that picture and passes it on to the next kid, who draws a picture of that sentence and so on.

• Write from the perspective of the pencil in your hand. What does it think? How does it feel?
• Bring in photographs/pictures from magazines, postcards, etc. Have the kids write a short story or poem inspired by the picture--what do they smell, taste, and hear in addition to see?

• Bring in the first sentence of a story and have the kids to finish it.

• Have the kids write about their dream house and illustrate it.
• Have the kids in your group write a play together and act it out.
• Have the kids write a short story about another planet or world.

• Teach the kids about a specific literary device and have them write stories and poems that use the device.


Volunteer Qualifications

While no previous course work in creative writing is required, Southside Scribblers volunteers are students who enjoy creative writing as well as working with kids.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us here.


Program Times:


St. Thomas the Apostle School
5467 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago
Mondays 3:45-4:45 PM

Phillip Murray Elementary Language Academy
5335 S Kenwood Ave., Chicago
Tuesdays 3:15-4:30 PM

Bret Harte Elementary School
1556 E. 56th St., Chicago
Thursdays 3:30-4:30pm