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Program Assistant - Hilltop Artists

Safe Streets Campaign
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The Program Assistant will support Hilltop Artists’ Instructors by helping with the social and emotional learning of our students. Our Instructors teach technical skill building in glass arts, our Program Assistant will take an active role in building social skills in our students during our programs. The Program Assistant will talk and listen to our students, be a caring adult, and help with managing the tone and culture of the classroom.

Hilltop Artists was co-founded in 1994 by internationally known glass artist Dale Chilhuly and a group of local educators and arts professionals. We are located in two Tacoma public schools (Jason Lee Middle School and Silas (formerly Wilson) High School), at our two, fully operational, glass hot shops.

We serve youth farthest from educational justice: lower-income and BIPOC youth, youth who identify as LGBTQIA+, foster and court-involved youth, students with disabilities, and youth with academic, social, or behavioral challenges. We are dedicated to young people who struggle with traditional classroom environments and students with poor attendance/failing grades. We see youth who confront poverty, abuse, homelessness, food insecurity, drugs, and gang recruitment on a daily basis.

Working with hot glass engages students not reached by other interventions and programs. We support them to increase their social and academic competency, beginning in middle school, with options to continue through high school to age 26. This long-term engagement, along with adult mentors they trust, supports the development of skills such as critical thinking, tenacity, communication, innovation, and teamwork. We use a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) framework whereby young people acquire, and then apply, the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to understand and manage emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and set and achieve positive goals. 100% of Hilltop Artists youth, who are of an age to do so, graduate from high school, with 77% going on to college.

Service Activities

- Engage directly with Middle and High School students under the guidance of Hilltop Artists’ Instructors; engagement can range from assisting students with the completion of glass art projects to conversations about why students are having difficulty engaging with their art project, to any topic that a student may want to discuss

- With support from Hilltop Artists’ Instructors, suggest and implement alternative activities that play to students’ strengths (drawing, glass art activity sheets, glass Jeopardy, looking at art books from our library, watching an instructional video) if they are unable or unwilling to participate in the activity at hand

- Listen to students, support their interests and concerns, refer students to the Outreach Services Manager for additional support if necessary

- Deliver on the principles of Positive Youth Development: focus on positive outcomes, support youth voice in activities, promote youth involvement in positive activities, participate in our community-focused activities with youth, commit to long-term success for young people

- Participate in weekly staff meetings

Participate in special events (i.e. annual sales, artist residencies/workshops, Museum of Glass demonstrations)

- Participate in regular professional development, team-building, and service activities

Community Need Addressed

Young people often come into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of normal adolescent behavior, such as taking risks and pushing boundaries. Due to institutional racism and implicit bias, this happens more often for Black and Brown youth through the over-policing of communities of color, racial profiling, and disproportionate minority sentencing. The isolation and stigma surrounding criminal justice system involvement create additional barriers preventing youth and young adults from achieving their full potential. Protective factors, such as participation in positive youth development programs and connection to caring adults, can create safe and supportive environments for youth that prevent and reduce contact with the criminal justice system.

Position Outcomes

The Imagine Justice Project is a collaborative Pierce County effort to strengthen youth development and advance equitable, community-centered justice systems. One of the primary strategies of the Imagine Justice program is to leverage AmeriCorps volunteers to build the capacity of local organizations to provide culturally responsive, trauma-informed positive youth development programs, and services.


Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training

50% discount in Hilltop Artists’ gallery Free Hilltop Artists T-Shirt Opportunity to make a bead and a paperweight under the guidance of an Alumni Team member or Hilltop Artists Instructor

Education Benefits

Skills and knowledge related to positive youth development

Skills you will gain

Trauma-informed care, adverse childhood experiences, Youth Program Quality (YPQ) methods​, implicit bias​, systemic racism​, social-emotional learning​

Competencies You Will Develop

Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Effectively delegate tasks, Facilitate group planning, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment
  • Activity Types Hands On Activities, Professional Activities
  • Focus Areas Arts & Culture, Community & Nonprofit Development, Education & Youth
  • Length of Service 11 Months
  • Education Requirements High School Graduate
  • Placement Team Placement
  • Service Setting Arts Organization, Community-based Nonprofit, Community Development Organization, National Nonprofit/Affiliate, School-based Nonprofit, Social Enterprise (nonprofit)
  • Weekly Training Hours 2

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