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Boiler Room

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Job Training, Music, Youth Development - Business

Mission: The Boiler Room buildings community by providing a safe space for the growth and improvement of individuals through a volunteer-operated coffeehouse and social services hub.

Results: Today, Boiler Room Kids are students seeking high school diplomas, Associates, Bachelors, Masters Degrees and PhDs; as well as city council members, doctors, lawyers, Grammy-winning musicians, authors, parents, design professionals, contractors, social workers, therapists, dancers, independent business owners, tech company executives, artists, professional athletes, service workers, tattoo artists, theatre directors, executive directors and more! Last year, The Boiler Room:  had 82 individual Volunteers, putting in 3,986 volunteer hours behind the counter  provided free access to birth control (distributing over 6,000 free condoms)  held workshops addressing non-violent communication, mental health, and first aid training  distributed 19,432 meals through our free food program  shared volunteers with other agencies in town  ran a hygiene supply bank and distributed over 4,500 hygiene products to the community

Target demographics: All ages

Geographic areas served: Port Townsend, Washington

Programs: The Boiler Room offers free food, job training, workshops and classes, and a venue for expression. The Boiler Room is unique. There are no other youth organizations or businesses in Jefferson County that follow this model. Patrons are not required to make a purchase, a requirement at many other businesses prevents disadvantaged individuals from being on the premises. The patrons, volunteers and staff have become fiercely loyal to and protective of this aspect of The Boiler Room, as it allows them to do homework, meet and befriend others, wait for a ride home, play the guitar, make art, play board games, attend free music shows, listen to poetry readings and just be themselves in a safe, non-judgmental and healthy environment.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Korlyn M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks for giving us a great Thanksgiving Experience!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is a remarkable nonprofit that benefits not only the local community - it changes lives!
Youth are the best investment we can support for the future of humanity!

Sara Ybarra L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at the Boiler Room and continue to make weekend soup because the Boiler Room helped my son when he needed a welcoming, safe, and drug-free place to be himself. I'm not a "youth" anymore, but when I walk into the Boiler Room I'm greeted warmly by new friends and friends of my son who remember me. Some say, "Hi Adin's mom." I'm smiling just thinking of it. And I'm grateful for that inclusive spirit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is a warm, welcoming place that is a perfect example of community.

Andrea D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room was a home away from home when I needed it most, a community, a safe place in which to practice music and meet friends. I learned how to make coffee, which led me to one of my all time favorite jobs. It's so rare to find a place where you don't have to pay to spend time, a place where socialization doesn't revolve around drinking. I don't know if I would have survived my teenage yeas without this place.

Lela H.

Donor

Rating: 5

From the day the kids opened the doors of a real boiler room in one of Port Townsend's old historic buildings, it has been a cornerstone of our community. We owe the Boiler Room staff, volunteers and patrons our deepest gratitude for teaching us about compassion, creativity and inclusion. These kids have taught us more about being human than any other organization I know. When Dr. King taught us about the "beloved community" the Boiler Room I think this was what he had in mind.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room has saved so many of my friends over the years. It's a much needed community space for local youth (and anyone else who needs it). The BR provides numerous services: food, job training, an event space, etc.

Always warm and welcoming, the BR also has great coffee.

Rose S.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I recently attended a free watercolor class at the Boiler Room taught by a local artist. The gallery next door is teaming up with them to offer these classes. How cool is that! The class was really fun and even though I just graduated from art school I learned some new things. The Boiler Room is an important part of the PT community.

Thank you Boiler Room!

Carrie E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of my very favorite people in the whole world was saved by the Boiler Room. She absolutely would not be on this earth if BR wasn't there to break her fall.

Helping kids with nowhere else to go is a high calling, and they do it with such love and care that it makes this scary world seem a bit softer.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was touring the Boiler Room today in downtown Port Townsend. I stood there amazed by all the wonderful things this place does for our community. No questions asked, you can go in there and pick up free food and hygiene supplies any time! They are open til 10 pm if you need a warm, dry place to sit and you never have to buy a thing to hang out. They offer monthly art classes and all ages open mic nights. Just since January, they have handed out over 20,000 meals! I was astounded.

As the director and I stood talking she was lamenting to me that donations are way down and yet they have managed to feed more people than ever before. She had just mentioned that their work training program trains people for jobs in food service, but it is volunteer. The tips are all they bring home at the end of a shift. Moments later one of the volunteers excused us and brought the tip jar over and asked Amy to look inside.

Anami J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an accomplished artist today, i owe a lot of that to finding the boiler room 23 years ago. Today it thrives even more offering much needed services to the community. Theres no where else in the world like it, but there should be one like it every place.

Eden V.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was an awkward teenager with no social skills when I first joined the Boiler Room way back when. After I started volunteering I quickly gained long-time friends, social and customer service skills, connections and great people to network with, and job skills.
Even now I still consider the place a second home and family, and know there will always be someone there I know every time I visit.
The BR has given me so much and I hope someday when I'm rolling in the monies I can give back in a big way.
But for now I'll continue to give back in whatever little ways I can.
Good coffee, unique atmosphere, soup kitchen, community living room, a safe place for everyone. That's the Boiler Room~

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These guys are the best! Always helping and bettering our community!!
Thank you, Boiler Room!!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room has been a place of welcome for young community members for years. I know so many people who have benefited from volunteering at the BR, playing shows there, or just being a part of its culture. This is one of the best resources for young people in Port Townsend.

1 Andy51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I got to Port Townsend, I was homeless, broke, and a bit bitter. The Boiler Room gave me a useful place to volunteer and build my esteem back, a place with people who had my back, and, ultimately, my foothold into community in this town.

1 Luvy M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started voile tweeting at the boiler room the day after I turned 13. They taught me how to make coffee but also much more than that. The boiler room community as a whole has taught me how to be loving, compassionate, empathetic, open and understanding. If It weren't for them I wouldn't be half the person I was today. Thank you boiler room.

1 Shameara D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room has a second name to most people who frequent there often; Home. It's a place where you can be yourself, be respected, accepted, and feel comfortable asking for help when you need it most. Not only do they provide free food and soup throughout the week, they also provide a relaxed environment in which to hang out. For many, the Boiler Room has been a place to lean on when you are at your weakest, and I hope it stays that way for many years to come. I love the Boiler Room!

1 Catska E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is a place that was there for me in the mid-nineties when I needed a safe corner to tuck myself into so I can draw or play chess or strum my guitar, it was a place to find friends, to be in an environment free from drugs or alcohol, to listen to music, to grow and connect. Twenty years later it is still there. It has changed locations several times, but it is still authentic, welcoming, timeless and true to its original purpose. The Boiler Room is a gem in both local and global community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

Despite the great coffee and cookies, the Boiler Room is much more than just a coffee shop. I spent so much time at the Boiler Room when I had no place safe to go. It was my haven and it still is for many people. They provide food for the hungry and support for anyone.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Such nice folk! The coffee is great, the cookies are awesome, and the staff is super-friendly. The Boiler Room is is an asset to our community, young and old.

1 Michael402

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great place ,fabulous people, and you can't beat the coffee.

1 Alanna S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The boiler room has always provided a warm, welcoming, and safe place to relax. They provide free meals weekly to whomever wants or needs it. They are a truly incredible establishment and a wonderful addition to our little town.

2 Nakiah R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After high school, my best friend did some wandering. Some of the places were not so great, but the Boiler Room was always open to her, always inviting, always safe. Now she spends her time keeping the Boiler Room open, inviting, and safe for others. It's a great coffee shop, community center, shelter, and resource hub.

3 Cap E.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The boiler room is an amazing place filed with amazing people and volunteers. Is a place you can feel safe going to. Whether to not feel alone in this giant world or to get something to eat after being on the street all day,this is the place to go. I love everything they do. They've helped so many of my friends in the community. Thanks you.

4 Kitty10

Former staff

Rating: 5

This place was my second home, my rock venue, my regular hangout, and a place to meet friends. I volunteered here, helped lead writer's workshops, trained baristas, heard amazing bands, had meaningful conversations about life, and the universe. This place is everything, and I hope it continues to be all of those and more to others in the continuing future.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so happy that a place like this exists. It's so many things to so many people. It's important for people to have a safe place to go and be around positive people. There are always community art supplies/musical instruments (both of which saved my sanity on more than a few occasions). The whole concept of "community" is dying in this country, but the BR really is a strong community in itself, and also a massive asset to the larger Port Townsend community. It really feels more like a living room than anything else.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room saved my life. I became involved with The Boiler Room in the fall of 2000. I had been living in Seattle, and had started using methamphetamines. I quickly lost my apartment and ended up living under the I-5 overpass. After a warm summer of “I can do this—being homeless isn’t so bad!” the weather started to change. The famous Seattle rain was coming. In the grey, everyone who had seemed so lively and fun over the summer suddenly turned into weird drug zombies. I had a terrible run in with my supplier that scared me into wanted to move on from the lifestyle I was entrenching myself in. I asked my only support network—street kids—if anyone knew of a place to go that would be away, but didn’t take a bunch of money. There would be no rehab in my future. If I was going to get clean, it was going to be by sheer willpower. I was directed to The Boiler Room as a safe haven, a place where I could have the support to clean up and sober up. It was a drug and alcohol free venue in a town I had never heard of. I had to take a bus, a ferry, and then two more busses to get to Port Townsend, a place I was blindly putting my faith in. I fell asleep on the bus, after telling the bus driver where I was trying to go. He woke me up at the bus stop outside of The Boiler Room, and I collected my belongings, straightened my back, held my head high and marched inside. In the building, it was warm. The windows were fogged and a scruffy looking dude was playing guitar in the corner. The tables were full of bundled folks. There was a free food event happening; Sunday Soup. I had barely made it inside the door before an unknown human was yelling that they’d need another bowl. By the time I made it to the counter, a bowl of veggie soup, a hunk of bread, and a cup of milk were waiting for me. I fumbled through my pockets, expecting to have to pay something. How would I afford it? I had less than $5 in change in my pocket. When I was told that it was on the house, I cried. Crying at someone I didn’t know was one of my greatest fears at that point—showing vulnerability meant that I could be taken advantage of. The girl behind the counter awkwardly patted my hand (human contact!) and sushed me. How could she help, she asked. My entire story came tumbling out… Abusive parents. Poor life choices. Homeless. Drugs. Help? I didn’t know what I needed. She looked at me and nodded her head, once, decisively. Sleep, she proclaimed. It was obvious that before I needed anything else, I needed sleep—finish the soup, go to sleep. A phone call was made, and shortly a long haired, bearded, Carhartt-jacketed man stepped through the door, followed by a… pug. The pug was the deciding factor. I went with the man, a Board Member of this nonprofit coffeehouse and social services hub, and slept on his floor for eighteen hours, waking only for water and pug kisses. When I woke fully, he took me back to The Boiler Room. I had my pack, my sleeping bag, my supplies. I slept on the porch of an abandoned house for my first two weeks in Port Townsend, and started volunteering at The Boiler Room. I found a part time labor job through the job postings board in The Boiler Room, and bought a van. I moved into the van and started supplying it for a cross country trip, which I completed in 2001. I returned to The Boiler Room after, because The Boiler Room had saved me. It saved my life. It provided me a base. A home. A family. I ended up attending school and getting jobs through connections I made in The Boiler Room. I became a Youth Representative to The Boiler Room’s Board of Directors in June of 2004. I continued to work on the Board until I became The Boiler Room’s first Executive Director in May of 2012. Continuing to work with the Boiler Room has given me an opportunity to share my story with others, and to be an example that it is possible to turn your life around. This spring, I married a man, a guitar player, I met in The Boiler Room a long time ago, when we were both so young. I filed for a City Council position the week after the wedding. I give my time, my money, and my heart to The Boiler Room. The Boiler Room saved my life, and I do everything I can to return the favor.

Please see The Boiler Room here: www.ptbr.org

Review from #MyGivingStory

2

Donor

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization! More communities need a place like this. Love the staff. the mission and the Hope. 10 star rating
Your donation will be a guaranteed blessing to this volunteer based project with decades of weathering storms and triumphs.the BR is always provoking growth opportunities for everyone in cocreation of drug and alcohol free venue; serving free food, free job and other trainings.Busy art venue and music, movies, resources galore!

2 Rachelle M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been going to the Boiler Room for over ten years. The coffee is always excellent, staff are friendly and generous, and everyone who walks in the door feels welcome. Thank you all you amazing volunteers who make the Boiler Room a pillar of the community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is a safe haven for young people and adults alike. They promote a no-hate, no drug zone and it really does feel safe and comfortable. There is free food every day, they offer free hygiene products and free condoms. I am so impressed with how much they work with the community to keep us healthy and safe. It is also a coffee shop with tons of choices of tea, coffee, cookies and other baked goods (the tea lattes are amazing!). On top of all this that they already do, they run several community activities - such as a health care sign-up help, music, drawing lessons, and tons others every week. It really is a one of a kind place.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is so much more than a coffee house, job training center, free food distributor, safe space and place to grow. The Boiler Room changes people's lives for the better, through being all the things previously outlined, but also by being a general force for good in the world. True caring and kindness are found within these walls, with warm food, kind words, learning opportunities, support, help, and of course: Coffee. The Boiler Room changed my life in more ways than I can even begin to list, but every single one of the changes was for the good.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I moved to this town 15 years ago I was a single guy with two kids and no money. The Boileroom is the only reason we had a thanksgiving dinner that year. My kids have volunteered there over the years and gained valuable work skills. We are all doing much better now and I am grateful to the Boileroom, and glad that they're still here serving the community.

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room saved my life. I'm one of the original "Boiler Kids".

Donor

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is such a staple for our community. Not only do they help people find opportunities they might not have resources for but they help small businesses too. They are an asset. Our town wouldn't be the same without them. Happy 22nd birthday Boiler Room!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I was in high school, the Boiler Room gave me a safe place, a learning opportunity, and a community when no one else did.

Nick57

Client Served

Rating: 5

Was on tour with my band and a friend's band from Wisconsin/Illinois. These guys and gals were very welcoming, and it was clear that they had established a great community of people that come together and better the area they're situated in. Keep doin' what you're doin'. It's also an awesome all-ages music venue!

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Boiler Room is an amazing establishment. There is something truly magical about this place, a place where all are are welcomed and none are judged. Where those without food or money can eat, and the homeless can have somewhere warm and safe to be. It is truly a resource for anyone that needs it, and it's always there for us. The Boiler Room cares.

Sarah270

Client Served

Rating: 5

I LOVE The Boiler Room! I have hung out there with my son and friends more than a few times:) They have great coffee (Sunrise roasters...local :) and the kids and staff are amazing. They teach practical skills to local teens and give them a safe environment to express themselves, they perform a great service to the community.