Counseling & Support: FAQs for Visible Ink Volunteers

1. Who is eligible to volunteer?

Visible Ink volunteers must be 18 or older with experience and expertise in writing, editing, and/or teaching.

2. How do I become a Visible Ink volunteer?

Contact Judith Kelman, Visible Ink's team leader (judith.kelman@gmail.com, kelmanj@mskcc.org, or 212-535-3985). Volunteers must go through Memorial Sloan Kettering's standard enrollment procedures. Judith will advise you about next steps and put you in touch with the Department of Volunteer Resources to complete that part of the enrollment process.

Once you have completed the Memorial Sloan Kettering volunteer sign-on process, you will receive training specifically geared to your work with patients in Visible Ink.

3. Can I still be a Visible Ink volunteer if I do not live in the local area?

Yes. Our volunteers are sometimes “virtual,” and can communicate with their assigned patients via phone and e-mail or regular mail. Some of the standard volunteer enrollment procedures can be waived for virtual volunteers at the discretion of the Department of Volunteer Resources.

4. How much time must I devote to the program?

Visible Ink recognizes that professional writing and editing assignments tend to be variable. You can reduce your commitment during times of heavy professional commitment and offer to take on other participants as your schedule permits.

Note: All volunteers are required to report their hours monthly to Judith Kelman, the team leader.

5. Will I get special training?

Yes. Visible Ink volunteers learn how to meet the special needs of cancer patients through an initial orientation as well as ongoing interactions with the team leader and other volunteers. We are developing a training manual and other resources for our volunteer coaches. The team leader and other professionals at Memorial Sloan Kettering (e.g., social workers, program administrators, and the Director of Volunteer Resources) are available to help you with difficulties that might arise.

6. What if I'm not comfortable coaching all kinds of writing?

You will be paired with participants based on your areas of experience and expertise.