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National Volunteer Week – Kate

April 19, 2012

April 15th 2012 – April 21st 2012 is National Volunteer Week! Volunteer Week is a time to take a moment to recognize and appreciate the hard and important work of our dedicated volunteers. Visit our blog throughout this week to read a series of stories that we hope acknowledges and celebrates the amazing volunteer community here at In Other Words.

I moved to Portland from Virginia because I wanted to live in a place that would push me to be what I think of as a happier, better person. So far, Oregon has definitely pushed me to bike, hike, garden, compost, and craft more. I buy more things used, I garden (with admittedly spotty results), and I read more using the amazing Multnomah County Library.

I was also excited that Portland had a feminist bookstore. As a Women’s Studies major a couple years out of college, I was desperately missing the discussions and fun I had with my feminist friends. Through a book club, movie night, and volunteering, In Other Words quickly became one of the places I spend the most time in Portland. Volunteering at IOW pushes me to be a better person in too many ways to say, but here are just a few…

  • I get to meet wonderful, friendly people with radical politics that I can continue learning with.
  • I get to socialize in a space that doesn’t require me to spend money.
  • I get to help provide events and resources that don’t require others to spend money.
  • I get to help build an amazing library that allows anyone to learn more about feminism.
  • I am supported by a diversity of feminisms that charge me up to continue my activism.
  • I am supported by a diversity of feminisms that challenge me to reflect on myself and my actions.
  • I get to help other people who are new to Portland find friends.
  • When I tell people about how I spend my time in Portland, I get to say, “You know, like in Portlandia”.

There are many ways that I’d like to see In Other Words grow and improve, and sometimes it seems like an overwhelming task. However, when I think of all that IOW has given me, I feel honored to be part of the work that will help more people find their feminism and their feminist community in the future.

Kate Shrum, volunteer at In Other Words, and coordinator of the Adult Young Adult Book Club that meets monthly at In Other Words.

There is always room for more volunteers! Sign up to volunteer by going to our website at, or drop us a line at with any questions.

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