NFB Youth Slam

Volunteer Information

What is the NFB Youth Slam?

The NFB Youth Slam is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) academy to be held at Towson University, the second largest university in Maryland. The university is located eight miles north of Baltimore. While staying at the university, one hundred blind and low vision high school students from around the United States will engage in five days of STEM classes and recreational activities designed to build confidence and increase STEM literacy.

What type of volunteer work is there to be done?

Volunteers can serve in a variety of capacities including: helping to prepare materials for the academy, teaching a class, providing support to students both in and outside of class, helping execute program logistics (i.e., set up and tear down, material distribution, etc.), providing navigational support for students (i.e., talking signs) etc.

What are the responsibilities for some of the volunteer roles?

Potential volunteer roles may include:

  • Marshals: Help NFB Jernigan Institute staff with the logistics of shuttling participants around the university campus and at meal times and social events, accompany students and mentors to the Youth Slam office in cases of emergency, fill in as relief mentors when needed, other duties as assigned.
  • Pod Mentors: Responsible for chaperoning a maximum of three students throughout the duration of the program. Mentors are expected to be with the students on a full-time basis during the week of the program. They will accompany students to meals, tracks, short sessions, and social events. May be asked to perform other duties as assigned.
  • Relief Mentors: Help fill in for pod mentors when needed), (mentors are sick, need breaks, in case of emergency, etc.), assist with marshalling duties, other duties as assigned.
  • Content Instructors: Responsible for facilitating curriculum for students. These individuals will be selected based on their expertise in the content area and will participate in planning prior to the event.
  • Materials Distribution Volunteers: Responsible for working with members of the NFB Jernigan Institute staff to disseminate and collect materials related to content sessions and social events prior to and after all activities.  

What dates do I need to be available?

Volunteers will be needed Friday, July 21 through Saturday, July 29, 2017. Mandatory training will take place July 21-23. Volunteers local to Baltimore are not required to be available for the entire length of the academy.

Do I have to have background in STEM fields to participate?

No. However, volunteers who wish to teach a class must have expertise in that specific STEM discipline.

How will volunteers get to the university campus?

The National Federation of the Blind will arrange transportation to Towson University for volunteers who live more than 40 miles from campus. Participants will fly into Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. If they are traveling by train, they will travel to Baltimore-Penn Station located in downtown Baltimore and if they are traveling by Greyhound Bus, they will travel to Downtown Baltimore Greyhound Station. Transportation from the airport, train, or bus station to the campus will be arranged for participants. Individuals who live within driving distance of the academy site can drive to the site and will be compensated for their mileage.

What day do the volunteers travel to Baltimore?

Selected volunteers will/must arrive in Baltimore by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017. Volunteers will participate in an all-day training on Saturday, July 22 in preparation for the students’ arrival. Volunteers are required to attend the training and stay for the duration of the program, returning home on the following Saturday, July 29.

What day do students travel to Baltimore?

Students will travel to Baltimore on Sunday, July 23.

What day do activities begin?

Youth Slam activities will begin on Monday, July 24 and run through Friday, July 28. All participants will travel home on Saturday, July 29.

Where will volunteers stay?

Volunteers (and students) will stay in the dorms on the university’s campus. Housing will only be provided for volunteers who live more than 40 miles from campus.

What is the dress code?

Conservative summer attire is recommended. We strongly discourage participants from wearing clothes that are revealing or that have inappropriate slogans or prints. Please keep in mind that this program is going to receive a lot of recognition and promotion, so we would like participants to help us present a positive image. 

What is the cost to selected volunteers?

All transportation, room, and board will be covered by the NFB for those who live 40 miles from Towson University.

How do I apply?

The deadline to apply as a NFB Youth Slam volunteer has now passed. Those who have applied will receive notification about their status as a volunteer in late March. 

More questions?

If you have additional questions or require additional information, please contact the Education Team at (410) 659-9314, extension 2418, or at

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