Sarah and RoslynMost of the people who work behind the counter or in the bookstore at the South Whidbey Commons Coffeehouse Bookstore are volunteers. Sometimes their friends and family members ask, “Why donate your time when you could get paid to work elsewhere?”

Here’s why:

  • Most employers want to hire people who have experience, and by volunteering at the Commons, you gain that.
  • While you’re gaining that experience, you earn free drinks that you can enjoy yourself and give to friends and family.
  • The training that you go through would cost more than $600 at any other barista training facility.
  • Volunteering gives you an opportunity to build connections with people of all ages.


Everyone who goes through the training program learns about espresso and basic food prep, and in general, also has the opportunity to learn the following:Holden and Ebey

  • How to take orders and provide a good product in response
  • The importance of greeting people with a smile
  • How to handle cash so that the drawer balances at the end of the day
  • How to meet health standards for safe food preparation
  • The importance of minimizing waste
  • How to receive constructive criticism and use it to improve skills
  • How to work as a team with people of different ages and interests
  • How to set goals for personal development
  • How to check assumptions and communicate clearly with team members
  • How to network to create opportunities to pursue interests
  • The power of volunteerism and the importance of community

Students can earn high school credit by volunteering at The Commons.

To volunteer at The Commons, please fill out and bring in this application.

What volunteers learn

Here, in their own words, are some of the things volunteers have learned:

10258290_640062659375691_4472599360794065367_o“I’ve learned that I love to help people.”

“I’ve learned that I am a good people person and that I’m actually a lot better at using the cash register than I thought I’d be and that I’m a GREAT photographer who can contribute to the newsletter!”

“I’ve learned how important it is to believe in your dreams.”

“I’ve learned I have trouble living up to a set schedule, but I enjoy talking to people over the counter, hearing what they do, what their plans are…and I’ve learned that I’d like to become an event organizer.”

“I’ve learned that I have people skills and communicate with other people to get things done. I’ve also learned about what it means to be a leader.”

“I’ve learned that I can relax more and not stress over the small stuff.”

“I’ve learned I can multitask…that I can communicate well and professionally, and that I can make good coffee!”

“I’ve learned how much I like volunteering, and how I like being in this social environment! It helps me unwind from work and school and gets me to interact with my community.”

“I’ve learned that I enjoy the company of the people I work with, and that I have many teachers to learn from!”