October 23rd, 2012

We love our volunteers, so we’re working to make it easier for you to sign up for volunteer opportunities and find out when we need help. In the new Spells Volunteer Information Center (VicNet), you can see when we need volunteers, sign up for specific volunteer slots, track your volunteer hours, and even update your contact information, all in one convenient place.

To log into VicNet, first click on the Volunteer Login tab in the upper right-hand corner of our homepage.

This will take you directly to the login page, where you can enter the email address you used to sign up with Spells on our volunteer application, and the password you selected on the application form (or, the one included in your emailed invitation to use VicNet).

If you forget your password: Click the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page. You will be prompted to enter your email address, and click the Go button. If you continue to experience difficulty accessing your information, please email our volunteer coordinator for further assistance. She can send you your VicNet password by email.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see a screen similar to this one (click to view larger):

Using the tabs, you can view mail from our volunteer coordinator, review and update the information you included on your application, view your schedule and sign up for volunteer slots, view your service history, or change your password. Most of these are easy to figure out, so we’d like to concentrate on the My Schedule tab.

When you click on the My Schedule tab, you will see a calendar similar to this one (click to view larger):

This tab lets you view and print your schedule, in addition to adding or removing yourself from a schedule. The Help Wanted balloons on the calendar indicate volunteer opportunities that still need more people.

To schedule yourself, simply click on one of the Help Wanted balloons. On the next page, you can see a list of the volunteers already attending and how many more slots remain. Select the Schedule Me button to sign yourself up!

If your plans have changed and you need to remove yourself from the schedule, simply click on the date you’d like to edit and select the Remove Me button. Please note that you may not be able to remove yourself less than twenty-four hours before the volunteer opportunity. If you need to make a last-minute cancellation, please contact our volunteer coordinator directly.

We hope this system is clear and will help make it easier for our volunteers to know when they are needed and schedule themselves. If you have any questions about using the new Volunteer Information Center, please let us know at volunteer@phillyspells.org!


September 20th, 2012

We had such a great summer at Spells Writing Camp this year, and we’re still putting the finishing touches on several projects. But here’s one that’s ready to go—a four-episode web series written and produced by some of our Writing Webisodes week campers.

We’ll be creating more web series on Mondays and Wednesdays this fall during our new weekday writing workshops after tutoring. If you like what you see and want to help our students bring their ideas to life, register to volunteer or send us an email at volunteer@phillyspells.org.


May 1st, 2012

With just over a week to go before our big spring fundraiser with Buzz Bissinger, and only two weeks until his new book, Father’s Day, hits stores, we thought you might like to get a sneak peek at this amazing new memoir. Newsweek recently ran an excerpt of the book, and Buzz made a video featuring him and his twin sons, which can be viewed below. Tickets for Being Buzz Bissinger are still available, or check out the silent auction items, which can also be bid on from afar!

YouTube Preview Image

April 29th, 2012

Scientists recently discovered a mysterious egg that doesn’t seem to belong to any animal species they know of. They can’t figure out what it will hatch into, but they can tell it’s going to hatch soon. A leading research team turns to you for help. Will it be a bird, a fish, a land animal? Will it even be from Earth? What does it eat? How does it behave? Learn about common animal behaviors, then decide how your unique creature is going to act, and what kind of adventures you’ll go on once it hatches!

April 27th, 2012

Please check out and bid on the following great auction items for the Being Buzz Bissinger event. Special thanks to those individuals and companies who donated to the auction, boldly noted below. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to bid on items in advance, please email Steve Wittenberg.

  • NASCAR Racing Experience: Enjoy a trip for 2 to a 2012 NASCAR Spring Cup Series Race of your choice. Package includes premium level tickets, a 2-night hotel stay and round-trip airfare for 2. $7,250 value – Opening Bid: $2,800
  • Fairmont Hotel Experience: Enjoy a 4-night stay in a Junior Suite at select Fairmont Hotels and Resorts including top Canadian properties plus round-trip airfare for 2. $7,250 value – Opening Bid: $2,400
  • Estate Planning Consultation with Steven Wittenberg, Esq.: Steven is the Director of Legacy Planning in SEI’s Wealth Management Practice. Steven is a JD/MBA/LLM in Tax with over 10 years of tax, estate and legal experience. More information can be found here. $500 value – Opening Bid – $250
  • Chiropractic Services from Dr. Philip Buckley: Buckley Chiropractic is conveniently located in downtown Lansdowne. Philip graduated from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1983 and is the principal Chiropractic specialist of Buckley Chiropractic. More information can be found at http://buckleychiropractic.info/about-us/doctors/. – $500 value – Opening Bid – $250
  • Legal Services by Mary Beth Bogan, Esq.: Ms. Bogan has over 20 years of legal experience in the areas of commercial litigation, real estate, and corporate matters, as well as in the representation of nonprofit organizations, business entities, and individuals in the entertainment, fashion, and arts industries. More information can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mary-elizabeth-bogan/9/947/911 – $500 value – Opening Bid – $250
  • Exceptional Events Philadelphia Party Consulting: $300 towards any event: http://www.exceptional-events.net/ – $300 value – donated by Stacey Kesselman – Opening Bid – $150
  • Family Photo Shoot by Zoey Sless-Kitain: Zoey is the Photography Director at Philadelphia Magazine –$400 value – Opening Bid – $250
  • Interior Design and Color Consult by Busy Bee Design: http://busybeephilly.com/ – $350 value – donated by Anna Powers – Opening Bid – $200
  • Overnight Stay at Loews Hotel includes breakfast – $325 value – donated by Steven Wittenberg – Opening Bid – $150
  • Life Coach Session by Gail Cummings Levan, MSW, LSCW – $250 value – Opening Bid – $130
  • PA Ballet 2 Seats for NY Export: Opus Jazz – $210 value – Opening Bid – $120
  • Lilly Pulitzer Gift Bag – $200 value – donated by Janie Schoenborn – Opening Bid – $100
  • Lunch with Seth Williams, Philadelphia’s first African American District Attorney – $200 value – Opening Bid – $100
  • 2 Phillies Tix & Shane Victorino Signed Baseball – $200 value – donated by Dennis Shea – Opening Bid – $100
  • 4 Phillies Tix – June 1st vs Miami, Sec 116, Seats 1-4, Row 6 – $200 value – donated by Lou Morsa – Opening Bid – $100
  • Collingswood Restaurant Package – 2 $100 gift cards to Joe Pesce’s and Tortilla Press – $200 value – Opening Bid – $100
  • Performance Fitness (1-month Boot Camp, Wynnewood) – $199 value – donated by Michelle Collier – Opening Bid – $125
  • Handywork by Hank – $150 value – donated by Hank Adamczyk – Opening Bid – $50
  • Stephen Starr Restaurants gift card – $150 value – Opening Bid – $75
  • Doula Package: See http://www.doulamom.com/ – $140 value – donated by Kate Beschen – Opening Bid – $90
  • 2 Handmade Bead Necklaces – $120 value – donated by Christina Stasiuk – Opening Bid – $50


  • Nutrition and Acupuncture Consulting Package: 1 hour consulting package – $120 value – Opening Bid – $85
  • Bikram Yoga 10 Class gift card – $120 value – donated by Maggie Sobeleski – Opening Bid – $100
  • Phila Theatre Co 2 Tix to 2012-2013 season – $120 value – Opening Bid – $70
  • A Kitchen Gift Certificate – $100 value – Opening Bid – $50
  • Triumph Brewery gift card – $100 value – Opening Bid – $50
  • Marathon on the Square Gift Card – $100 value – donated by Marathon Grill – Opening Bid – $50
  • 4 Tickets to Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square and Liberty 360 – $82 value – Donated by Historic Philadelphia – Opening Bid – $25
  • 2 Tix to People’s Light & Theater Company – $78 value – Opening Bid – $65
  • Spells Authors Book Package (2 Available): Best Friends by Carol Saline + Save Me by Lisa Scottoline + Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger – $75 value – Donated by Carol Saline and Spells Writing Lab – Opening Bid – $40
  • 5 Class Wake Up Yoga gift card – $65 value – donated by Alane Benson – Opening Bid – $35
  • Christina Pirello Signed Books Package (2 available) Cooking the Whole Foods Way and I’m Mad as Hell… – $60 value – Donated by Robert and Christina Pirello – Opening Bid – $35
  • Two Tickets to the Painted Bride – $60 value – Opening Bid – $30
  • Chaddsford Winery Gift Basket – $59 value – donated by Chaddsford Winery – Opening Bid – $35
  • Prime Rib gift card – $50 value – Opening Bid – $35
  • Valley Forge Eye Center Gift Basket – $50 value – Opening Bid – $25
  • Todd Herreman’s Autographed Football (Ex Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Lineman)- $50 value – donated by Dennis Shea – Opening Bid – $20
  • Barefoot Wine Package – $40 value – Opening Bid – $25
  • Primo Hoagies Gift Card – $40 value – donated by Ryan Regan – Opening Bid – $20
  • BeachPack: See http://www.obhenterprises.com/BeachPack.html, comes filled with beach items (towels, suntan lotion and other goodies) – $35 value – donated by OBH Enterprises – Opening Bid – $30
  • Children’s’ Book World Gift Card – $30 value – donated by Heather Hebert– Opening Bid – $10
  • Pure Fare Gift Card – $15 value – Opening Bid – $10