The Rapidian

Creative Youth Center begins fall programs

Regular programming geared at developing writing skills and creativity is free for all students ages 6-18 attending Grand Rapids Public Schools and/or living in Grand Rapids.
Children reading at the Creative Youth Center

Children reading at the Creative Youth Center /Courtesy of Creative Youth Center

Underwriting support from:

Can’t wait to get involved? Join the CYC for The Sketches that Lived

The Creative Youth Center presents an all-ages comedy performance, "The Sketches that Lived," at the Wealthy Theatre on Wednesday, October 21. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds support CYC programming.

Reserve your tickets now.


Programming information:

Afterschool Adventure (1st-8th Grade) Students attend from 4:00-6:00 p.m. one day a week based on their grade:

  • Monday OR Tuesday, 3rd-5th Grade
  • Wednesday, 1st-2nd Grade
  • Thursday, 6th-8th Grade
  • MLK Leadership Academy students are picked up from school upon dismissal and walked to the CYC.

Thrive (6th-12th Grade)

Drop In Tutoring (6th-12th Grade): Mondays and Tuesdays, 6:15-7:30 p.m. 

Unlearn Your Lines: Creative Writing Workshop (9th-12th Grade): Thursdays, 6:15-7:45


Visit our website for more information.

Contact Rachael with questions or to enroll in a program. 

Children reading on swings at the Creative Youth Center

Children reading on swings at the Creative Youth Center /Courtesy of Creative Youth Center

Child reading at the Creative Youth Center

Child reading at the Creative Youth Center /Courtesy of Creative Youth Center

Where do tales of world travel meet neighborhood lore? Where do curious kids intersect the jottings of an elusive poet-wanderer? And where do seemingly ordinary students reveal their true identities as talented, published authors? The Creative Youth Center, of course! A nonprofit in its toddler years, the Creative Youth Center (CYC) prepares kids for life’s adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices.

At the CYC, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning. Regular programming is free for all students ages 6-18 attending Grand Rapids Public Schools and/or living in Grand Rapids. The CYC is gearing up for an exciting school year. Whatever the program, students can count on flexing their imaginative muscles and adding to a sense of silliness and collaboration in a safe, supportive environment. Programming begins the week of September 28 and features several new options for students.

“We’re really excited to offer Afterschool Adventure to an expanded age group,” says Rachael Hamilton, program manager. Now open to 1st through 8th grade students, Afterschool Adventure is an after school creative writing program that guides students in giving voice to their own stories in the context of our greater community. Genres explored throughout the year will include memoirs, short stories and flash fiction, poetry, fables, journalism, screenwriting and storytelling through visual arts and movement.

Older students are invited to join Thrive, an evening program with homework help and creative writing components. Drop-in tutoring twice a week is available to middle and high school students seeking extra one on one support. Additionally, 9th-12th grade students can participate in "Unlearn Your Lines,” a weekly workshop series devoted to the craft of writing as a form of self-discovery.

“We’ll focus on image and voice,” says Michelle Steffens, who will lead this brand new workshop. “Students will explore the internal and external worlds they inhabit.”

Select Wednesday evenings will be devoted to workshops with visiting authors representing a wide variety of backgrounds and approaches to honing their craft.

“Our community is teeming with talented writers and artists,” says Kristin Brace, executive director. “It’s important that our students have the opportunity to learn from multiple perspectives, and exposure to a diverse group of individuals is the way to make it happen.”

Captain H. Tanny, the “elusive poet-wanderer,” is not likely to be among the CYC’s visitors. A CYC founder and friend who has sent many an encouraging postcard, the captain has yet to be glimpsed in person, but recently managed to send in blueprints by parachute for a Little Free Library. Grand Rapidians are welcome to check out a book or drop one off just outside the CYC at 413 Eastern Avenue later this fall. 

At the CYC, kids are encouraged to trust their unique voice and vision. Their creative writing is celebrated each year in an anthology of collected work as well as in smaller chapbooks and online articles. Each spring, a public book launch and reading invites the community to participate in the vital work of our young leaders.

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