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Creative Youth Center kicks off annual campaign with 'meet and greet'

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The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center invites the community to share the highlights of last year and get updates on future goals on Wednesday, July 6 at The Meanwhile Bar from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
A young author signs a book during the Bloom Cherry Bloom Tree celebration

A young author signs a book during the Bloom Cherry Bloom Tree celebration /Courtesy of the Creative Youth Center

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Two young authors hold the latest anthology of youth writing from the Creative Youth Center

Two young authors hold the latest anthology of youth writing from the Creative Youth Center /Courtesy of the Creative Youth Center

Celebrating the release of Bloom Cherry Bloom Tree

Celebrating the release of Bloom Cherry Bloom Tree /Courtesy of the Creative Youth Center

The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) invites writers, creatives and the curious of all kinds to stop in for a meet and greet at The Meanwhile Bar back patio on Wednesday, July 6 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. The CYC will share highlights from last school year and updates on future goals. The event will help kick off the organization’s 2016 annual campaign, Take the Helm.

“This year’s theme speaks to the power of our students - their voices, actions and ideas,” said Kristin Brace, CYC Executive Director. “It also invites the community to rally in support of our youth by helping continue the CYC’s quality afterschool programming.”

Located at the crossroads of the Madison Area, Baxter Community, and Wealthy Street Corridor, the CYC supports the good work of neighborhood families and schools by providing a safe, imaginative space for students to learn about writing and flex their creative muscles. After school writing and tutoring programs are free for youth aged 6-18 attending Grand Rapids Public Schools or living in Grand Rapids.

“This spring, students got to work with local graphic artists to illustrate and write their own Zines, now available at Vault of Midnight downtown,” said Brianne Carpenter, CYC Program Manager. “With titles such as "Orbit: 2 Planets, 1 Resolution" and "The Scary Toys Come to Life," CYC students prove that hard work and imaginative silliness can truly collide to make something great.”

Next fall has other exciting projects in store including a collaboration with Grand Rapids' Triumph Music Academy to produce “the podcast you've always dreamed of listening to but could never find,” Carpenter said. “Like the sign on our door says, adventure awaits!”

Since 2010, the CYC has published the writing of nearly 600 students and celebrated their work in the community. The latest anthology of student writing, "Bloom Cherry Bloom Tree: The Book of Explosions V," is available for purchase at events, at the CYC’s on-line store, and during select business hours. All proceeds support programming.   

Raqhelle Millbrooks, a 19-year-old incoming sophomore at the University of Memphis, attended CYC programming for three years during high school.

"I will always appreciate the dedication and passion of the workers and volunteers at the CYC,” Raqhelle wrote in a recent guest blog post. “They all take time out of their week to come together and help students thrive in their school work. Not only is the CYC a great atmosphere to get schoolwork done, but also a safe place to grow as a kid in elementary or high school.”

Funds raised during the campaign will help the CYC serve more students and work toward securing a more permanent location with a storefront to showcase student work. The goal is to provide a space to learn and create that neighborhood youth can call their own.  

As second grade student Akeelah says in the latest CYC video, “There’s a lot of things that will make you happy at the CYC.”

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