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We believe that while nurturing kids’ writing can give them access to the world, fostering their creativity may allow them to change the world.

Our mission is to prepare 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. Our programs are free for all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools.


Kristin Brace

Executive Director

Published Author
MFA in Writing
Literacy Educator
Nonprofit Leadership Experience
Master Cartwheeler & Green Thumb

Brianne Carpenter

Program Manager

MFA in Writing
Published Author
Lit Magazine Publishing Experience
ESL Educator
Master Canner and Preserver

Jenny VanderBoon Knol

Curriculum & Classroom Specialist

Instructional Coach
English/Language Arts Teacher
M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership, Bilingual and ESL Education
Aspiring Unconditional Weather-Lover

Board of Directors

Sarah Jean Anderson

Board Member, Secretary

Artist, Writer, & Performer
Host and Art Judge, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School Grand Rapids
Member of Avenue for the Arts
Counselor and Band Coach, Girls Rock Grand Rapids (GR!GR)
West Michigan Pride ACE Award Recipient for Coalition

Tony Campbell

Board Member

Associate General Secretary for the Reformed Church in America

Published Author

Member of several community boards

Indiana Track & Field Hall of Fame and Recovering Ex Athlete

Steven DePolo

Board Member

Director of Foundation Giving, GVSU
Writer, Revue Magazine

Parent of GRPS Students

Vice President, Grant Writers Roundtable
Spinner of Yarns

Cecile Fehsenfeld

Honorary Board Member, CYC Co-Founder

President/Co-owner, Schuler Books & Music
Board Member, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
First Steps Commission
Advisory Board, ACLU, West Michigan
Marathon Runner & Reader

Janelle Horvath

Board Member

Producer, CK & CO Media Production
Writer for Corporate and Nonprofit Clients
Past Board Chair, NextGen United Way                  Lover of Books and Baked Goods

Lindsay McHolme

Board Member, President

M.Ed Literacy Studies & TESOL
Certified Secondary English & Sociology Teacher
Bilingual in Spanish and English
Reporter & Editorial Mentor, The Rapidian
Pie Crust Maker Extraordinaire & Fruit Juggler

Taran McZee

Board Member

Special Associate to Vice-President of Inclusion & Equity, GVSU
Motivational & Leadership Speaker
Master Degree in Higher Education
Diversity/Cultural Competency Trainer
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.                             Professional Shower Singer


Benjamin Oliver

Board Member, Vice President

Challenge Scholars Advisor, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Degree in History and Spanish
Former ELL Educator
Citizen Forester
Department of Redundancy Department

Kensley Walters

Board Member, Treasurer

CPA, Beene Garter
Master of Science in Accounting, GVSU
AICPA Member
CYC Thrive Tutoring Volunteer
Authority on Giggling

Nicole Wells

Board Member

Parent of Longtime CYC Student
Parent Representative, First Steps Kent Great Start Collaborative
Preschool Teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy
Occasional, Accidental Burner of Food

Kailie West

Junior Board Member

Aquinas College Student, Writing Center Consultant, & Student Ambassador
Pursuing Degrees in Education & Community Leadership
CYC Afterschool Adventure Volunteer                   Eternal Dreamer & Doer of Dreams