CYC’s Alanna and Brianne on WGVU’s Mutually Inclusive!

Lights, camera, action! Last night on WGVU, the CYC promoted its positive role in Grand Rapids. Our program manager, Brianne Carpenter, appeared on last night’s Mutually Inclusive to discuss our organization’s goals with Mariano Avila. Brianne explained how the CYC functions as a nonprofit to educate the youth of Grand Rapids in creative writing, and our very own student, Alanna, performed one of her poems for the cameras. Watch the video here! (The CYC clip begins at 8:37.)

We’re proud of our young author for taking the stage with her poetry. Alanna attends Amplify, the CYC’s program for middle school women, and has been with us for three years. This talented sixth-grade student presented a personal poem about self-identity. Again, watch the clip to see her awesome performance!

In conversation with Mariano Avila, Brianne explained how our programming is free to all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools and living in Grand Rapids. The CYC receives funding from grants and private donors so students like Alanna can experience the power of creative writing. (Want to donate or see how you can help us out?)

“Our mission is to amplify student voices,” Brianne said. “One of the ways we do that is by publishing an anthology of student work. We’re getting ready to release our sixth Book of Explosions this May.”

Brianne told Mariano about our collaboration with other organizations in the community, such as Triumph Music Academy. Students at Triumph wrote music to accompany CYC-student poems, which will appear on an album in May. We’ll be sure to let you know when the album and the Book of Explosions are released so you can get your hands on a copy of each!

We’re grateful for the opportunity to take one of our students to a larger stage, especially alongside other admirable organizations like WMCAT, The Diatribe, and 61syx. Check out these organizations to learn about more ways you can contribute to our community!

2017-2018 Internships

It’s happening again: the CYC is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for our 2017-2018 internships! The positions will remain open until filled.

We have two internships this year: 1) graphic design / marketing, and 2) social media / writing. Do I want to give up my role as social media / writing intern? No. Do I think it’s cruel I’m required to write a post intended to recruit someone to fill my position? Yes. Yet here I am, because this internship rocks. So why don’t you apply, future-lucky-intern? You’ll love this place and the contribution you will make.

Our Mission

The mission of the Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) is to prepare kids for life’s adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices. The CYC is located at 413 Eastern Ave., in the Baxter neighborhood. It runs several after-school programs for kids aged 6-18. 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.

Your Mission

Along with the CYC’s mission stated above, your specific mission is included in the attached graphic design / marketing and social media / writing internships:

Graphic Design / Marketing

Social Media / Writing

Interested students should send a resumé, cover letter, names of two references, and available weekday hours to Brianne Carpenter at

Remember, the positions are open until filled! The sooner you send in an application, the better. Best o’ luck to ye, matey.

Characters That Lived–Again!

In case you missed the show in October, or saw it and loved it, or have an insatiable hankering for a good laugh–have no fear! The CYC has your back. The Characters That Lived is coming back at you on March 18 at Dog Story Theater, and it’s going to be better than ever.

Partnering with LaughFest, we have the wonderful Amy Gascon returning to head an amazing troupe of improv comedians. This time around, the characters arose from the imaginations of the CYC’s first- and second-grade students as well as our middle school writers. You’ll meet a new host of characters such as Paingeay, a penguin who lives on a fat penguin moon, and Princess Grumpy, who likes to “sleep, sleep, eat ice cream, and sleep.”

“I don’t know what’s better,” CYC intern Miranda said. “Seeing the hilarious characters our students create, or watching the students’ reactions when their characters come to life.”

Me too, Miranda.

Uh-oh, I’m getting interrupted. Roselita wants to say hi:

When it comes down to it, we really want to see your faces at the show. That’s why we’ve made the event FREE and scheduled TWO showings at 12:30pm and 2:30pm. Since tickets aren’t necessary, we’re welcoming spectators on a first-come, first-serve basis. Find more information on LaughFest’s website.

Happy 6th Birthday to the CYC!

The CYC celebrates its 6th birthday on March 4! Woo-hoo!

Since we can’t say happy birthday to ourselves, our young writers are saying it for us! They crafted some creative variations on the traditional birthday song. Check out the lyrics of these goofy tunes:


“Happy birthday CYC,

You’re fancy and drink tea,

You eat my last piece of cake,

And you raise your pinky!”


“Happy birthday to you,

the CYC is cool,

everybody here is awesome,

it’s better than school!”


“Happy birthday to you,

I don’t even know you,

I have one question for you,

What are those? They’re twinkle toes!”


And possibly the silliest one:



“Happy birthday kazoo,

you look like a moose,

you have a loose tooth,

it’s hard to drink juice OW!”


Our students would love to hear if any of you readers out there sing one of these silly songs to a pal on their birthday.

This brings us to a small birthday request.

As you probably know, funding for the arts is facing major cuts. This means that small organizations like the CYC will rely even more on the generosity of community members that understand the importance of the arts in high quality after-school programs.

Would you consider pledging just $6 a month to the Creative Youth Center? If everyone on our mailing list made a recurring $6 payment on our website today, nearly half of our yearly budget would be covered.

As a special thank you for committing to $6/month during the month of March, you will receive 6 kid-crafted birthday cards to send to your family and friends.

Even a one time gift of $6 makes a difference!

And don’t forget: if your workplace does a yearly United Way campaign, you have the option of designating an organization of your choice on your pledge. Please consider designating the CYC!