“My differences have caused trouble in my life, but…”

The CYC is immensely proud of 6th grader Nora Standish, whose essay ‘Weirdly wonderfulness: Life with the “Geek Disorder”‘ was chosen as a feature for Rapid Growth Media. This must-read essay highlights the power of difference instead of seeing what sets us apart as purely detrimental. Or, as Nora so eloquently puts it “My differences have caused trouble in my life, but they have also made me a work of art.” The beauty in this being, of course, that Nora’s differences are part of what make her such an amazing and empathetic author. Through the bravery to share her unique perspective, both in this essay and in her other writing, Nora broadens her specific experience into an accessible and relatable narrative. In other words, Nora’s writing, like so much of CYC students’ work, empowers those who read it.

Nora participates in our weekly middle school programming, where she just helped to write and act in the first-ever CYC short film, Unspoken. The movie was created through a consensus process. This meant that Nora and her fellow middle schoolers had to agree every step of the way. And this short film is just one of the many ways these students are encouraged to pursue their voices and stories.

The CYC aims to be a place where everyone sees their differences as powerful and beautiful. We hope that through amplifying student voices from a young age, the students will learn that what they have to say matters and matters deeply. And we love to see other places in the community helping students to see this as well. Nora’s essay is part of a series of stories focused on the programs and people positively impacting the lives of Michigan kids. Read more of this series here.

Join the team at the CYC

Greetings fellow writing enthusiasts! Calling all creative minds and mindful creatives! The Creative Youth Center is excited to announce not one, but two calls for applications. We are currently looking for a new CYC Writing Intern for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as a new CYC Board Member. Both are incredible opportunities to engage with the mission of the CYC and to support community arts initiatives for empowering young people. As the current CYC Intern, I am sad to have to post a call for applications but only because this internship rocks!


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 Avenue in the Baxter neighborhood. It runs several after-school creative writing and reading programs for students aged 6-18. All CYC students become published authors.


Internship Information

  • 2018-2019 internship working with CYC staff members to support its mission
  • Geared toward English and Writing majors with strong writing and critical thinking skills
  • 10 hours per week, unpaid: minimum 5 hours on-site, possibility of up to 5 hours off-site
  • Supervisor: Brianne Carpenter, CYC Program Manager

Internship Time Frame

  • Position open until filled. Final deadline for applications: July 16, 2018
  • Start Date: TBD, second week of August 2018
  • End Date: TBD, May 2019

Internship Requirements

  • High level of professionalism
  • Excellent written communication across diverse media
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Attention to detail and design
  • Familiarity with Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress
  • Cultural competency
  • Sincere interest in the organization and its mission
  • Willingness to learn about the CYC and the greater context of its work
  • Self-motivation with ability to work independently within organizational culture

Possible Internship Projects

  • Edit, curate, and contribute to the CYC blog
  • Serve as Editorial Assistant for the CYC’s annual anthology, The Book of Explosions
  • Administer weekly social media posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • Write monthly CYC newsletter
  • Write and publish articles about the CYC and CYC events for media outlets
  • Manage registration materials and attendance data
  • Other opportunities as they arise

Interested students should send a resumé, cover letter, names of two references, and available weekday hours to Brianne Carpenter at brianne@creativeyouthcenter.org. Qualified applicants will be invited to the CYC for an in-person interview to discuss the position, student goals and schedule, and to make certain the internship would be a good fit for everyone.


Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) Open Board Member Position

Mission: The Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center (CYC) prepares kids for life’s adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices.

About the CYC: The CYC provides a safe, imaginative space for children aged 6-18 to participate in after school creative writing programming. Students grow in confidence, learn creative writing skills, and become published authors in a supportive community of peers and adults. Located at the crossroads of Wealthy and Eastern, the CYC’s programs are open to students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools or living in Grand Rapids, with a special focus on southeast neighborhoods. Programs are offered at no cost to families.

The CYC Board of Directors seeks a member that is passionate about the organization’s mission, equity and inclusion, and quality, accessible after school youth programming. The ideal candidate will have fundraising experience and a broad network to share with the organization.

If interested, please contact Shawnte Williams and Lindsay McHolme and share your resume.  


Shawnte Williams                                                                                       Lindsay McHolme

Vice President, Board of Directors                                                     President, CYC Board of Directors

ShawnteWilliams@meltrotter.org                                                   lindsmcholme@gmail.com