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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 offered, at no cost to families, to students aged 6-18 attending Grand Rapids Public Schools or living in Grand Rapids.


Kristin Brace

Executive Director
Chief Hot Air Balloon Operator

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

Brianne Carpenter

Program Director
Unicorn Catcher

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

Jenny VanderBoon Knol

Curriculum Specialist
Undercover Spy

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

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

Tony Campbell

Board Member, In Memoriam

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

LaShawntelle Carson-Pops

Student Board Member

Grand Valley State University Graduate
Women and Gender Studies and Public and Nonprofit Major
MSW Graduate Student
Founder of REVIVE
Motivational speaker, educator, writer, advisor
Originally from Philadelphia, PA

Lydia Clowney

Board Member, Treasurer

Member, Early Career Council, BDO USA, LLP
Common Plant Enthusiast

Steven DePolo

Board Member

Director of Foundation Giving, GVSU
Writer, Revue Magazine
Parent of GRPS Students
Vice President, Grant Writers Roundtable
Spinner of Yarns

Jordoun Eatman

Board Member

Project Lead Neighborhood Connector at City of Grand Rapids
Housing Analyst for City of Grand Rapids
President Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Eta Nu Lambda Chapter of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Aspiring (Friendly) Pirate

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

Regis Fox

Board Member

English Professor, GVSU
Published Author
Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
Lover of Sweets and Fitness!
Eternal Mama’s Girl

Janelle Horvath

Board Member, Secretary

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

Lilibeth Marvin

Board Member

Community Connector, Marvin Law Office, PC
Owner/ Principal, Isabel Events & Design
Finance & International Relations Major, MPA
Latino Talent Initiative Graduate, 2014
Lover of education and the opportunities it brings
Culture Lover + Colombiana

Kailie Pillard

Board Member, Vice President

Community Initiatives Administrative Assistant, Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation
Recent Aquinas College Graduate
CYC Creative Writing Volunteer
Passionately Involved in Community Outreach & Leadership
Eternal Dreamer & Doer of Dreams

Cherish Pittman

Board Member

Recent Grand Valley State University Graduate
Film/Video Major
Scriptwriter, Director, Producer, Blogger
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
Lover of Shoes

Chris Sain

Board Member

Educator, Activist, Speaker
1st Vice President NAACP, Grand Rapids Chapter
Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work
Social Entrepreneur
Co-Founder and CEO of Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports

Courtney Simmons

Board Member, President

Inclusiveness & Diversity Talent Manager, Herman Miller
Product of GRPS
LGR Class of 2018
Longtime volunteer for youth-serving organizations
Mother of young daughters
Keeper of Many Journals & Speaker of Many Words

Chimere Williams

Board Member

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI
Graduate of Davenport University
Mother of two beautiful daughters