Here at the CYC, students and their stories come first. We want to empower children in the Grand Rapids community to speak their truths and to explore their own creativity. And we couldn’t do any of it without incredible leaders like Audrey Quinn. Audrey has been volunteering with the CYC since last January and has loved every minute of it. Now she is excited to be stepping into a new role, as the creative writing instructor on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the third through fifth graders.
Audrey is embracing the adventure and starting off by leading her students in a project on folklore. She says of the project that she “wants students to have something really fun to be working on when they’re not editing their pieces for the Book of Explosions.” And “with folklore and fairy tales this semester, I want to work with the kids on developing settings and characters. I think the freedom of these forms will keep that fun. Among other things, we’re going to make guidebooks to fairy tale worlds, talk about oral traditions, the rules and limits of magic in stories, magical realism, and understanding villains.”
It’s wonderfully unique projects like this that vitalize the CYC, as Audrey knows. She shared that one of her favorite CYC memories was last spring, when first and second graders were able to create their own ice cream flavors. She said that she “loved seeing the kids design their own flavors out of all the toppings and ice creams that Furniture City Creamery brought to the CYC.” One student created a flavor named “Waltermelon,” inspired by his own name. Audrey said Walter still brings this up during programming.
Students at Furniture City Creamery, enjoying “Waltermelon” ice cream.
Audrey is particularly excited to be working closer with the kids and the CYC on producing this year’s Book of Explosions. She said that attending the Book Launch last year was one of her greatest CYC moments, as “it’s amazing to watch the students get up on stage and see everything else melt away– seeing kids who started off nervous being able to flourish onstage is one the coolest experiences.” She added that the Book Launch experience is a time when the students “get to be proud of themselves and embraced by their community.”
If Audrey could have one superpower she says it would be flight, or at least that’s her “go-to” answer, as she thinks the “freedom to go anywhere whenever I want to would be amazing.” Of course, Audrey knows that the closet thing to this superpower is the power of reading and writing, which is why the CYC students are so lucky to have her as a creative writing teacher.