Staff & Board

Captain H. Tanny

Creative extraordinaire

Captain H. Tanny is an elusive traveler-writer that sends CYC students postcards from far-flung regions of the globe. No one has ever met the Captain, whose favorite things are writing, adventure, and travel by hot air balloon. Chances are good that the Captain looks an awful lot like YOU!

Audrey Quinn

Board Vice President

Audrey's passion for policy and procedure management, analyzing business data, and operations makes her an amazing VP for the CYC. Though she is one of our newest board members, she's been an instructor and volunteer for the CYC in the past. Her avid love of the Great Lakes makes them the best place to spend all her spare time (when the weather's good!).

Brianna Steiner

Board Secretary

Brianna believes “adventure is out there!” which is why she loves working at Adventures by Lori, a Grand Rapids based travel agency. Her adventures either take place a plane ride away or right at home with a good YA fiction book or a group of friends playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Neil Kaufman

Board Member

Neil loves checking words on Merriam-Webster almost as much as he loves listening, writing, and playing music. When he’s not busy volunteering at the East Leonard Christian Reformed Church as an art show curator, drive-thru prayer tent attendant, or creative writing workshop leader, you can find him discovering new artists at Vertigo Music.

Max Spoelstra

Board Member

Max is a frequenter of hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, with rotating favorites. As a Student Ministry Director at Chapel Pointe Church, his joke game is on-point, and you’ll often find him honing new skills like car-drive-beat-boxing or pour-over-coffee-brewing.

Preston Merrill

Board Member

Preston is a CYC alum who loves the process of being creative, which is why you can often find him drawing, writing, acting, and even making movies with his friends. His favorite food is probably lobster, but he’s certain that he loves watching SpongeBob SquarePants and reading classics like The Hobbit and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Kait Polzin

Board President

Kait is a French instructor at Michigan State University, where she is able to key into her passion for language as well as her expert teaching skills. When not working with her students in online classes, you can find her at Belknap lookout eating loads of pastries and making music of any kind.

Steve DePolo

Board Assistant Vice President

Steve has served on the CYC’s board for 10 years and has recently taken on the position as Assistant Vice President! He works as a Director of Development for Covenant House, as well as serving many other volunteer roles in the Grand Rapids area. He loves photography and his out-of-this-world daughters, and he can find humor in absolutely any situation.

Lamont Arrington

Board Member

Lamont is a true hopeless romantic who enjoys dramatic media and old poems from every country. It’s his passion to share art through helping others create and understand it, and if he can do that while he’s munching on some Korean Beef Bulgogi, he’s happy!

Valerie Kozak

Board Member

Valerie is the CYC's newly elected co-marketing chair, which is perfect because she loves connecting with the community on social media and listening to leadership podcasts. If you can catch her on the weekend, you'll likely find her drinking kombucha at the local taproom.

Emlynn Merrill

Board Member

Emlynn is a CYC alum who LOVES writing, specifically by the upstairs fireplace at the Kentwood Library. She’s a big fan of fantasy books and any type of pasta. If you ask her many stuffed animals, they’ll tell you that she also is a pretty great pianist.

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.

Email: word@creativeyouthcenter.org

Phone: 616-458-5505

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