Cleveland Heights, OH

Lake Erie Ink Sparks Creativity in Cleveland-Area Youth; Receives New Funding from Cleveland Heights Council

Kathryn Dillon

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Lake Erie Ink, a Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit, has received funding of up to $3,900 from the Cleveland Heights City Council to extend some of its after-school programs throughout the summer.

According to its website, Lake Erie Ink’s mission is “providing creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the Greater Cleveland community”.

Officially established in March 2011 and recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, Lake Erie Ink was founded by English teachers Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen, who had individually been attempting to further the cause of creative writing for youth in the Cleveland Heights community before meeting and combining their efforts.

In these days of standardized tests in schools, teachers often struggle to find time in the day to focus on activities that foster creativity and imagination. But such endeavors can build skills with lasting benefits.

Creative Writing Benefits Kids

Creative writing provides myriad benefits for youth. It has been shown to improve self-expression and self-confidence, to give kids a voice and help them form an identity, to provide an outlet for imagination and creativity, and to improve communication (both written and oral), language, and grammar skills.

All of these benefits have both immediate and life-long ramifications. The skills learned through creative writing will serve a child well in future endeavors. Most careers involve writing and/or communication in some way. Interpersonal relationships, whether in a job or one's personal life, absolutely depend on the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Lake Erie Ink Programs

Lake Erie Ink helps school-aged youth with homework and creative writing projects, giving kids an outlet for their imagination and expression.

The organization's Summer Ink program presents two-week-long camps and weekly virtual sessions occurring throughout the summer, each with a different creative focus. Featuring everything from comics to screenwriting to comedy, there's sure to be a session for any young writer.

Through their Write OUT Loud program, Lake Erie Ink offers an outlet for creative expression to LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. Two summer programs, Inside Out and Pride Outside are available through Write OUT Loud.

Cleveland Heights Council Unanimously Passes Funding Resolution

Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously passed Resolution 075-2021 on June 7th, providing Lake Erie Ink with funding in an agreement lasting from May 2021 through April 2022.

The money comes from the Community Development Block Grant CV funds and will allow Lake Erie Ink to extend programs specifically addressing inequality of access to the arts for youth in the Cleveland Heights community.

The Ink Spots after-school program is available at Noble Elementary and Monticello Middle School. It was described by Lake Erie Ink in their Year 47 application as a program that:

“engages youth in creative expression activities and provides academic support twice a week throughout the school year. Using literary arts as a way to inspire and engage with youth, the Ink Spot (program) offers youth a space and resources to learn new ways to express their ideas and connect with others in a collaborative and positive environment. They will gain communication skills and learn new forms of expression such as poetry, playwriting, comics, and personal narrative. They will gain confidence as they share their work with others.”

The Ink Spot programming will be extended through summer camps, working with an anticipated 60 participants in person. It will also host pop-up workshops in the Cleveland Heights area throughout the summer.

Lake Erie Ink will use the funding to purchase technology and personal protective equipment supplies such as laptops, tablets, hand sanitizer, and clipboards that will allow the organization to run its camps and pop-ups outdoors in a way that is safe for all participants and follows CDC guidelines for teaching staff and children.

Resolution 075-2021, along with its Statement of Work exhibit and associated memos begins on Page 139 of the Council Packet from June 7th. At the time of this writing, the direct link to the resolution was not working properly in the legislation section of the Cleveland Heights website.

Additional Resources for Writers, Parents, and Teachers

Are you a young writer? Find a list of free resources from videos to e-zines to forums for connecting with other writers, here: https://lakeerieink.org/for-young-writers-2/

Are you a teacher or parent interested in supporting a young writer? Here are some resources that can be used in a classroom or at home with your children. https://lakeerieink.org/for-teachers-parents/

Additional Sources

https://www.simplek12.com/reading-writing/4-benefits-to-creative-writing/

http://parents-space.com/5-benefits-of-creative-writing-for-children/

https://www.freshwatercleveland.com/street-level/LakeErieInk10Years120720.aspx

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I live and write in Northeast Ohio, about everything from food to mental health, pets to relationships, music, art, and sports. My articles usually have a personal slant because I believe we as a society and as individuals grow stronger through truth-telling and connection.

Cleveland Heights, OH
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