Spark Central has started a new program called West Central Publishing Union, which includes two parallel literary tracks— a program for elementary-aged children (which SAGA funding will support) and a program for adults. The West Central Publishing Union program involves students being bussed during the school day to Spark Central, where they participate in creative writing workshops that result in the students taking home a personalized, bound, published book to show their family and friends. For the youth-focused track, Spark Central has developed active partnerships with neighborhood elementary schools, whose students will learn writing skills and the power of creativity; as well as local universities, whose students majoring in education will help engage and mentor the participating students.
WITH SAGA SUPPORT:
SAGA funding gave Spark a portion of the funds they needed to implement the West Central Publishing Union program. Executive Director, Brooke Matson says, “Right now, our shoestring staff of 2.5 full time employees is already stretched beyond capacity. This grant will support the time and materials necessary to plan and host field trips and workshops, invest in relationship-building with schools, manage registration, teach, coordinate public readings, and design/print books.” SAGA will also allow Spark to work with outside partners such as Gray Dog Press to print the books published through their teen/adult workshops, creating a more durable product worthy of Auntie’s Bookstore. The revenue from increased book sales will be reinvested into the West Central Publishing Union, making it a sustainable program.