Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 32

n Success story e l b i l e d n i ssions e r p m i 916 INK HOSTS CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES FOR CHILDREN AT THEIR “IMAGINARIUM” IN SACRAMENTO p h oto : co u rt e sy o f m i k e lo n g 32 CAPITAL REGION CARES 2017 | BY Danna Sweidan PHOTO: Ken James K atie McCleary and 916 Ink co- founder Michael Spurgeon knew they wanted to start a creative nonprofit for children when they met at a writer’s conference in 2010. They believed Sacramento could support such a program because there was already a strong writing community here, nurtured by programs like the Sacramento Poetry Center, but there was a glaring, missing piece in Sacramento’s creative writing community — a youth program. Today, the nonprofit provides youth writing programs and field trips to their “Imaginarium” on 37th Avenue in Sacramento. Beside host- ing classes at the Imaginarium, 916 Ink hosts creative writing classes in schools, community centers and youth detention centers throughout the Capital Region, teaching students how to read, write and tell stories. The classes provide opportuni- ties for expression and learning that might not otherwise be available, and the students are taught to treat all work as fiction, which provides some of the anonymity needed to share personal stories. McCleary says an important factor of their program is that every student has their work published in a book. These are dis- tributed to the participants and sold locally. “I know the power of seeing your own name in print. It’s magical, it solidifies something in you, that you’ve arrived, that you matter.” Students and siblings Zachariah and Dominique Mejia found creative direction in the program after taking