Read and Write Kalamazoo exists to celebrate and amplify youth voices through the cultivation of reading and writing skills via joy, creativity, equity, and access.
Founded in 2012, Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) is a nonprofit organization based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, devoted to nurturing intellectual and creative confidence in youth in Kalamazoo County through creative writing workshops, summer camps, in-school programs, after school tutoring, and community partnerships.
We bring a supportive community around young people to give them safe and positive spaces to learn and grow. Because language is living, fluid, and cultural, traditional assessments of achievement often do not accurately reflect true knowledge. We aim to celebrate and amplify authentic voice in the specific context of each student’s cultural identity, while remaining mindful of the practical and social capital resulting from the use of academic language. We approach all work with youth through a trauma-informed lens and commit to being anti-racist in all we do. We want to eliminate barriers to educational resources so all youth can use their words and tell their own story.
Story is life force. Our stories must be told and witnessed. Every one of us needs the time and the space and the support to access our voice. A community can only be as healthy and as just as the spectrum of stories it hears. The challenge of inequity is not solved by one promise, but by a collective commitment to witness one another every day, leaving no voice unheard. This is RAWK’s ongoing commitment.
Every youth voice is worthy as it is. Authentic communication of story is vital to identity. RAWK programs are here for youth to craft their story the way they want to tell it and then share it with whoever their audience is. Check out the Our Words section of this website to see youth word in action at RAWK and beyond…