What We Do

Our Programs

RAWK Readers’ Room (RRR)

In partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools, RRR offers support for classroom teachers by providing a RAWK staff member overseeing a trained team of volunteers giving students supplemental one-on-one and small group time during the school day. In addition, RRR allows teachers to split larger classes into multiple teams in order to alleviate some of the stresses caused by large class sizes. The RRR team supports in-class curriculum, provides reading opportunities, and creative writing projects, while students are also able to enjoy more of their classroom teacher’s individualized attention. This small group, project-based learning encourages voice, improves basic skills, and creates opportunities for the development of meaningful intergenerational relationships. There is currently a RRR in Lincoln School for International Studies and Northeastern Elementary.

RAWK After School Program (ASP)

This program supports students in their homework, reading, and creative writing through our trauma/poverty informed  and social-emotional learning approaches which help students create positive relationships with supportive adults, their peers, and learn empathy.  Trained volunteers serve as tutors and positive mentors with students one-on-one or in small groups on homework and creative projects. After School Program is in partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools with El Sol Elementary students onsite at RAWK’s Literacy Center.

Youth Advisory Council (YAC)

At RAWK, Youth Voice reigns supreme, so it only makes sense that youth need a seat (actually, several seats) at the table. The RAWK Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a group of young people dedicated to guiding and advancing the RAWK mission by working directly with our Executive Director, Dr. Kandace Lavender, on research and development projects, event planning, and more.

The RAWK YAC is open to middle school and high school aged youth.

Check the calendar for upcoming YAC meetings and events.

Interested in checking out a meeting or joining the team but you need more info first? email Kandace at kandace@readandwritekzoo.org


Read And Write Nights

Youth in grades K–5 are invited to join RAWK volunteers in reading out loud and then writing together to express their response to the story. Read and Write Nights take place one night a month throughout the school year and each month we share a pre-selected picture book title and deliver a copy to each participating family.
Hear a perspective that is new to you, spend time with a story, and find power in the written word. All Read and Write Nights take place via Google Meet. Check the calendar for upcoming dates.

Books For Keeps

Working in conjunction with the rest of RAWK’s programs, Books For Keeps is a special effort to support all RAWK families in building home libraries. Youth participating in programs have opportunities to choose titles they are interested in from a selection of brand new books curated to offer a wide range of culturally responsive and responsible titles.

Email Victoria at victoria@readandwritekzoo.org to learn how you can support Books For Keeps!

Books For Keeps Distributed this fiscal year
Thematic Workshop Image - Read and Write Kalamazoo

Thematic Workshops

Thematic Workshops are monthly 2-3 hour long weekend sessions on various exciting themes throughout the year for PreK through High School students. We often partner up with other organizations, makers, teachers, crafters, etc. to offer even more workshop opportunities. We’ve been on hikes at the Nature Center and trips to NOVA VR to explore worlds through technology. Workshops always explore both reading and writing to connect to the full scope of literacy. These programs are held onsite at RAWK’s Literacy Center so that all youth of Kalamazoo County can come together to share stories, meet new friends, and help support each other in using their words. See Current Offerings.

Summer Camps

Spend a week imagining, creating, writing, and revising your own words! Students will focus on various genres of writing as they are led by RAWK’s director of education and mentored by high school-aged students who have honed their mentor skills in the Youth Leadership Camp. Student work will be published at the end of the summer!   

Youth Group in RAWK Center - Read and Write Kalamazoo
WRKR 107.7 RAWK - Read and Write Kalamazoo

Partner Programs

We are just one of many organizations in Kalamazoo bringing our dynamic community around youth to lift their voices up and out. Collaboration is essential to building relationships and fostering channels of communication, so we seek to partner with other groups and programs in order to connect with more volunteers and serve more students and families.

Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

Read and Write Kalamazoo celebrates diversity and is an invested advocate of inclusion in our community. We are proud that the students we serve, our staff and volunteers, and our Board of Directors reflect the diverse community we are a part of here in Kalamazoo.

We define diversity, wholly beautiful and complex, as: “the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socio-economic status; work and behavioral styles; the perspectives of each individual shaped by their nation, experiences and culture—and more.”

Words connect us — reading others’, writing our own, sharing words between each other. Using our words and making our voices heard are essential to build empathy, celebrate diversity, and foster an inclusive environment for all people. In our effort to affect student outcomes, we work to fully engage all youth and volunteers, providing opportunities for students to see themselves and their worlds in literature, as well as their own writing.

We demonstrate anti-racism and promote inclusion via: the programs RAWK develops and offers for the youth we serve that reflect these foundational beliefs; providing cultural awareness training, learning experiences and opportunities for our staff, board, and volunteers, and partnering with organizations and businesses that align with these foundational principles.

— Read and Write Kalamazoo

Adopted by Board of Directors September 25, 2017