Summer Learning Programs

Helping young writers tell their stories


The IWC’s summer learning programs help kids develop a lifelong love of writing. Funded by the Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF), summer programs are free to participants and held in various locations throughout Indianapolis.

Help a child find their voice. Donate to the IWC today.

Summer Programs: A Message from Barb Shoup

One of my favorite things in the whole world is to stand in the middle of a classroom surrounded by children with their heads bent, writing furiously, no sound but the scratch of the pencils on the page. Another one of m my favorite things is to listen to them read their stories aloud. I love how proud—and often a little surprised—they are at having written so well.

No wonder I look forward to the Writers’ Center’s “Building a Rainbow” program every summer.  Funded by the Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF), this program serves a diverse group of young people in Indianapolis, improving their writing and literacy skills through a series of creative writing exercises that teach them how to write the stories of their own lives. The program is named after a colorful, whimsical poster of a half-made rainbow that is covered with tiny stick figures painting, hammering, and operating cranes and trucks as they work to finish it. The image is a visual reminder that there are many small steps in creating something beautiful—a piece of writing a dream, a goal, a life.

Working one-on-one, IWC instructors, student volunteers, and college interns help the young writers get their words on the page and also encourage them to reflect upon the experiences they’ve written about, considering how what they’ve learned can make their dreams come true.

A third—maybe the best of all—favorite thing is to be able to put a book in the hands of a young writer and watch his face light up as he opens it to find his own work inside.

I Remember: Creative Writing by Indianapolis Youth is a collection of the stories and poems by the children attending our program at the St. Florian Youth Development Camp, the Concord Neighborhood Center, and LaPlaza’s Leadership Institute for Latino Youth. Reading them will take you from a chair in a beauty shop to a beach in Mexico; from Grandma’s kitchen to the Taj Mahal. You’ll plunge downward in a rollercoaster, paddle a canoe up a creek, and join in a Puerto Rico folk dance. Above all, you’ll hear these students’ voices—glorious young voices, full of hope for the future.

Follow what’s going on in this Summer by reading the Building a Rainbow Blog- Kids Write about Their Lives.


Saint Florian Center Youth Development Camp

Horizons at St. Richards

Westminster Neighborhood Services


Past Programs

Concord Neighborhood Center

La Plaza Leadership Institute for Latino Youth

Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center

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