Heartbeat Creative Expression Program
A partnership between the Underwood Stryker Institute, Kalamazoo Public Schools, and the greater Kalamazoo community, Heartbeat is an after-school program at K Central High School that focuses on creative expression.
Each Thursday afternoon, a group of about six “K” College mentors work with twelve to sixteen K-Central students at Heartbeat sessions. During these sessions, students are exposed to poetry and given the opportunity to write and share their work with the group. “K” College mentors work with students individually to help edit poems and improve their writing. It is during this one-on-one interaction between mentors and students that relationships are established and life experiences shared. Heartbeat also provides K Central students with a forum for the discussion of issues that affect young adults and the community.
Heartbeat culminates in an annual reading held at Kalamazoo College. K Central students spend the day with mentors on the college’s campus. During this visit, students tour the campus, are invited to eat in the cafeteria with the mentors, and perform poetry they have been working on throughout the year. The visit to K College is an opportunity to inspire K Central students to strive towards higher education after they graduate. With the Kalamazoo Promise making college affordable for many students, partnership between K College and K Central High School provides a positive, guiding influence to participating students.
Each quarter, all students must attend a mandatory orientation/training session, complete appropriate paperwork, and attend mandatory reflection sessions throughout the term.
Currently in its sixth year, Heartbeat began as the Senior Individualized Project of “K” College alum, Mario Anton. With the help of our community contact and esteemed educator, Patricia Carlin, Mario worked to instill a passion for creative expression through poetry in high school students. Over time, Heartbeat has evolved into an opportunity for a diverse group of students at K Central High School to take part in an after-school program that is designed to help them share experiences and make connections with students at Kalamazoo College and poets in the community.
Location: Kalamazoo Central High School, 2432 N. Drake Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Program Times: Thursday, 2:30-4pm
Position: Tutor/Mentor (volunteer or federal work study positions available)