Youth Program Spotlight: Center for Imagination

Operated by Beech Creek Ministries, The Center for Imagination provides a free youth program and other services to families in North Nashville. In addition to providing an encouraging environment for students to build relationships and get homework help, the CFI youth program works with a variety of partners to give kids opportunities to learn creative writing, dance, nutrition, guitar, auto maintenance, and much more. The Porch has been partnering with CFI since 2017 to provide poetry and fiction workshops for their middle school students.

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J. Joseph Kane, the Porch’s Writer-in-Residence at CFI says:

“I love the positive energy at the Center for Imagination. Every time I walk through the door, I’m greeted by smiling faces. I also love the way that the students challenge me as a writer and a teacher. Some students have been writing with us for over two years, and they keep surprising me. They are always excited to try something new and trying to provide them with a new creative challenge every week has helped me learn a lot as well. It has been a pleasure to watch them grow as writers and as people. I’m excited for next year!”

Check out these recent pieces by the 6 & 7th graders at Center for Imagination:

Suspicious Moon
by Jada Long

I think it’s a cat’s milk bowl being licked,
a silver button lost from a black sweater,
a face watching my every move at night,
and a piece of cheese, like Swiss, delicious.
It’s a pearl rolling down a hill,
a bright light in the sky that kids fall asleep under
and say, “Good night, suspicious moon.”

by McKayla Owens

 There was this beautiful lion named Lionena. Lionena had more power than any other animal in the jungle, but the truth is that she has to be rude or she will be punished for the rest of her life. “I don’t like being rude,” said Lionena, “but I have to.” Lionena used to be a sweet, shy young lady who everybody loved. But people are scared of her now, because of Titi. Titi was an evil lion who never liked the way Lionena was nice, so she “helped” Lionena be the queen of the jungle. One day, Lionena wanted to help someone, and Titi didn’t like the sound of that, so she punished her, but Lionena was not going down without a fight. “I’m tired of you Titi. I’m done!” said Lionena. “Oh really?” said Titi. “Last time I checked, I made you queen of the jungle.” Titi punched and kicked Lionena, and that made Lionena mad. So Lionena bit Titi, and Titi had to leave the jungle forever. Lionena is now old and she is the most powerful and sweetest lion, and sometimes rude.

Dancing Machine
by Jaiden Justice

 It is a system
cool as a fool
It’s a moving
robot, shining
like a moon
dancing, dancing,
dancing. It’s a dancing

The Secret of El Drago
by Charles Long

 Once, there was a red wolf named El Drago. He was an endangered species. He was like the pack, but different, faster, smarter, stronger. But the leader wouldn’t let him lead even though he was faster, smarter, and stronger. One day, there was an ape attack on the pack and their home, so it was time for Drago to step up and prove to the pack the he was cool, but he got badly hurt, so did the ape. Finally, El Drago was the pack leader of the red wolves.

The Goon Moon
by Jaiden Justice

The moon is
a crescent
tonight. It is
red like a ruby,
shining like
a diamond when
I look at it.
It steals my soul.
I run in the
house to take
a picture, but when
I get back
the moon’s gone.