Special Topics

West Central Express: A Newspaper by Holmes Elementary Kids for the West Central Community

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Do you know what the real rules of four square are? Did you know there's a whole list of variations of the official game — and an entirely different set of variations (on the playground, called "variants") played at Holmes Elementary? This December, you can read all about it in the second issue of West Central Express. 

Each Thursday afternoon, a creative and enthusiastic group of Holmes student journalists explore questions that matter to them, their school and the West Central community in our six-week after-school newspaper club. Thanks to print sponsorship from the Inlander, grants from Spokane Arts, Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, and KREM 2/TEGNA, as well as support from a special group of individual donorsyou'll be able to pick up a print copy of their paper, West Central Express, at locations throughout West Central starting in mid-December. 

Our editor-in-chief, Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review, kicked off the program by leading the students in a brainstorm of what issues they're curious about researching for their stories. Here are just a few: Should kids be allowed to vote? What's going on with all the stray cats in the neighborhood? Does anyone know what the principal likes to do when she's not at school? What are some strategies for kids to improve their grades? What should the next school spirit day theme be? 

To guide them in their process, the kids get a visit from a different Inlander journalist each week — and tips on how to approach different kinds of stories. Last week, journalist Chey Scott visited and helped the students formulate questions for writing about games. They got to put those questions to work just a few minutes later when each group received a robotics or building toy to review.

Each student journalist will leave the West Central Express Newspaper Club with a host of new skills — conducting an interview, writing a story, photojournalism and editing their own work. Even more importantly, they'll leave with greater confidence that their voice matters and they can make a difference in their community using their creative power. 

We exist to remove barriers creative opportunities like West Central Express for people of all ages. To support us, please donate to our Giving Tuesday campaign! 

"West of You" Review

"West of You" Review

West of You was published in 2015 in the midst of Murphy's many moves between cities in the Northwest and stints in Nevada. After years of submitting stories to contests and literary magazines only to be disillusioned, Murphy began to self-publish in print and online. She has been impressed by the quality of voice talent and production her work has received on Audible, where short stories are something of a rarity. She reflects that even if she is giving away stories by making them freely available online, something which initially made her skittish at the thought of her ideas being stolen, she now looks at it differently: “At least somebody would be reading them.”

Filling Those Long Summer Days with Play

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Summer is in full swing and we're busy at Spark with a joyful influx of kids who are trying to fill those long summer days with as much happiness as they can. Not only do we have a smattering of awesome scheduled programs, we have drop-in hours and drop-in programs for those of you who like to take summer as a chance to fly by the seat of your pants.

Many parents are worried about the dreaded summertime learning lapse. But before you go filling up all those hours, maybe this summer you can embrace the importance of time to play. When kids engage in both structured and unstructured play, they are also working on emotional tolerance, social skills, and team buildingskills that are vital to success in an ever-connected world. Our drop-in center and structured programs are all centered around play.

Play if different for everyone. For some people, playing is about reading, imagining strange and exciting worlds. For some it's building forts and for others it's building a robot. You can do all those things at Spark—just take a look at of our patrons below. They're learning, connecting with each other, and having a great time. Sounds like a nice way to spend summer! You'll notice that there are kids and adults in the photos below. That's because we have opportunities for people of all ages to play! We believe everyone deserves to be part of the Creativity Club.

Our hours have be changing a little bit, so you can sleep in and stay out later; we'll open at 11 and stay open until 7.

We also want to take this chance to thank Kalispel Tribe and Northern Quest Casino for supporting youth programs, like Fort Party, which is featured in the middle top row of photos. It is in part due to their support that we are able to offer youth programming at no cost and we are ever grateful!