The Midwest Writing Center was incorporated in Iowa in 1980 with a mission to foster appreciation of the written word and to support and educate its creators. With the generous support of our community each year programming and numbers served have increased. In 2012, there were nearly 3,000 instances of service.
The purpose of this endowment fund is to support our youth programming now and in the future. Currently, we have three highly successful programs for young writers and readers. The annual David R. Collins' Literature Festival serves 700 third through fifth grade students. These students and their teachers spend a day with published authors and illustrators learning about writing, publishing, and the creative process. A one week Young Writers middle school writing camp provides 25 hours of instruction, writing, and sharing for students who have finished sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. The Young Emerging Writers Summer Internship Program is for 15 to 19 year old students, who submit an application with references, writing samples and participate in a phone interview. It is a competitive and compensated internship program, providing 40 hours of instruction, writing, editing, critiquing, and producing a literary magazine of original work called The Atlas. The interns receive a small stipend, a membership in the Midwest Writing Center, three copies of The Atlas, and full tuition to the Midwest Writing Center’s annual David R. Collins Writers' Conference, held at St. Ambrose University.
Each year, over 700 young people in our community are exposed to professional writers and writing instructors through these three programs. Each student will have between 5 and 45 contact hours to write, to read, to learn about language and the creative process, to perform, and, in the case of the high school internship program, to publish.