Did I ever tell you about the kid who invented the candy bar that was chicken on the outside and dessert on the inside? How about the kid who played soccer in space against alien monsters?

You should have been there. The rooms filled with third-graders on frigid Saturday mornings—the coldest winters anyone could remember. Kids who started one Saturday morning in January hating writing. Who left another Saturday morning in March loving writing.

I’ve seen it now for two winters in a row: the Writing Camp developed by Second Story board member Jamey Peavler and her husband Josh has helped hundreds of kids learn to express themselves as they’ve never imagined possible. Last year, I had a third grader tell me proudly that I’d helped him write the first paragraph he’d ever written. This year, I saw at least four kids who wouldn’t so much as look up on the first Saturday become active, engaged writers two weeks later.

Second Story board member and Mythic Indy editor Corey Michael Dalton in action at Writing Camp.

Second Story board member and Mythic Indy editor Corey Michael Dalton in action at Writing Camp.

All schools pay attention to reading, but kids also need help and encouragement to be writers. They think writing is hard work. No one’s ever helped them see that writing can also be a lot of fun. That’s the work Second Story volunteers have been doing in Indianapolis classrooms, camps, and events since 2008.

Most of Second Story’s work is provided free of charge to the schools and the kids we serve. We’d like to keep it that way.

That’s why we’re asking for your help.

A couple of years ago, Punchnel’s published a series of short stories called Mythic Indy. The idea was to set weird fiction—fantasy, science fiction, horror, magic realism, etc.—in Indianapolis locations. The collection was masterfully curated by Corey Michael Dalton, Second Story board member and former assistant editor of The Saturday Evening Post.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.04.02 PMNow we’re going to publish those stories as a printed anthology—and we’re raising funds to get our project off the ground.

Want to help? Go to our Indiegogo campaign page. Support us by pre-buying a book. Or choose one of our other levels of support and help us even more.

Help Second Story inspire more kids to think crazy thoughts. Because opening their minds through creative writing can help kids be more engaged in reading, science, and everything else they study in school.

And that soccer game against the aliens isn’t going to win itself.