Lake Erie Ink seeks volunteers and board members

For more than a decade, Chris Garson has been a steadfast presence at Lake Erie Ink (LEI), driven by a passion for writing and a profound desire to foster literacy among young minds. His journey began with a chance encounter at a coffee shop, where he overheard a conversation about LEI’s mission to support youth in finding their voice through creative expression.

Initially drawn by his love for writing and the organization’s commitment to empowering youngsters through literacy, Garson’s role evolved over the years. He transitioned from volunteering in-person at Ink Spot to adapting to virtual spaces during the pandemic. Through Zoom classes and full-day events, he witnessed the incredible imagination and creativity of the 11- to 13-year-olds he mentored.

Garson shared the story of a shy, reserved young girl who, over three years, blossomed into a confident individual unafraid to share her work. Her journey symbolizes the essence of LEI’s impact, emphasizing the development of confidence, self-esteem, and the power of self-expression.

Central to LEI’s programs is the belief that writing is a tool to enhance children’s confidence, self-esteem, and ability to articulate their thoughts. Volunteers like Garson play a pivotal role by lending a listening ear, acknowledging the value of the children’s words, and offering positive reinforcement, thereby fostering an environment where young voices feel heard and valued.

Garson also highlighted innovative initiatives, such as a music program that empowered children to compose songs with community-oriented messages. Such projects not only showcase the kids’ musical talents but also instill in them a sense of community responsibility, and promoting positive messages through their art.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of Garson’s volunteer work lies in witnessing the growth of young minds. The story of a struggling young writer who found inspiration and direction during their one-on-one session is a testament to the immense impact a simple conversation can have on a child’s creative journey.

Beyond the direct impact on the youth, Garson emphasized the profound personal growth he’s experienced through his volunteer work. Seeing the world through the eyes of children has broadened his perspective, kept his mind open to new ideas, and reinforced the belief that every individual, regardless of age or background, has something valuable to offer.

LEI’s volunteer journey, as evidenced by Garson’s dedication, stands as a testament to the transformative power of nurturing young voices, fostering creativity, and instilling confidence. The organization continues to be a beacon of empowerment, shaping not only the lives of the youth but also leaving an indelible mark on those who dedicate their time and energy to its noble cause.

Lake Erie Ink is looking for volunteers, board members, and interns. For more information on how to join LEI, and bring your unique talents to an organization that seeks to empower the next generation, profoundly impacting the lives of youth and the communities it serves, visit

Janae Bryson

Janae Bryson is the marketing coordinator at Lake Erie Ink.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 11:25 AM, 12.28.2023