12 Stories of Homecoming: KC Chaballa

Editor’s Note: This year, Lighthouse will move into our exciting new home. The 12 Stories of Homecoming is a series of stories written about creatives from all walks of Lighthouse that have made us who we are today. We are endlessly grateful for the support from our community and eager to welcome you home so we can open the doors even further, together. 

After growing up in Ohio and a stint in New Jersey, KC Chaballa found her way west, settling in Colorado in the early 2000s. With a deep interest in all things literature, she sought after writing groups and joined a few literary organizations, including Lighthouse, around 2010. 

“I started volunteering for Lighthouse in addition to taking classes,” said Chaballa. “Back then, it was hanging up flyers around town and helping at events. But I knew pretty immediately that the Lighthouse community was special, and I was happy to lend an extra hand.” 

She temporarily lost touch with Lighthouse when she went off to study methods and statistics in grad school. While she enjoyed her studies, she felt something was missing. “Eventually, I found my way back to Lighthouse, and it clicked. I was missing that community. That lack of competitiveness and not having to worry about the politics of higher education.” She laughed, “I’m not very good at taking a break, because I immediately applied for The Book Project.” 

Accepted in 2019 to The Book Project, Chaballa began the two-year program working on a novel that may or may not involve Selkies. She was paired with mentor Eleanor Brown, and when Eleanor took a break from mentoring, with Vauhini Vara. 

“The Book Project was great,” shared Chaballa. “I got to focus on what I wanted to write without worrying about a grade, and I loved the smaller cohorts. It’s much more focused on craft and writing about what’s interesting and important to you.” 

She shared a sentiment well-known in the writerly world that writing can feel like a very lonely sport. “The Book Project introduces you to people who have the same insecurities and challenges, regardless of whether you’ve been published. I also love the Book Project weekends when you hear about what your friends are working on.” 

Chaballa is also one of our most dedicated volunteers and regularly helps out at events. “I know Lighthouse is a small organization, and in the nonprofit world, you rely on your volunteers! Even more than that, I really appreciate the community Lighthouse has created. It’s not just a place I give money to take classes. It’s a community, and I’m invested in growing that too.” 

Chaballa also generously donated to The Book Project Plaza, a shared outdoor space at the new building. To date, over fifty Book Project alumni and supporters have contributed to plaza. Chaballa shared. “When you’re invested in a place, you give back. Simple as that.” 

“The old house on Race Street was cozy, but we were renters,” said Chaballa. “This new building is a permanent space; there’s more room to intentionally grow. I know there will be some growing pains when we move in, but I’m excited to help Lighthouse make it feel like home however I can.”