Do you consider yourself confident? How has confidence influenced your life?
At the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, we know confidence doesn’t just happen — it’s developed. It’s not just a nice-to-have trait; confidence influences the opportunities we pursue, the relationships we build, and our willingness to try, fail, and try again.
Confidence is a defining factor in our lives. So, alongside the technical skills and tools that students gain at WMCAT, we intentionally create opportunities to build confidence. When you place your confidence in WMCAT with a gift of support, you’re investing in the confidence of our students.
While applying, Stacia questioned if she had what it would take to be successful in the program. “I second-guessed myself the whole way through the process. I was like, ‘There’s absolutely no way that I’m going to be able to do this.’”
She hadn’t worked in an office environment in nearly a decade, was worried about balancing parenthood with her education, and didn’t think her work experience in factory and warehouse settings would be applicable to a new career. But through the mentorship of instructors and the support of classmates at WMCAT, Stacia says, “I was able to build that confidence and know that I was capable . . . the jobs that I had leading up to this point had given me skills that can be adaptable to this new environment.”
“I didn’t have that belief in myself walking into the program at all. Not even in the least bit. I didn’t see the confidence in me, but everybody else did. And that meant the world to me . . . We leaned on each other and gave each other the encouragement and support that we needed.”
Since graduating in June, Stacia has begun her career as a GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) analyst and moved into a new home with her husband and children. “This new job has been more than a blessing already and it’s elevating my life in the best ways . . . now my husband and I can continue to grow not only for ourselves but for our kids and to give them the best lives that they deserve.”
Keontay Seymour is a self-described “positive, try-to-look-on-the-bright-side type of person” who found himself overwhelmed, stuck, and unsure of his future pathway before beginning Step Year at WMCAT. Through the college and career exploration program for young adults, Keontay went from feeling anxious about his next steps to realizing all the opportunities available to him.
“Step Year showed me so many things that I did not think of as a career path for somebody like me . . . it opened my eyes.” Keontay translated his longstanding interest in technology to a vision for a career in video game design, and the resources provided in Step Year — self-discovery, industry visits, connections to professionals, and a community of support — helped him build the confidence to create a plan.
Now, the 25-year-old is pursuing a career-aligned education with a game design course through a digital art academy, followed by advanced training. “I got support coming from all ways if I need anything,” Keontay says of connections made through Step Year. “It’s made me feel a lot better that I have a little support group; I got more confidence that I can do it.”
Rogelio Lopez is a shy high school junior who has found a “really safe and positive” space in the Teen Arts + Tech Program’s ceramics studio. He was nervous when he first started the afterschool program, unsure of how his artwork would measure up to that of his fellow students. But instead of comparison, he found community and confidence.
“People have your back when you need help or advice,” Rogelio says of his studio peers and WMCAT teaching artist. That support is key while learning new creative skills. “I learned the skills and got better. And then I became better and better, and that really helped me with my confidence.”
Putting his finished pieces on display in the Teen Arts + Tech Program exhibition last semester was a highlight for Rogelio. “It was really cool and amazing. Because I could show and express myself and my artwork to other people in the studio, in the program, the community. I’m really proud of myself for doing that.” Now, Rogelio is excited for the next exhibition at WMCAT, he says, “so I can show my family how far I’ve come.”
Invest in the Confidence of WMCAT Students
When you place your confidence in WMCAT’s work with your support, you’re investing in the confidence of students like Stacia, Keontay, and Rogelio. Whether you make a one-time or monthly donation, your gift today helps provide tuition-free programs, tools, and a community of support for students as they pursue career, college, and creativity. Make your donation at wmcat.org/donate.