One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell, who has written powerfully about success. He makes the point that success is not a one-person project; that not even geniuses make it alone. Here at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology we couldn’t agree more. We are all supported in our journeys by family, mentors, friends and colleagues. During this time of year when we focus on our families, I am inviting you to be a part of the WMCAT family. To be a part of someone’s success. Let me introduce you to a few WMCAT families:
Rochella and Cam’ryn
Rochella came to WMCAT as a mother of four kids who was tired of struggling for years in low-paying factory and temp jobs. She continued working a second shift job while attending WMCAT’s Adult Career Training Program in Medical Billing four days a week. “It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, raising kids and working. But walking in the door at WMCAT there were people who would greet you every morning; people that said ‘you got this.’”
While at WMCAT Rochella created a new family – her classmates who began meeting together on Wednesdays after class and Friday mornings to study together and support each other. “We are from all different walks of life, but when we come here we’re all the same – trying to reach a goal,” said Rochella, who is a patient services representative at Spectrum Health today.
Then her “other” family connected with WMCAT too. Her son Cam’ryn, a high school junior, is learning how to be a filmmaker in the same caring place where Rochella got her new start. With an eye on a career in marketing and advertising, Cam’ryn is learning about video production while building his own community.
Your gift today ensures WMCAT can provide tuition-free opportunity pathways.
CIERRA and MARIAH
They finish each other’s sentences. And together, with their WMCAT friends, they are making each other’s artistic dreams realities. Cierra and Mariah are sisters who participate in WMCAT’s nationally-recognized Teen Arts + Tech Program. Cierra, the older sister, is a stunning vocalist who has been recording her own music in our Audio Production studio. A finalist in WOTV’s American Idol local competition, Cierra also provided the voice-over narration for “Tomorrow”, a short film by Mariah that won this year’s Mosaic Film competition. Mariah, an award-winning photographer, is currently filming Cierra’s first music video. They are using creativity and community to support each other’s success journeys.
You are fostering those places where creativity can flourish with your support of WMCAT.
EARLYSHA AND LEANNE
Earlysha was in a dark place. She was a young mother with almost three years of college under her belt, but the money ran out. She was working until a debilitating car accident sidelined her. She didn’t know where to go or what to do next.
One thing she did know was there was a place where she excelled as an artist in high school, where she could always find support, where she was able to leave the stress of her day behind. That place was WMCAT.
During her years here as a teen artist, Earlysha built a meaningful friendship with Leanne Rhoads, one of WMCAT’s program directors. “She was always someone who genuinely cared. She’s been there for me ever since.” Earlysha reached out to Leanne. She came back to WMCAT – that safe and caring place where she thrived. Leanne encouraged her to apply for WMCAT’s Adult Career Training Program; there was a spot open in the medical coding class for 2017-18 – and Earlysha was accepted.
“I want to do something for me and my son. I want him to see us in a position where we are stable. To be able to provide for him and teach him along the way.”
Today she is studying for a new career in medical coding. There are new friends, classmates with whom to study, and a new focus on the future. Her WMCAT family is still there for her.
“It was a start. That’s all I needed was a start.”
Together let’s give more adults and teens that “start” at WMCAT. You can be part of someone’s success project. You can ensure parents like Rochella and Earlysha don’t have to go it alone. You can provide that creative space for teens like Cam’ryn, Mariah, and Cierra to elevate their voices and build community.
This holiday season, join our family. Your meaningful gift today is a neighbor’s success tomorrow.