Every so often WMCAT has the unique experience of learning from and supporting members of the same family in the same year. Arieal has been a creative force in our Teen Arts + Tech Program for four years. Last fall her mom Asia enrolled in our Adult Career Training Program. Supporting their family’s journey has been truly rewarding as we’ve witnessed the power of community building and the joy in grabbing new opportunities. Thanks to our WMCAT community of friends and donors, we can make sure Arieal’s and Asia’s journeys continue. And in the coming months we can help launch new pathways to creative confidence and economic security.


Journey to Creative Confidence

Arieal in the Advanced Video Production studio at WMCAT.

Arieal joined our Teen Arts + Tech Program as a freshman and soon joined the Video Production studio. “I’m getting the opportunity to work on the cameras and work on writing a story for a client.”

Now: Arieal is wrapping her senior year by deciding her next step is Penn State; and launching a WMCAT student-produced sketch comedy show, Pancakes in the Afternoon, with her peers.

Near: Despite facing a new state and a new school during unprecedented times, Arieal will be taking her curiosity and creativity to college in the fall. WMCAT Teaching Artist Mike Saunders knows she is ready. “Arieal is a deeply curious person who wants to understand the world around her and to share what she learns with others.”

Far: Using the skills and creative confidence she’s built at WMCAT, Arieal might just make her mark behind the camera — or maybe in front?!


Journey to Economic Security

Asia (center) working in a clinic simulation where students practice what they are learning.

Asia joined the Adult Career Training Program in September 2019 with her sights set on a career in medical billing.

Now: It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to start a new job in the midst of a pandemic – but Asia could tell you. She was recently hired by Spectrum Health and is stepping up to begin her first career position as a biller in “a makeshift office in my basement,” as she says. And WMCAT support is not far away, as Asia is being trained online by Rashika, a WMCAT graduate and senior billing professional.

Near: As her daughter Arieal is headed to Penn State in the fall, Asia is so thankful that she can financially support her education because of her new career.

Far: According to Asia, the sky’s the limit. She is focused on building her work experience and growing income security for her family. “I also want to make all my WMCAT family proud of me.

The journeys are not ending for WMCAT students. We will support their pathways to economic prosperity and creative fulfillment in the now, near and far – with your help. As this pandemic has affected our entire community, we understand your financial situation may have changed. Support might look different in regards to time, social capital and dollars, even as the needs have grown. If you are able to make a gift to WMCAT to support families in the now, near and far, or continue your support, please know we are incredibly grateful.

Thank you for joining WMCAT on our journey toward equitable access to opportunity.