Update from Daniel Williams during COVID-19 Crisis


This past week I have been so grateful for the financial gifts from new and long-time donors, the kind words of support from community friends, and the innovative spirit of our WMCAT staff.

The urgency of need is increasing, and we still need your support to weather this storm and ensure we are prepared to serve economically-vulnerable families. But there are also bright spots in the darkness. For me, it is the compassion of the WMCAT staff.

I promised I would share stories of resilience and creativity with you over the coming weeks. Today I want to recognize three of my colleagues and the ways they are continuing to support their students and build community. You are making this work possible when you support WMCAT. Thank you.

Teen Arts + Tech Program Teaching Artist John Cox has embraced virtual check-ins, but he knows there are some things you can’t do through a computer. So he prepared and sent all of his Fashion Design students packets to practice different ways of sewing buttons, and even created a video lesson to accompany the learning kits.

John Cox, fashion design teaching artist at WMCAT mailed sewing kits to his students so they could keep learning

“Nothing is an equivalent substitute for the face-to-face mentorship and interaction that is integral to our program, but we are trying,” said Director of Arts + Tech Trudy Ngo-Brown.

Adult Career Training Program Instructor Becky DeRoos is still teaching her medical coding class. Becky’s daily online lectures and virtual office hours are keeping students on track to pass national certification exams and move into living-wage careers as medical coding professionals. This is possible because WMCAT was able to provide each student with a laptop and course materials for home learning. Becky has even printed and mailed copies of worksheets to those who don’t have printers at home. 

Attendance for the lectures has been amazing and I think that is because of how supportive they are of each other,” Becky said. “I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.”

Finally, Program Manager Brandy Arnold held a virtual class on emotional intelligence for our Step Year students. Step Year helps young adults explore their personal leadership and pathways for career and educational opportunities.

This class was in addition to the weekly one-on-one sessions she is hosting with each Step Year student, and the bi-weekly videos and resource guides she is sharing.

Step Year students continue the program in a virtual setting with WMCAT program manager, Brandy Arnold (top middle)

Please continue sharing your friendship and support with WMCAT. You can make a gift today to ensure we are there for economically-vulnerable families.

Your gift will also make sure that we are prepared for the challenges of the near future. You are truly sustaining our mission to provide equitable access to opportunity.

With gratitude,

Daniel Williams
President + CEO
West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology