Cierra was a child from a low-income, single-parent family. Her days were filled with responsibility. Her childhood had been placed on hold. Severe health issues made it difficult for her mother to earn a steady income or even drive Cierra to activities.
Cierra discovered Art with a Heart. She found a welcoming community and a hidden gift for the arts. Our staff and volunteers worked with Cierra to teach her the importance of academics, drawing, painting and sculpting techniques, but most importantly – encouraged her to believe in herself.
Cierra’s self-worth began to grow. She entered one of her favorite pieces into an art competition. She won and it changed her life. In a moment, Cierra finally began to accept what her Art with a Heart supporters were telling her – her art was interesting to other people.
After five years with the program, she moved on to high school and subsequently enrolled in college. Cierra stayed the course, even through pregnancy in her senior year, and went on to graduate from Purdue University. Here is the note she sent to us just prior to graduation:
We don’t expect to do this for everyone, but we’re absolutely thrilled to have shown that we can do it and break the cycle of poverty.