by W2WM Senior Program Assistant Andrea Baker
“When I began the CORE Program, I had just arrived in Frederick, and was starting from zero. No job, no friends, no family around me (only my new husband). People don’t really know how much anxiety and stress that actually entails, all the sudden changes, dealing with new expectations, and the fear of losing a career. Some of my now best friends were other mentees at the W2W workshops. I have had a full-time job for over three years now, started my art career, and am very engaged in the community.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, I am a visual artist, writer, and chemical engineer. I work in cement manufacturing, right at the interface of business and process support. At night and during the weekends, I paint and run my art business. Sky Stage is currently feature one of my pieces, the Black Lives Mural – a 6x12ft public mural/installation, my work has been on the cover of the Delaplaine Arts Center, and I have had pieces in various juried shows. I continue to volunteer and support non-profits in town, and I also get an overwhelming amount of support. I can only feel grateful and excited for all this. That nothing beats having a community, a group of people around you that you can collaborate and have quality time with. Mentors are all around you! Everyone has something to teach.”
Since beginning the CORE Program, Lusmerlin has gotten her PMI (project management) certification, gained full-time employment, made lots of new friends and settled into our community, been very engaged in helping others, has served on the W2WM Alumni Committee, and modelled during our annual Clutch the Future Purse Auction. We are so glad that Lusmerlin chose Frederick as her home and that we were able to provide her with guidance, support, and community connections. It is an honor!