Not only does our team care about helping our customers become more profitable, but they also care about investing in the Erie community and beyond! Our awesome team takes part in charitable projects both in the office and on their own time. Take a look at some of the causes we’ve been involved in, and let us know if you’d like some information about how to get involved yourself.
Mission Empower in the Office
Most recently, weCreate opened its doors to two students in the Erie area who are interested in graphic design, one of weCreate’s departments. The two students participate in a program called Mission Empower, which gives high school students with different types of disabilities the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
For part of the afternoon, the students came to the office and got to see what a typical workday looks like first-hand at weCreate. Not only were they able to shadow what our graphic designers do every day, but they were able to see other areas of marketing that they wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Hanna, one of our graphic design interns, had the opportunity to talk about her current projects, how she approaches each task, and some fun design tips that the students can use in the future. One of the other students sparked conversation with one of our web developers, Clem. They talked about his interest in animation and video games. Undoubtedly the highlight of the students’ day was bonding over pizza!
Through their experience, the students got some valuable insight into the marketing and graphic design world. We are always eager and willing to take part in the development of our youth in the Erie community.
See the news story on Mission Empower’s visit here.
Offering a Helping Hand and a Sign of Hope in Houston, TX
Nicole, one of our dedicated SEO interns, spent her week-long spring break in Houston, TX to aid with the disaster relief from Hurricane Harvey that hit the Houston area in August. She went on behalf of Penn State Behrend with a group of 23 students and 4 faculty members. The group stayed an hour outside of Houston in Beaumont, TX, one of the most affected areas after the Hurricane, at Cathedral Church. The organization that they worked under was called Operation Blessing, an international relief organization that travels where disaster strikes. Operation Blessing has been in Houston since September and has provided aid to hundreds of families in that time. Though the city of Houston seems to be back to normal, the surrounding low-income areas still have home that have yet to be touched from the hurricane.
Each day, several groups went out to different homes affected by the hurricane to offer a helping hand and a sign of hope. Once the groups were given their “work order” for the day, they were out all day helping in any way they could. Nicole was able to help families who don’t have the means to get back on their feet on their own – whether that is financially, physically, or emotionally. The Penn State Behrend crew did everything from removing moldy drywall from a living room, gutting a unsalvageable bathroom, moving belongings from a devastated home to a storage unit, and simply hearing each homeowners story.
One of the Penn State Behrend teams after a day of removing walls from a devastated home in Beaumont, TX
By the end of the week, Nicole was able to feel as though she’d made an impact on the community and the homeowners, likewise. She said her favorite part of the trip was having the opportunity to meet so many inspiring people and being a small light in the lives of those who are in a very dark place.
Investing in Kids’ Futures through Big Brothers Big Sisters
Nate, one of weCreate’s owners and marketing director, is a “Big Brother” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Erie. This is a program that gives children who face adversity in some way, a chance to have someone in their life to mentor and inspire them. This is a beautiful program that Nate holds dear to his heart and has been a part of for six years now. He also served as a member of the Big Brother Big Sisters board for a number of years. Nate’s “little brother” is a 16-year-old boy named Matt. Nate has been Matt’s “big brother” since Matt was 10 years old.
In the beginning years of the program, Nate would see Matt once a week to offer advice, be an outlet, or just do something fun! Since Matt is getting older now and has his own interests, Nate respects that and has taken a few steps back. Some fun things that Nate likes to do with Matt are hiking, going to Erie Otters hockey games, take a trip to Asbury Woods, and pretty much anything to do with the outdoors.
Nate loves contributing, in some way, to charities that are involved with youth in the community. According to him, investing in our youth is one of the most valuable contributions we can make to our community and our world. What Nate enjoys most is providing a positive influence and help build a child’s character.. Certain gestures or actions that may seem small to many, can have such an impact on a kid and leave everlasting memories. Taking time out of his schedule to spend time with Matt is something that brings Nate joy, even six years later. Seeing the transformation of Matt’s development from a 10-year-old boy to a mature, young adult, is something he appreciates.
Web Developer by Day, Youth Pastor by Night
Not only is John one of our outstanding web developers, but he is also a Youth Pastor at McLane Church in Union City. John is in his first year as a Youth Leader, but he has been leading small groups for about 3 years. As a small group leader, John worked as a mentor and counselor for students who seek advice, inspiration, or guidance. This role as a small group leader translated into his current position as a Youth Pastor. John works specifically with high school aged students and as he says, “helps guide them through life” in any way he can. His typical duties as a youth pastor include: leading group discussions, training other leaders or adults into their positions, and answers any questions the students have about life.
As you can imagine, this job isn’t always a walk in the park. John is faced with several challenges when he is mentoring his students. Because of the nature of his work and the age group that John works with, interpersonal conflicts come up fairly often. He says these conflicts can be rather difficult to resolve because everyone has a different story and perspective on topics. However, John finds common ground with his students by being vulnerable and genuine. He relates to them, in some cases, on a deeper level than adults can because he believes in treating them as equals and fully listening to them. John is wise beyond his years and can be that hand of guidance for anyone who needs it.
John loves being a Youth Pastor because he learns things about himself through his experiences and through conversations with his students. He says his students’ understanding of philosophies and their insight on topics makes for interesting conversations. The students and everyone involved in the program makes his job well worth it.