Diarra, Class of 2011

A vibrant, ambitious, and well-rounded individual, Diarra discovered CATS because her best friend’s older sister raved about how much she enjoyed her studio time here. Diarra thought that having a little more fun would be a great antidote to working so hard in school and in sports. Little did she know how much things would change based on her experience with CATS.

She recalls feeling joyous when she was greeted by staff every day, as well as the moment her art piece was on display for the world to see. Through art, she was learning not only new skills but more about herself and where she wanted to go in life, from earning credits to finding her career path. 

When she first heard about the Bridging the Gap program, she was immediately enticed because she realized that it would help her gain life skills such as resume building, proper interview techniques and how to dress appropriately and professionally. She credits the CATS staff for helping her to feel more confident and less nervous about interviewing and starting down an unfamiliar career path.

Through her desire for something greater, Diarra graduated from CATS and the Bridging the Gap program in 2011, earning her state-tested nurse’s aide license. From there, she became a Certified Nursing Assistant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), while attending Miami University.

Ambitious from the start, Diarra is now a Research Assistant in CCHMC’s Cancer Department. She has grown from a high school student not knowing what a career pathway was, to having a successful career. In addition to being successful, educated, and a veteran of the health care profession, Diarra is now married with a family of her own.

Diarra wants to inspire current CATS students to take advantage of the opportunities offered at to them and for them to also know that help is available- they just need to ask.  She also continues to give back to the community that supported her personal growth and hopes others will hear her story and be inspired to grow as well.

We are certainly proud to have Diarra as a graduate of CATS. Her ambition to break the poverty cycle was all her own doing, we just helped her open the door.