CAMEOGrowing up in a safe home with warm food, attending a good school, and never having to worry about what tomorrow might hold is something many kids can take for granted. But for some children, figuring out how to beat the odds is a way of life.

Underserved youth in the Vancouver, Washington area who face roadblocks to education are getting a little more help, thanks to a $26,000 gift from a local group called Cathy Anna Mayer Encouraging Others (CAMEO). The gift is funding educational activities administered through At Home At School (AHAS), a special program at WSU Vancouver.

AHAS supports K-12 schoolchildren and younger college-age students, who are homeless or otherwise in need. It also offers community-based teacher education and conducts research on teaching and learning.

“AHAS enriches the lives of our most vulnerable citizens—underserved children—by providing them a community and an opportunity to thrive academically,” says Tina Eifert-Anderson of CAMEO. “AHAS promises them a future.”

This promise is reflected in the successes of the AHAS program. Susan Finley, associate professor in the College of Education and director of AHAS, reports that three former AHAS students recently began attending classes at WSU Vancouver.

“When I was in high school, I started with the AHAS program working as a research assistant. It was phenomenal to see the intellectual growth of the children,” says WSU Vancouver student Irina Mishuk. “Now, I am honored to continue to be part of such an altruistic organization as a student here at WSUV.”

CAMEO shares WSU Vancouver’s concern for the most underrepresented of Vancouver’s children. When CAMEO’s namesake, Cathy Anna Mayer, died from complications of breast cancer in 2004, her family and friends created the organization as a reflection of her love for her family, friends, and community.

Contact Lindsay Herling at 360-546-9173 or to learn how you can help reverse the odds for underserved youth by directing your next gift to the At Home At School program at WSU Vancouver.