Congratulations to Raymond Carela, winner of the 2016 KELLY Award!

Ray Carela, a 17-year-old student and mentee at RAW Art Works, received the KELLY Award at this year’s Champions of Mentoring event on May 25th. This $20,000 scholarship, supported by the Kelly Family Foundation, and Liberty Mutual, and Mass Mentoring Partnership, provides educational assistance to young people who have persevered through adversity with the guidance of an empowering adult. Raymond plans to use his money to attend Mass College of Art, spending a year at Bunker Hill Community College prior to beginning.

Raymond was nominated for the award by his mentor, Chris. Ray and Chris have been matched for over a year through RAW Art Works, an art-focused youth development and mentoring program that serves more than 1,200 young people from Lynn and surrounding communities. Many of these young people face numerous challenges and RAW provides them with the support they need to thrive. RAW’s Project Launch program works with rising seniors to help them through that crucial senior year by providing a variety of critical support services. 100% of Project Launch students graduate from high school, and 92% are accepted to college and other post secondary programs.

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Ray moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when he was in seventh grade, unable to speak English. He turned to art as a way to build confidence and overcome bullying. Now, he is confident and proud of where he is going.

“This young man will have an extraordinary life, driven by his artistic gifts, and his kind nature and enthusiasm,” said Chris. “He has become a brilliant artist with 12 of his murals helping to beautify the city of Lynn. Having come a long way, now he is proud and very happy.”

Chris says his mentoring relationship with Ray has not only allowed Ray to learn to trust adult role models outside of his customary world, but it has changed Chris’s life for the better.

“Ray grounds me. My support of him gives my life even more purpose. I know that, in part through my support, Raymond will succeed in life."