November 2020 Thank Your Mentor Month Spotlight Story

November is National Thank Your Mentor Month and the perfect time to highlight the amazing mentoring relationship shared by recent KELLY Award Winner Dashawn Borden and his mentor Malaquias Baptista-Gomes.  Dashawn received his award and accompanying $20,000 Scholarship (payable over four years) at the recent Cheers for Champions virtual event. 


Malaquias was an intern at Roxbury Youthworks, Inc. when he met Dashawn, a middle schooler at the time.  Malaquias recalled that Dashawn told him in their second meeting that he was adopting him as his “lifelong mentor.”  Little did either one of them know how prophetic Dashawn’s statement was!


Malaquias (or “Mr. Gomes” to Dashawn) supported Dashawn through many hardships and challenges, both academic, social and personal. He helped him with high school applications, drove him to auditions, attended performances and graduations, and instilled in Dashawn a strong desire to attend college and earn his degree.  And with the KELLY Scholarship in hand, that is exactly what he intends to do.  Dashawn will start at Bunker Hill in January, earning his Associates Degree there, and then plans to transfer to either a UMass college or Berklee College of Music. He is excited about the opportunities ahead and is ever grateful to Mr. Gomes for his support and guidance over the past six years. “ Life can be really weird, and you can feel unsure about things sometimes,” Dashawn said.  “We all need someone in the midst of uncertainty.  Malaquias is that someone, and he has been a person I’ve looked up to for six years of my life.  He is an inspiration and a true leader who I admire and hope to be like one day.”