RAWk Star

Imagine staring at a rock - a dull, gray, lump that's rough to the touch. It doesn't have much importance, doesn't really stand out, nor does it capture your interest. What if I told you that you're missing something?

So begins the college application essay written by Rachel, my mentee at RAW Art Works in Lynn, MA. Well, RAW uses the word "mentee," but I often found that she was the one mentoring me! Take her college essay, for example. After introducing the reader to a plain rock, she proceeds to show that appearances can be deceiving. If you make the effort to crack the stone's obdurate surface, it reveals a sparkling crystal geode interior - a metaphor for her own introverted yet brilliant persona. In her film that inspired the essay (posted above and worth a watch) she eschews the prevailing view that introversion is something that needs to be overcome. I wish I were that comfortable in my own skin when I was 17 - heck, I still haven't learned this lesson at age 31!

Rachel and her hand-painted RAW graduation robes. How clever is that brush tassel?!

Rachel and her hand-painted RAW graduation robes. How clever is that brush tassel?!

Over the course of the year, we worked together on her college applications. Her unending optimism and work ethic during this process was a constant source of inspiration for my own parallel job search. This fall, Rachel is UMass Amherst-bound with a slew of scholarships! In the long run, she has an innovative and  selfless vision to combine elements of psychology, landscape architecture, natural resources, and film production to create spaces that protect the environment and improve the population's well-being.

You can support RAW Art Works and their rewarding mentoring program by hitting up Flatbread pizza in Somerville TOMORROW, Tuesday July 11. Or better yet, become a mentor yourself!

RAWk on,