Students in Lynn, Massachusetts face an uphill battle when it comes to their education. The city reports a dropout rate that is 47% higher than the state average. Many students do not move on to college after high school.
RAW Art Works wants to change that with Project Launch. Project Launch is part of RAW’s high school programs. In the program, high school juniors and seniors are paired up with a volunteer mentor for one year. These mentors work with the students, helping them apply to college and show themselves to be strong candidates in their applications.
The program has proven results: 90% of the students who go through Project Launch apply to and attend college. And those students have done wonderful things with their education. For example, Doneeca Thurston graduated from the program and went on to received a full-tuition leadership scholarship to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and, after going on to get a master’s degree, she now works as the adults programs coordinator at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Doneeca’s advice to the next generation of Project Launch students: “You don’t have to figure it out all at once. You can change your plans.” Students at RAW are encouraged to follow the things they are passionate about and keep their options open. And this advice seems to be working.