Michelle Drolsbaugh has been volunteering her time as a mentor in Raw Art Works (RAW) Project Launch program for the past three years. She has had the experience and knowledge of guiding three young women (all first generation college students) through the often confusing college application process. RAW staffers say that Michelle has been one of the most inspiring, caring, supportive, and emotionally intelligent mentors they have worked with.
In her first year, Michelle assisted her mentee in the application, interview and nomination processes to apply for and win the Posse Scholarship. Posse works with non-profit organizations and schools to identify public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked in the traditional college selection processes. Posse Scholars are awarded a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. Michelle’s first mentee is now attending Dennison University and is thriving. It is not mandatory for the Project Launch mentors to continue their relationship after each senior graduates but Michelle has done so. She often has coffee with her former mentee and reports that she is doing excellent with a 3.4 GPA and plans to study abroad in Denmark in the next year.
Michelle’s current senior met her in the spring of her junior year and felt an instant connection with Michelle. She begged the Project Launch staff to be matched with Michelle and wished to follow a career path similar to hers. Their connection has continued and grown stronger over the past year. When Michelle learned that her student had a love for basketball, she took her out to a college basketball game so that she could experience what life on a college campus could be like. When her mentee’s grades dipped this quarter, Michelle did not hesitate to reach out to RAW’s staff, the youth’s mother and even to the youth’s guidance counselor about how they could all work together to help. Michelle is in contact with RAW Staff every week to assure them that her student is on-track and is following through. She often asks the staff what she can do to be a better mentor. Michelle is the ideal mentor and RAW staff say they are more than lucky to have her.
About Raw Art Works
Based in Lynn, Raw Art Works (RAW) and their Project Launch program give rising high school seniors help with college access and career exploration. RAW developed Project Launch in 2001 to help “launch” their artists into college and beyond. The program matches teens with mentors to help them navigate the process of weighing their post-graduation options, applying for college admission, financial aid, scholarships, and considering potential careers. The mentors in the program are one of the essential ingredients of Project Launch. The teens attend workshops at RAW and meet with their assigned mentors on a regular basis.
For professionals who would like to get involved and become volunteer mentors at Raw Art Works, contact Project Launch Director Masiel Encarnacion at Masiel@rawartworks.org or at 781-593-5515 ext.228.