Rhode Island School of Design, Film
Peter Pa arrived at RAW's doorstep years ago holding an old camera in his hand, asking if there was someone that might be able to show him how to use it. His innate understanding of film was quickly revealed as he held a video camera for the first time in our Real to Reel film school. In his first year, he produced a stunning documentary, Green Thumb, about the challenges his mother faced as a Cambodian immigrant. Peter went on to make several beautiful films that led him to be awarded a full scholarship to the school of his dreams, Rhode Island School of Design. Peter described his journey to us, from the day he came to RAW to his current experience as a RISD student.
From the Artist:
"Much has happened to me since the first day I had my first class at RISD and since the first day I stepped into RAW. I have changed so much but yet I'm the same. And after my trip to Japan I realize the world is so big, I don't want to be stuck in New England all my life. There's so much out there to discover, understand, and appreciate. I'm also discovering and developing abilities I never thought I had, like woodworking, metal smithing, and animating. This all brings me to the point which I can never say enough of which is, thank you for believing in me. I am experiencing these wonderful blessings because you have invested time and love to someone who didn't believe in himself. I have started growing plants on my windowsill and when I water them I think about people like parents, friends, and teachers being the gardener of the people around them. I'm sprouting and growing! And now being here at RISD I'm realizing what my role is as a person, and that is to continue what I'm doing and hoping to be an example and encouragement to anyone who wants to reach for things they never thought possible. I feel like I'm entering a new layer of life, my pores are so open, I'm taking it all in. So thank you for watering me."
North Shore Community College, Business
Desiree McMahon is now our film assistant in Real to Reel, the program she joined in 2006 as a new high school filmmaker. She is currently studying at Salem State and wants to pursue a career in communications. Through her years at RAW, Desiree had the following reflections along the way.
From the Artist:
"I have only been at RAW for a few months, but I love it like crazy. I find myself working harder in school so I can get good grades and keep coming to RAW." // 2006
"Before I started RAW, I had no faith in adults. Not only have I had adults to trust now that I am in RAW, but I also am more able to let an adult into my life that is able to help me and challenge me."
"I have learned at RAW that I have adult that are my heroes. I have discovered that I can love people without fear, and can be loved without ending." // 2007
"Finishing Smile Pretty was truly like completing a part of me - like all my emotions were put into that film. I have been at RAW for three years now. At times this place was my home. RAW has pushed me when I needed it and been there when no on else was." // 2008
New York University, Nursing
Stephanie Cornachini followed a group of friends to RAW her sophomore year of high school, thinking that she was tagging along. At the time, Stephanie could not see how she might need a teen girls support group. Upon arriving, she realized her natural talent for being honest and found herself in a safe circle of peers talking about the challenges in her life. Her profound honesty shaped the culture of the group and gave others courage. After graduating, Stephanie offered to continue as a mentor hoping to guide our teen girls as they make tough choices. She is now attending NYU's nursing program and continues to volunteer every chance she gets.
From the Artist:
"Each path I carve leads me to acceptance. Acceptance of my appearance; acceptance of my knowledge and abilities; acceptance of my strengths and weaknesses; acceptance of my gifts, my flaws." // Quote from her woodcut self- portrait exhibited in Beneath the Surface
"This year I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin. I feel there is more substance to the person I am this year than last. RAW has helped me grow in giving me an opportunity to heal and soul search through my art pieces. I joined the group because I was looking for a good time with my friends. I found myself. I found talent, strength, determination and love." // Senior evaluation, 2006
Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Architecture
Thonah Ep walked through the doors of RAW when he was fourteen and is now attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design after being awarded the Senator Paul Tsongas scholarship. Thonah is a young man who creates endlessly, working in extraordinary depth and breadth. He moves through space as if every morsel of visual information feeds his next piece. In 2009, he became the youngest recipient of the Commonwealth Award, the stateâ€™s highest honor in the arts. Beyond his immense talent, what distinguishes Thonah is his generosity as a mentor to other artists.
From the Artist:
"Raw Art Works is successful in so many ways, encouraging kids to be responsible and creative. But one of the ways RAW has succeeded above all is mentoring teens to become mentors themselves. I wasn't a leader or a mentor until I became a RAW Chief. Learning how to solve not only my problems but help solve other people's problems has made me a more defined person. Our society can only be better when we help each other, and our cities can only see change when we start to care. Being a mentor to younger kids has affected my outlook on life and the art that I make. Thanks RAW!"
Want to learn more about volunteer opportunities or find out how to make a tax deductible in-kind donation? Contact us at 781-593-5515 ext. 201 or email@example.com
Download the 2012 Annual Report »