Volunteer Spotlight: Matt Raiche, Vice President, Branch Manager
January 28, 2022
Matt Raiche grew up in a large family, all of whom lived close by and many of whom were schoolteachers and administrators. He had a built-in friend group in his siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles who were always around, and parents who supported him both inside and outside of the classroom.
“Not everyone has that,” said Matt, when asked why he is so passionate about serving as a mentor with Mentor RI. “There are so many kids who don’t grow up as fortunate as I did. They don’t have that support system, that network of people who care about you and who want you to succeed in all that you do. That’s why I do what I do.”
For 7 years, Matt has been volunteering with and supporting Mentor Rhode Island, a Warwick-based nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that youth have access to the motivational & supportive relationships they need to grow into confident, successful adults.
Mentor RI is both a service provider and a service coordinator. Their expert staff coordinate mentoring programs with several school districts throughout the State, while also providing technical assistance, training, expertise, and matchmaking services in partnership with other organizations and mentoring programs.
Matt currently mentors two 4th grade boys who attend Greenbush Elementary School in West Warwick. He meets with his students once a week for an hour. And in that hour, Matt focuses on being whatever he needs to be for those boys. Sometimes it’s just someone to play games with or tell jokes to, other times it’s to talk about school or home life.
“I’m so glad that I get to be a constant in their life. The adult that shows up and is ready to listen to them talk, relax, be silly, ask hard questions- whatever it is that they need, I can provide it during that hour each week,” says Matt. “It’s a beneficial experience for me, too, quite honestly. When I show up to that school, I lose my labels- I’m not the boss, I’m not dad, I’m not a husband- I’m just Matt. I get the opportunity to connect with these kids, learn from them, listen to them, and give them my full, undivided attention.”
In addition to participating in the mentoring program with Mentor RI and West Warwick Public Schools, Matt also supports the organization’s fundraising efforts. In 2020, Matt and his daughter Harper participated in Mentor RI’s annual fundraiser, “Dancing Under the Stars.” In the height of the pandemic, Matt and Harper (the actual dancer of the pair) spent hours choreographing and practicing a dance routine that was then performed at the event.
“It was a great way to support Mentor RI’s fundraising efforts and was also a really special experience to share with my daughter,” said Matt. “I’m not sure if there will be a ‘next time’ when I get to share the stage with Harper. We both had a lot of fun with it, especially knowing that the funds were going to such a worthy cause.”
To put the cherry on top of Matt’s experience with Mentor RI, both he and Harper will be serving as guest judges for the 2022 “Dancing Under the Stars” event.
In addition to his work with Mentor RI, Matt is also serves on the Board of Directors of Tides Family Services, is President of the West Warwick Little League, and is a volunteer coach for various youth sports in West Warwick.
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