01/21/09 — Instructor receives N.C. award for mentor program

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Instructor receives N.C. award for mentor program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 21, 2009 1:46 PM

Ray Burrell

Ray Burrell, who formed the Minority Male Mentoring Group, or 3MG, at Wayne Community College in 2001, has been recognized with a state award for his contributions to human and race relations in the workplace and community.

Gov. Bev Perdue presented Burrell with the 2009 John R. Larkins Award recently during the 28th annual State Employees' Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance program. The award, created in 1998, is considered one of the state's highest honors in public service.

Burrell of Goldsboro heads the business and computer technologies division at the college.

"Raymond Burrell is challenging us to step up and address issues that impact African-American males in North Carolina," Perdue said. "He has developed a model program that is worthy of recognition. Ray provides a clear example of the kind of vision and action we need in North Carolina."

The 3MG program is described as an intervention system that helps improve self-esteem, leadership potential, college graduation and retention rates, enhances preparedness for the work force and strengthens family and community involvement. Its features include community service projects, volunteer work and mentoring.

The program has been replicated at other community colleges around the state, and Burrell has been called upon to make presentations before local, state and national organizations.

In nominating Burrell for the honor, Bill Thompson, associate vice president of institutional advancement at Wayne Community, shared some of the activities being done by those in the program.

"Each year 25 students work to improve human and race relations in the community by participating in service learning projects by delivering meals to homebound adults, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, serving as mentors for fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders, and participating in leadership retreats," Thompson wrote. "With excellent strategies and processes in place, the students are doing well in their college programs, are engaged and are persisting toward goal completion (82 percent retention). The success of this model program resulted in establishing the 'My Sister's Keeper' for minority females."

Burrell, he said, "is a person with a contagious attitude that says, 'We can change things here, we can achieve awesome goals, we can be the best.'"

With nine years of state government service, Burrell is also a retired Air Force officer. He is a member of Who's Who Among America's Teachers and has served as vice chairman of the N.C. Community Federal Credit Union and on the board of Wayne County Boys and Girls Club.