American Graduate Champion Stories
Sharaya “Ray” Martin
Sharaya “Ray” Martin was the victim of an abusive relationship, which led her to join the toughest branch of the military, the Marines. Not only did the service take her around the world, the experience helped her discover and develop her own personal strengths. It also gave Ray time to think about how she wanted to spend the rest of her life. She decided to become a victims’ advocate for women and girls of domestic violence. In pursuit of this, Ray, while in college, became a role model and mentor to young middle and high school girls who she helps by sharing her story of strength and hope. Her counsel centers around the choices they make and resources they can access to stay safe. Ray’s message is clear and taps the force within each girl; “Carry yourself with respect. You are worth it. Value yourself; do not let anyone tell you differently.”
These girls now have a valuable example on how your own personal strength can carry you through to the other side of a challenging situation. This is the type of lesson that not only applies to staying safe, but staying in school and using your life experiences to help you find your passions and the power to pursue them.