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Thanks to Raymus a rainbow of hope touches kids lives
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“In 100 years it won’t matter what car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like, but the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” - Anonymous

Quarn Mohammed never met Antone Raymus.

Nor has Deavyn Young.

Both though will have a better shot at succeeding in life thanks to the Portuguese immigrant who arrived in Manteca before The Great Depression riding in the back of a wagon.

It was Raymus’ dogged pursuit of a dream to help struggling kids in school that gave birth to arguably one of this country’s most successful private sector, non-profit free tutoring programs - Give Every Child a Chance.

His legacy will trickle down through the generations given that in 13 years the number of struggling kids who have been assisted to the point that they are able to do better in school is well past 10,000 students.

It is a legacy that continues to be nurtured by his bride Marie through her ongoing support of GECAC.

Raymus understood how not being able to do well in school can make a kid feel dumb, worthless, and out of place. He was there once. He often would tell of a teacher who had him stay after school to help him master lessons.

Years later as a successful businessman and developer, he was on a tour at the California Youth Authority with fellow Manteca Kiwanis club members when he saw a young man suddenly pick up a project he was working on and hurl it against the wall.

What he saw troubled him.

What if, he asked himself, had that young man had a chance to succeed in school? Would he have taken a different path in life?

Raymus made a fortune but he also spent a good part of it nurturing the community. The list is endless: Free land or below cost land for congregations to build churches, $100,000 seed money to start the Boys & Girls Club almost 30 years ago, providing the seed money or facility for organizations such as Love Thy Neighbor that made the difference in thousands of lives each year, and just simple acts of kindness for struggling families that never knew where the money came from in a time of need.

Give Every Child a Chance was different. It’s not because he put up $300,000 of his own money. It was because at first virtually nobody believed it would work. He had called community leaders and educators to his office one by one. Many would say later that when a man who has made such an impact on a community as Raymus calls you go and listen to what he has to say. But most that listened thought it wouldn’t work. But they didn’t tell him that. They had too much respect for him.

His best move was hiring the right person - someone who had a strong relationship with the schools - to give the undertaking huge credibility. That person was retired Manteca High principal Bill Jones.

Once he had the ear of the district and community leaders, he was sable to move his dream forward. The dream was born complete with a logo of an adult holding the hand of a child silhouetted against a rainbow of hope

Today, the success stories keep multiplying.

Teachers tell of students who are now performing better in school, are happier, and are interested in class work. The added benefits of the one-on-one free tutoring that pairs community members with struggling kids has been a mentoring program. It is important to a kid when an older person other than their parents takes an active interest in who they are and in their success.

Raymus’ dream has been taken to the next level under the leadership of Carol Davis who shares the vision that the most important thing you can do is help a kid succeed.

Communities honor men who have done far less by placing their names on schools, parks or other landmarks.

Given the fact that also at one point in the 1990s almost two out of every five homes in Manteca were Raymus built it seems almost shameful that Manteca hasn’t honored a man like Raymus in such a fashion.

But Raymus created a legacy that will outlast stucco, brick, mortar, and street signs. His relentless drive to find a way to help kids has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams expect perhaps his own.

It is proven day after day through the efforts of volunteer tutors and other GECAC programs in Manteca, Lathrop, Escalon, Banta, Weston Ranch, Ripon and now branching out to communities like Tracy that there is indeed a treasure for the ages waiting at the end of the rainbow.