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Red Sox Scholars refurbish college

Students help out in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The Red Sox Scholars -- a group of academically talented students growing up economically disadvantaged -- is a group the Red Sox organization tries arduously to help.

But on Saturday, they were the ones giving back.

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 25 Red Sox Scholars joined 100 volunteers at a Commonwealth Corps service event, hosted by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Youth Build, in a community service project to beautify some well-worn parts of Roxbury Community College.

"It was terrific to work with these kids and to see how such a diverse group of talented students really enjoyed coming together to serve others," said Gov. Patrick, in a statement provided by the Red Sox Foundation.

"It's certainly in keeping with the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. And they're a great source of inspiration for all of us about the future of Massachusetts."

The sixth-graders who make up the Red Sox Scholars helped Gov. Patrick paint murals at the college's day-care center.

Afterward, they were impressed with the governor's artistic abilities.

"He drew a really cool design with a fireman's hat and awesome flames," said 11-year-old Red Sox Scholar Jonathan Lopez of Jamaica Plain.

"And he painted well, too," added Charlestown scholar Joe Evers. "I think he's got talent."

Run by the team's charity and created by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president and CEO Larry Lucchino and their partners five years ago, the Red Sox Scholars program is the educational cornerstone of the Red Sox Foundation.

Each year, the team provides $10,000 in college scholarships, tutoring, mentoring and enrichment activities to 25 bright sixth-graders in Boston public schools who are in need of financial help.

Currently, there are 150 Red Sox Scholars. The next class will be selected this spring.

"The idea of the Red Sox Scholars program is to create a ladder of success for inner-city kids and empower them to achieve their dreams of graduating from college," said Meg Vaillancourt, executive director of the Red Sox Foundation and a Red Sox senior vice president.

"The Red Sox also want to encourage them to believe in their power to connect with and serve others in their community. It's a powerful lesson for all of us, and today, the Red Sox Scholars were thrilled to lead by example."

Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for
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