DETROIT — Raphael Mostyn is using his education background to help others, especially those with disabilities.
Mostyn, a Detroit native, graduated from Fitzgerald High School in Warren, Mich., before studying math education at Bowling Green State University for three years. In 2012, Mostyn returned to Michigan and worked as a math intervention specialist in Detroit charter schools.
For the next four years, Mostyn also served as director of the RISE program, an academic enrichment initiative. According to Mostyn, supporting students with disabilities was life changing.
“I had a third-grade student who was autistic,” Mostyn said. “Just watching him go from needing a lot of help with reading to making the honor roll by the time he was in sixth grade, that changed my outlook on the disabled community.”
Inspired by this experience, Mostyn launched Mostyn Community Development (MCD) in 2016. A nonprofit organization, MCD provides academic and career exploration opportunities for students deemed at-risk, underprivileged and disabled.
Mostyn, the founder and president of MCD, is the first Game Changers honoree that the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and Comerica Bank are recognizing throughout July as part of Disability Pride Month.
“Recognizing the impact early intervention and support can have on the educational success of individuals with disabilities, we’re honored to celebrate Raphael Mostyn,” said Kevin Brown, director of community impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “Thousands of young people have received necessary life skills to succeed due in part to the passionate work of this Game Changers honoree.”
By partnering with community centers, churches, school districts and state departments, MCD helps young people with disabilities grow in their educational and career journeys.
“Since 2016, we’ve served over 2,000 individuals that struggle with some sort of disability,” Mostyn said. “Our growth has been amazing.”
Mostyn said one of the nonprofit’s most influential programs is Camp Impact, an overnight experience that prioritizes post-high school education opportunities and independent living skills.
“We take students to a college campus and they stay there for a week,” Mostyn said. “This has been one of our biggest game-changing moments in our students’ lives because they are able to step out of the comfort of their homes and learn how to survive. Not only are they able to acquire life skills, but they can have a smooth transition out of high school into the real world.”
For Mostyn, the most rewarding part of his job is knowing he can make a positive impact on others.
“Just knowing how the students feel inside and that someone cares about them,” Mostyn said. “There are small things in life that some people may take for granted, but those things might be life-changing moments for others.”
Mostyn said he is honored to be named a Disability Pride Month Game Changers honoree, because it signifies that his work with MCD is not going unnoticed.
“I obviously don’t do the work for the recognition,” Mostyn said. “But it means the world to know that there are people who we don’t serve that see the work we are doing. That goes to show that people are watching and pay attention. That goes a long way.”
To learn more about MCD, visit MCDImpact.com.