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RFRM WINNER: James Rawlinson Jr.

FROM: Cleveland, Ohio

NOMINATED BY: His mother, Sharrone Rawlinson

Dear Tom,

I would like to nominate my son, James Rawlinson Jr. for “Real Fathers, Real Men.” He is a 25-year-old father with a 16-month-old son and another son due this month.

He is a good father and is trying to be a better father. He has been to prison for drug dealing, and in prison he got his GED and became a landscaper. James is a very smart young man. He has tried to go to college, but because of his conviction, he is denied federal assistance, and he has federal student loan in default. He went to prison at the beginning of the semester. He is making plans to pay back the student loan.

James has been trying to get a job. He says he wants his sons to know a different person than the prisoner their father was, and he wants to teach them that there is something better in life.

I am here to assist him, and so is his father, but my son is so depressed and despondent because he cannot afford to go to school, and  now, he cannot find a job. The baby’s mom works 12 hours a day and is trying to get her GED, but her job at Wendy’s won’t give her the time. Because of this, my son and his family are just barely getting by. Can you please help him be a better man and an even greater dad?

I love him so much, and I wish I could give him more. He is a great dad, and he just needs someone else to care and give him a helping hand.


Well, Shirley, to honor your son’s determination to put his past behind him and be a positive role model for his children, I would like to give your son $1,000 towards paying down his student loan.