May 23, 2019 2:40 pm

Growing up in a single-parent household filled with drug addiction, poverty and abuse, Raymond Power spent much of his childhood searching for a sense of family that was missing in his own life. With no role models to show him what it meant to be successful, he dropped out of school in 8th grade.

“It was not a good life,” Power said. “I ended up joining a gang because of the camaraderie and friendship I thought I had found with them. They fed me and took care of me when no one else would.”

This false sense of family led him to a fateful moment that landed him in prison for a year. “I was on a crazy, whirlwind path of self-destruction,” he said. “I ended up in a fight and was shot four times,” he said.

After his release from prison, Power struggled to assimilate. “I felt like I had no real plan, and nothing to look forward to,” he said. “I ended up right back where I didn’t want to be.”

It wasn’t until he met his wife that he decided to make a real change. He found a renewed sense of purpose after their first son was born in 2012.

Thanks to a program by Goodwill, Power found the GED program at Tacoma Community College, and completed the requirements in a week. “I did so well that my teacher told me I should think about going to college,” he said. “I had never considered college as an option, but I was doing so well that I had to keep going.”

Power then took a leap of faith and enrolled in the Facility Maintenance Engineering program at Bates Technical College. “I was doing well and earning great grades,” Power said.

After graduating from Bates, he struggled to find a fulfilling job that helped him support his family. His criminal history and visible tattoos presented more of an obstacle than he had hoped. “I wanted a new life so badly, but it just didn’t come fast enough,” he said. “I was clean, but I was also very depressed.”

By the time he and his wife were expecting their second child, he knew he had to pick himself up and begin working toward his goals. “I wanted to show my kids that anything is possible if they work hard enough,” he said. “I wanted to be a good example to them.”

Power wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to make a difference, and help those with similar backgrounds find success. He found Pierce College’s Social Service/Mental Health program and enrolled with enthusiasm. “I knew right away that Pierce College was the right choice,” he said. “I felt so welcome right away, and people didn’t judge or discriminate against me because of my tattoos.”

He found a sense of belonging at Pierce College, and joined Student Government as a legislative senator. This year, Power serves as president. “This position allows me to help other people in my position and serve students,” he said. “It’s really built my confidence and allowed me to become somebody I never thought I had a chance of being.”

Power discovered his love of acting at Pierce College, thanks to a class with Prof. Patrick Daugherty. “He truly helped me find my passion,” Power said. “I found everything here at Pierce College. My education, my passion, my mentors, and it means so much to me.”

The confidence Power gained as a student at Pierce College inspired him to take a chance and pursue a career in acting after he graduates this spring. With the encouragement of Prof. Daugherty, Power participated in a weeklong screenwriting workshop through Seattle’s TheFilmSchool earlier this year. Since then, Power has been focused on learning all he can about producing, directing, acting and screenwriting.

Thanks in part to his experience at TheFilmSchool, Power has already booked roles in two movies that will begin filming this spring and summer. Watch for him in the much-anticipated horror film “Friday the 13th Vengeance” as the younger version of Sheriff Realotti. Many actors from the original, iconic horror franchise from the 1980s will also make appearances in “Vengeance.” Later this summer, he will begin filming on another movie called “The Office Job,” about two aging mafia enforcers navigating work in an office environment.  

Power is also involved in an upcoming series for a major network, based on his own life experiences. Set in Seattle, the series will combine comedy and drama to shed light on the homeless crisis. Several established Hollywood actors, directors and producers are involved in the project already, allowing Power to learn from the best. In addition to acting in the series, he will also be consulting and assisting with casting. “The director believes in me, and it’s been such an exciting experience,” Power said.

The creators of the series are encouraging Power to include students and other non-actors in the pilot episode. “This is such a good opportunity for not just myself, but for people from where I come from,” Power said. “I want to be able to show people from my walk of life that there is another way. I originally wanted to be a social worker, but as an actor you have a voice, and this is just another way I can get my message out there. I want people to know that life isn’t always what you think it has to be. At one point, I thought I wouldn’t be anything more than a gangbanger on the streets. But because of college, everything has changed for me.”