Congratulations to Riccardo Rushin! 2010 Outstanding Young Leader 19 years old Ohio Riccardo was 5 months old when he was placed in the system. He's lived in 21 homes in the 19 years he was in foster care. He started showing his leadership potential in high school, where he led the (BLAST) leadership group, which did various community projects. After graduating from high school, and being publicly honored for his achievements (Duer, Benjamin. Area foster youths honored. Canton Repository, June 23, 2009), Rico remains determined to give back. He has returned to his high school, Glen Oak, several times for motivational speaking engagements, as well as Allen Elementary and Alliance Middle School, Walsch College, Malone College and Mount Vernon College. Riccardo is also a member of his local foster care youth advisory board and in 2009 received the PCSAO Rising Up and Moving On award. Currently working toward his degree in social work, Riccardo has a clear and growing vision of how to improve outcomes for foster care youth, which includes specific guidelines regarding foster parent recruitment and training, mentoring of foster youth and transitional housing. Riccardo dreams of one day having enough money to open an apartment complex for emancipating foster care youth. Residents will participate in independent living classes with on-site social workers, including Money Management and Study Habits. From his experience in foster care, Riccardo has learned that people and living situations can be transient - which is why he is determined to be the kind of person that others can rely upon. Riccardo wants to see youth in foster care paired with at least one mentor that will create a lasting bond, regardless of change in placement - and he wants to be that kind of mentor. He plans to build a family one day and provide structure and stability for his children.
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