Ryan experienced 15 different placements within a three year period. These placements ranged from foster homes to kinship placements to homeless shelters. He felt he could turn to no one for support other than his close friend and friend's family. "...they were the only constants in my life during the times of turmoil."

"One challenge I faced through my foster care experience was the ability to trust people. I felt powerless because I was being shifted around to so many placements when all I wanted was to make things work with my biological parents, but that would not happen; that was not an option. I never felt like I was in a stable situation." Ryan, however, was able to overcome this hardship and become an upstanding young man. He gives credit to his experience in turning him into that young man and leader. There is no better description of his growth than his own. "I like to compare that experience to a caterpillar's life. The little guy lives as a caterpillar squirming his way through life. Then, he begins to cocoon. He places himself in a dark place, unknown to what's going to happen in his life in order to allow himself to grow into the beautiful butterfly he is destined to be. Well, like the caterpillar, I had to go through times of unknown to grow into the man I am today."

Ryan has used his transformation and his foster care expertise to change the system. Ryan was selected to be a part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Internship in Washington DC. While in this role Ryan gained experience in the political arena by attending meetings and acting as a liaison to various congressional offices for the foster care system. He also was able to speak at an event entitled "Finding Our Place: The Importance of Permanency" where he delivered a message regarding awareness for the lace of healthcare for those aging out. Ryan also has been involved with his local youth advisory board where they make suggestions to policy makers about issues facing foster youth and alumni.

Ryan has several hobbies including snow boarding, road trips (in his car named Tina) listening to music, watching movies, and working out his thumbs by playing his Xbox.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2009 Outstanding Young Leaders