Why 2015 Was My Year for Giving Back & Why It Should Be Yours Too…

By Ryan Ginard, Development Director.

As 2015 draws to a close I’m finding myself more often than not reflecting on the year that was. Many of my own personal highlights come from dealing with the joys and challenges of a rapidly expanding family (new puppy, baby due in February), evolving as a fundraiser here in my new role at Access, and being a contributing member of my community, regardless of where I came from (its Australia if you were wondering…). I really am at a point where I’m truly excited for what my future holds.

However, for the record it has to be noted that I have been blessed with opportunities at every turn and continue to be afforded this luxury to this very day.

While I am myself a first generation college student from a true working class family (mother is a nurse, dad was a cleaner), I wasn’t born into poverty, nor did our family unit break down over my formative years. This structure, stability, and support is something many were deprived of and to me is one thing that I have never taken for granted.

Being aware of my own upbringing has shown me that giving back is paramount. I believe that no-ones life story should be pre-determined by what zip code they were born into and each and every one of us have the resources to be able to narrow the inequality of opportunity for those that are most at risk of never graduating from high school, let alone reaching their undoubted potential.

That’s ultimately what drew me to Access Youth Academy. The possibility of working first hand with amazing kids who have to overcome their own unique adversities to achieve their dreams of going to college was – yet another opportunity – too good to miss. In the end it was a great decision – there is not one day that passes when I’m not inspired by their commitment and determination to succeed.

I mentioned earlier about things being afforded to us to never be taken for granted. We can’t do this here with Access either. Its critical that we continue to support the dreams of these students by making donations to ensure they can have that extra SAT prep training, donating our time to help mentor these kids who crave advice from a friendly voice when they most need it, and much, much more.

Make no mistake, our successes are fuelled by the generosity of our donors and we continuously need them to go that extra mile to help us deliver our award winning programs.

These holidays I encourage you to help us continue making a difference in one of three ways;

  1. GiveThanks to your generous support, all Access Youth Academy services are offered with no cost to our student’s families. This year The Parker Foundation is also matching donations up to $15k!
  2. VolunteerOffer help to students with their homework, special academic projects, & applications/scholarships to extra-curriculum programs.
  3. Become a MentorMentors are committed to creating a long-lasting relationship with one of our Access Youth Academy students. Mentors provide support for their mentees in a number of situations, where all a young person needs is an experienced friend to help guide them through their academic, professional, and personal endeavors.

We have a lot to look forward to in 2016 here at Access Youth Academy. So lets not take too much time to reflect on the year that was but be excited for what we can all achieve together in the years ahead.

Happy Holidays.


Ryan recently joined the students for a community service event with The Hunger Project to help feed 620 homeless San Diegan's - a truly rewarding experience for all!
Ryan (right) recently joined the students for a community service event with The Hunger Project to help feed                                         620 homeless San Diegan’s – a truly rewarding experience for all!