Ryan Ewing '17 of Sudbury, MA, was recently honored as Volunteer of the Year at Heading Home, an organization with the mission to end homelessness in Greater Boston by providing a pathway to self-sufficiency. Heading Home focuses on securing homeless families a home and providing critical services such as life skills, financial literacy, and job training.
Over the past five years, Ryan has been actively involved with Heading Home's signature volunteer program, Up & Out. Up & Out pairs volunteer groups with Heading Home clients who are making the move from a shelter to permanent housing. Volunteers clean, prepare, furnish, and personalize the apartment to make it into a "home," and then they welcome the family with their new set of keys. Ryan's history with Up & Out goes back to 2008, when he was just nine years old, and his family participated in their first move. Ryan was so touched by the experience that he decided to share the opportunity with his school, the Fenn School in Concord, MA. With the help of Fenn's community service director, Ryan and the Fenn community engaged in six moves over three years. Within a week of receiving his award, Ryan led two more moves.
"Heading Home is something that I can’t seem to go without – seeing the reactions on the family’s faces or the cries of joy as they see their new rooms," describes Ryan. "We often think that we are so different, that we can’t possibly have anything in common with people from different places that grew up so differently from us. However, we are the same inside – we talk about sports and we watch the same movies."
Ryan '17 Leads a Recent Group of Up & Out Volunteers
Ryan has been inspired by many of the people he has helped to move. "Incredible acts of bravery and endurance go on in our world each and every day," he says passionately. "Heading Home helps amazing people."
"One of the great things about community service and Heading Home is that deep in the back of your mind, you know that one day, some of the people that you are helping now will go on to help others – the world is an endless chain of giving. So give back to the world, because someday you too might need its help."
To learn more about Heading Home, visit their website.