As most of us are hunkered down in Chicago braving the cold, we thought it would be the perfect time to bring you some warmth from one of RBA’s team members currently stationed in sunny Santiago, Chile!

Please read on to hear Kendra’s story of how she got involved with RBA and know that during this holiday season, we are perpetually in a state of gratitude for all that you have made possible at RBA.

Happy holidays!
Val Groth
RBA Founder & CEO

PS. If you are looking for a last minute holiday gift for a loved one, please consider making a tribute gift  – RBA will even send them a special letter of acknowledgement on your behalf!


Greetings, RBA Family!

My name is Kendra Bostick, and I am a part of Ryan Banks Academy because I fully believe in its mission, its founder, its staff, and the incredible impact it will have for the educational community as a whole. When years ago Valerie first told me about the idea for RBA, she spoke about possibilities and a vision that I had only dreamed of.  She worked tirelessly because she knew it was worth it.  I believe that each person who has gotten involved in Ryan Banks Academy shares in her dream and chooses kind over easy every day.

A fun fact about me:  Over the past couple years, I have entered onto an incredible journey that I never would have imagined for myself before meeting Valerie. Working as a School Social Worker, I was one of the first responders to emotional and behavioral difficulties within schools.  Due to my training in experiential education (team building + intentional reflection, generalization and application), I knew there were activities teachers could be doing that would serve different learning styles, create stronger connections, and promote deeper thinking. I knew if there was a way to integrate these activities that promote social emotional learning into the curriculum, perhaps we could support students in a more comprehensive manner.  I came across an idea to create an app to organize these activities and three years later, this idea is on the verge of being funded as I now have a team and new opportunities every day.  Valerie is someone who inspired me in this process to no end, to believe in myself, and to work hard to do the work I believe the world needs.

The Ryan Banks Academy mission is important not just for the incredible impact it is having on students, but because the RBA story itself is so inspiring.  The RBA team has worked tirelessly for many years to get this far, and I have witnessed firsthand how many obstacles they have faced (and fearlessly conquered!) and I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if we had more people who believed in doing the right thing, even when so many factors seem to be working against their success.  Your support – whether via an end of year donation, making connections, helping to spread the word, or lending a hand – could not go to toward a more deserving organization than RBA.  Thank you for allowing the RBA story to leave a lasting legacy that proves that truly anything is possible!