April was an exciting month for us here at Ryan Banks Academy!

First, we were honored when the actor and comedian – and longtime RBA supporter – Jeff Garlin stopped by for a visit.  You may know Jeff from his roles on TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Goldbergs – or, our students know him from his role in the movie Daddy Day Care! Jeff found out about RBA back in 2016 and as he put it:

“As a born and raised Chicagoan, for years I’ve been living in LA and watching the news about the many challenges Chicago faces with violence and poverty and I’ve felt helpless.  But when I found out about Ryan Banks Academy – I realized that this is how I can truly make a difference.”  

Our students were so excited to meet Jeff and to hear about the challenges he had when he was a student struggling with ADHD, and how he overcame those obstacles in order to get to where he is today.

Later in April, our students took their first overnight camping trip! We are so thankful to the amazing Wild Swell Foundation along with long-time RBA supporters Logan Avant and Stuart Champion for making this amazing trip possible.  Our students had an amazing time, from overcoming fears of the high ropes and zip lining course (in the snow, no less!) to bonding with their classmates over team building exercises and ghost stories by the campfire.  This was their favorite field trip we’ve taken all year (second only to the trip to see the Hamilton musical!) and we can’t wait to go back again next year.  Please make sure to click on the boxes in this email to see photos from the trip, in case they don’t automatically open for you.
We then ended April with a bang at an event at the Chicago Yacht Club.  In addition to our lineup of staff and board member speakers, we were also joined by some special guests: Ryan Banks’ aunt, Brigette, Brie Hopkins who is an RBA parent, and Miguel Rivera, an educator and school administrator.  Miguel has had the unique experience of working in urban boarding schools in Baltimore and Miami, and as a Chicagoan, he is extremely passionate about bringing this model to Chicago. Please take 4 minutes to watch and hear Miguel talking about why RBA means so much to him here.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week!
Val Groth
RBA Founder & CEO