Wow – what a year it has been.  This time last year, I never – not in a million years – would have anticipated that we would be over 8 months into a world-wide pandemic.  And if you had told me that our students would be attending virtual school as a result – well, there’s no chance I would have fallen for that. And yet here we are, about to close out a year that was incredibly challenging on all of us for so many reasons.  This has been such a hard year for all adults, but I have to believe that it has been even harder on our children. Life wasn’t easy back when we were all kids, but it’s incomprehensible to imagine being a 13 year old, worried about the safety of your lives ones, while having to go on lockdown – with little information about what is going on, how this happened, or when or if this crazy time in our lives will come to an end. To see family members losing their jobs, and worse – family members lost to COVID-19.   To see your family struggling to make ends meet, without the daily comforts you are used to – spending time with friends, going to the movies, doing the normal things that kids do. And then layer on top of that the additional stress our students and families are under due to the senseless killings of black men and women, and the pressure of living in a world still fraught with systemic racism at nearly every juncture.

There’s no denying the fact that, in addition to all of our nation’s healthcare workers, it’s kids who are the real super heroes of 2020. 

Despite dealing with the heaviness of uncertainty and worry on a regular basis, our children have gotten up each and every day, without complaining, and they have gone to school in a very nontraditional setting.   This still boggles my mind, as I know as a middle schooler, I doubt that I would have had enough self-motivation to keep up with my schoolwork half as well as our students have done!  Of course, they are not alone as our faculty members have been surrounding them with support every step of the way, but I still have to give our students credit for staying focused and staying engaged during such tumultuous times. It’s one thing to do that in a room full of your peers and teachers, but it’s even more impressive to stay driven when there is no adult in your room with you.  Let’s hear it for our students!

For all of the reasons outlined above and so many more, it was a no-brainer for us to use the term ‘Resiliency’ as our holiday campaign theme this year.  While so many barriers have been placed in front of our students, families, teachers, and RBA as a whole over the past year, we continue to persist and as anyone who knows us can attest – we aren’t going anywhere!  The Ryan Banks Academy mission – both in its current iteration as a day school, as well as our boarding school vision – is critically important to our city’s youth and we will not be deterred, at any cost.

I’m thrilled to announce that today we are launching a holiday match campaign where your donation counts DOUBLE for gifts that come in between now and the end of the holiday season!  Like most nonprofits, we have lost significant amounts of funds due to COVID-19 from having to cancel fundraising events, as well as losing recurring funding sources from donors whose foundations had to temporarily close. So more than ever before, every gift we receive counts so much.  I know we can get through these tough times, but we can’t do it without your help.  Please consider making a gift to RBA today – because our resilient students and their families are counting on you!

With gratitude,
Val Groth
Founder & CEO
Ryan Banks Academy