(St. Paul, Minnesota)
Ryan Guggenheim was appointed in 2016 to be the Youth Ambassador for the Open Wide Foundation by its Board of Directors. During his first trip to Guatemala in March 2016, Ryan participated in celebrating local partners, was interviewed by a local television station on the importance of youth involvement in humanitarian efforts, and was included in discussions with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and the office of the First Lady. Ryan also met with Edwin Escobar, the mayor of Villa Nueva, where the clinic is located. In addition, Ryan worked alongside dentists and oral surgeons in the clinic, assisting in dental procedures. Ryan plans to return to Guatemala in July 2018.
Ryan’s interest increasing access to oral health care stems from his family’s strong philanthropic efforts. He has seen the difference dental care has made in the lives of those who cannot afford it, and wants to help OWF change more lives. He plans on building youth participation through new programs such as OWF Dental Student Scholarship Program, and reaching out to dental professionals in the Twin Cities. He has successfully raised over $5,000, which will pay for two dental students to volunteer at the clinic in Guatemala in August 2018. He hopes to continue to raise awareness and funds in order to send additional dental students to Guatemala.
Ryan has recently been awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his work with Open Wide Foundation SEE ARTICLE, representing the state of Minnesota and looks forward to attending the University of Southern California Fall of 2018.
Ryan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2010 where he is currently a Senior at Mounds Park Academy (MPA). Ryan’s school activities include: participation in the MPA Social Consciousness Club, Speech, Debate and Varsity Tennis Teams, as well as serving as co-president of the Spanish Club, and as a Peer Leader Captain. Furthering his interests in Spanish, Latin American culture and political awareness, Ryan is interviewing and will be documenting in a website the stories of immigrant business owners in the community. Since 2015, Ryan has also enjoyed helping patients and their families during his weekly volunteer shifts at St. Paul Children’s Hospital.
“I hope that my involvement will encourage other young adults to get involved in humanitarian efforts and take the time to help people who don’t have the same opportunities as they do. Youth are the future, and I feel it’s very important that we become involved in charitable works so organizations can continue to help those in need for generations to come”
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