New Orleans, LA
Ryan Dalton has formerly worked as a trainer and manager for Café Reconcile’s Workforce Development training program in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. He also served as an Advisory Board Member for The John Besh & Bride Mayor Scholarship at Chefs Move!, which prepares aspiring chefs for management positions in the culinary profession. In that role, Ryan worked to recruit young minority chefs and coordinated the City-Wide Youth Initiatives for the Mayor’s Office.
In 2005, he and his family experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which forced them to uproot their lives and move to Houston—and nearly derailed him. During his youth, Ryan faced tremendous hardships: he was a victim of violence, shot multiple times, nearly lost his life, and experienced the murder of his oldest brother, a close cousin and several love ones. Yet, not only has Ryan improved his own life circumstances, but he has assisted other young people to do the same. Through his work in the Mayor’s Office and with other organizations, Ryan has impacted thousands of youth across the New Orleans area. He’s resilient, reliable and dedicated to helping others.
Reflecting on his childhood and his ability to overcome personal challenges, Ryan says: “The solution must come from within. In order to identify the solution, you must fully understand the problem. My objective is to help youth understand their self-worth and to empower them with the knowledge, resources and skill-set necessary to be successful by any means. I got back on track with help from God, mentors, friends and organizations that help me regain hope and create realistic, attainable goals for my life.”
Ryan is now a part of the National Council of Young Leaders—the driving force behind the new national Opportunity Youth United movement—and an AmeriCorps Member, serving as a Program Instructor for the Boys and Girls Club.
Ryan feels like we still have not learned everything we have to learn from Katrina. “Too many young people face Katrina-level hurdles every day in their lives and they too are failed by the systems that are supposed to help. I am one of many young people who fought hard to turn my life around and is working just as hard to help turn our nation around. I want to see this country live up to its promise.” It is this passion that sparked him to create The PUSH Project, an initiative dedicated to helping youth develop their potential.
Sponsoring Organization: Member-at-large