Perseverance Makes A Difference: Ryan's Call Foundation
“Perseverance Makes A Difference.”
That’s the motto for Ryan’s Call, a new foundation started by the Swain family dedicated to helping teens and families overcome traumatic injuries from sports and recreational activities while promoting water safety.
Ryan Swain accidentally drowned during a hunting trip a few years back. The community was already familiar with the Swain family after Ryan had badly broken his leg during a football game earlier in his high school career, and everyone was shocked and saddened by the news.
“It’s not like he went off on a whim doing something he had never done – that morning I wasn’t expecting anything. When we first got the phone call that something was wrong, my first initial thought was that someone had gotten shot – four teenagers out there with guns. I would never have dreamed someone would drown – I certainly wouldn’t have expected it was our son,” said Charles, Ryan’s father.
The community really supported the Swain family throughout their unimaginable loss, and they decided that Ryan would want them to help others overcome traumas and hopefully prevent losses like Ryan’s from happening to other families. The Swain family has sponsored scholarships for Centerpoint and Kirby seniors since Ryan’s death, but they felt that Ryan was calling them to do more.
“Ryan’s life has spelled out the roadmap for this -- this faith, his passion for sports, and his love helping others. That’s why it’s called Ryan’s Call. It’s what he was calling us to do.”
The foundation plans to continue providing the scholarships, sponsor another 9-10-year-old baseball team (baseball was Ryan’s passion), and hold several community events in the near future. Hopefully, the foundation will continue to grow and expand into other communities.
“We’re hoping to do some good with this. We want to see some kids who need help get it.”
Community support and involvement have been instrumental in getting the foundation off the ground. The foundation is now a 501c-3 nonprofit charity that can accept tax-deductible donations, and they have a board of directors filled with community members who all had a unique connection to Ryan. The behind-the-scenes effort from friends, family, and even strangers who just want to help have amazed the Swain family.
“We’re not even from here. We’re transplants, but we feel like we’ve become part of this community, and we’re blessed to be here.”
Over the past several years, the Swain family’s circumstances have taken them to people that they never thought they would meet. They’ve been put into contact with several different organizations such NDPA (National Drowning Prevention Association) and Families United, where they’ve formed friendships and bonds with other people who’ve gone through tragedy. Their goal is to help spread the word and educate people as much as they can to prevent future tragedies.
“We don’t want any parent to have to go through this,” said Christy, Ryan’s mother.
Opportunities for the foundation to help students overcome injuries and chances for them to educate the community will all depend on community involvement. Referrals from school counselors, coaches, medical professionals, and community members will help them determine who needs help and where they can make the most impact in the community.
For more information on Ryan’s Call Foundation or the Swain’s story, please visit their website at www.ryanscall.org or check out their Facebook at www.facebook.com/ryanscall1155.