Ryan's Hope (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

No - not the old soap opera. This was a great speech by a little boy in front of a big crowd...for an important cause.


My name is Ryan, I'm 8 years old and I love hockey! 

That's how one speech started a this morning at the 4th annual "Celebrate Youth in the Arts" breakfast.  I was the emcee for this  fund raising event for hundreds of people to pay up and support three wonderful organizations. 


One of them is PAYO, a group that brings artists and performers to schools in our area. It's also for the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony (which just returned from a tour of New Zealand and Australia) and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale (part of which just returned from a New York trip that included a performance at Carnegie Hall)  These are groups with a far reaching impact on the children, and adults, in our community.

So wait...this is all about the arts...and young Ryan was talking about hockey. 

Dozens of members of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale were there this morning to perform for the crowd. The Youth Symphony played beautifully too. There was artwork all over the walls created by kids from Harrison School District 2. This morning was all about the arts..and what kids in our community are doing here, and all over the country, even the world.

Two teen members of the Chorale talked about how performing helps them with composure and self-esteem. The Arts Director from Widefield schools talked about how important the arts are to scores of kids she deals with.  Some of the PAYO performers entertained before and during the event, so did a string quartet from the Youth Symphony.

So why was Ryan talking about sports?  Well, he went on to talk about how much he loves music too..he's been in the Children's Chorale for two years, "Nearly a quarter of my life!"  he pointed out.  He talked about how heading off to a Children's Chorale rehearsal or concert can lift him up , even on a bad day.  Ryan says he knows there will always be a hockey team or a baseball team he can play on...but he hopes there will also be a choir he can sing in.  He also told the grownups (potential donors and supporters) in the room that would be up to them.

 With that in mind Dr. Marijane Paulsen, the CEO of Colorado Technical College, helped coax the grownups to kick in a little cash.  I hope it worked. So do all those kids who rely on the arts organizations to help them do what  they like to. 

Ryan hopes it worked too...after he talked about music he did return briefly to sports.  You see Ryan's Hope is that one day he can be the first player in the NHL...who also sings the National Anthem!  The crowd liked that one. 

A final note..Ryan happens to be my nephew.  His mom had to go straight to another event so I took him home. In the car I asked him how he thought his speech went.  "Pretty good," he said, "I got a couple of laughs." 

With that, he got one more.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward


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