Backbone of the community

Ryan Lenny reveals how it felt to be awarded the Cameron Impact Scholarship and the multitude of ways he impacts the public.

Kellen Edwards, Features Editor

Senior Ryan Lenny embodies the notion of hard work and helping others every day. Through his pure drive and determination to help the community, he was awarded the Cameron Impact Scholarship. Granted by the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation, the scholarship consists of a four-year, merit-based scholarship that covers the full tuition and educational expenses at their chosen college. Out of the whole nation, Lenny was one of only 15 recipients to receive this reward to commend his positive engagement in community service and passion to impact the world. 

“I feel incredibly honored to have received the Cameron Impact Scholarship. The group of other Cameron Scholars I am now connected with is unbelievably talented and supportive. I am meeting people who are starting their own companies, running non-profits and all-around tackling issues facing our world. I am so grateful to be a part of this community,” expressed Lenny.

Lenny plans to attend Claremont Mckenna College in the fall and plans to major in philosophy and public policy. In addition to his strong academics, he is dually enrolled at Saddleback College, where he will also be graduating at Summa Cum Laude with Associate Degrees in Philosophy and Physical Science.

“I want to study public affairs and eventually work directly in the government to implement reforms and solutions to issues facing our communities. I think that working to solve the issues you see in your community is one of the most rewarding ways a person can spend their time. With so much going wrong in our world, it’s essential that we all find some problem to work on a way to give back,” voiced Lenny.

In his sophomore year, Lenny started to become more aware of the issue of homelessness in the community. So he began to volunteer at a local homeless shelter. Through his experience, he became connected with other members of his church who saw the lack of affordable housing as a serious issue. As a collaborative effort, they founded the Welcoming Neighbors Home as a way to provide direct support to people without homes.

As an avid surfer over the past five years, Lenny further helps the public by saving damaged boards from landfills and repairing them to make brand new boards to decrease the impact that surfing leaves on the environment. By working with the organization Returning Wave, Ryan sends shipments of these boards to donate them to the Philippines for kids who are less fortunate. Also as an active member of Model United Nations, Lenny worked to design an online curriculum and proposed weekly lessons with the class.

While Lenny has accomplished a multitude of achievements throughout his life, he also found a passion in his devotedness to helping others. Through his hobbies, he found small ways to help others which was a rewarding experience.

“I heard a quote somewhere that says, ‘we always overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.’ With my education and work in the community, I have tried to do little things each day to see that my long-range goals come to fruition.”