Editor's note: This monthly column highlights youth who are making a difference in our community.
It takes real courage to make a difference in the community. Not everyone will agree with you, but the greatest leaders stand up for what they believe in, even if it's not the most popular. Eagle Valley High School Senior, Rick Ramunno has no problem telling it like it is
"As long as you work hard and are passionate in what you do, there will be people who will look up to you, and of course there will be others that may not," he said.
Ramunno is involved in Eagle Valley High School's Devils Against Destructive Decisions, or DADD, a student group that partakes in alcohol and drug awareness and coordinates safe, healthy activities for students. One of the most memorable activities for Ramunno was the inaugural 4/20 anti-drug rally in Edwards last spring.
"I really enjoyed helping offer alternative activities for local teens who want to have fun without getting high or wasted," he said.
Beyond his work with DADD, Ramunno partakes in a variety of community service activities, including the breast cancer bike race in Vail. Ramunno also serves as vice president of Student Council, plays lacrosse and football, and enjoys hunting and nearly everything there is to do outside. Through his involvement on campus, Ramunno hopes to make Eagle Valley High School and Eagle County at large a better place. He would like to see others continue to build upon what he has done after he leaves.
Ramunno's favorite part about giving back is gaining perspective through learning about others' situations.
One of the most impactful lessons he has learned from serving others is that "there will always be people you don't agree with, but that shouldn't matter as long as you stay true to what you believe."
Ramunno has his pilot's license, and plans to attend Metropolitan State College in Denver to further study Aviation.
Lucy Cummings is the marketing and special projects coordinator at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The coalition tackles three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion, and academic achievement. In addition to supporting the health and well-being of local young people, the coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit www.eagleyouth.org.