Ricky M. – Skating Past Obstacles Posted on May 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm. The way Ricky F. arrived at the Board of Child Care in 2007 will look nothing like how he will leave. “We had stopped at McDonald’s for dinner and I was in the car with a cup of sweet tea held between my knees. We hit the speed bump by the front gate and the cup smashed and spilled all over my pants,” Ricky said with a smile. “I had to change in the bathroom right by the front desk.” Nine years later, he prepares to leave BCC – with clean pants this time, he assures us – ready for living independently. “I was angry at leaving home and having to come live in a home,” Ricky recalls, “but I think a lot of maturity comes with age if you try to grasp it.” SETBACKS TURN INTO COMEBACKS “When I met him a year ago, school wasn’t working out the way he hoped and no one was calling him back for the various jobs he applied to,” says Grace Rudatsikira, Ricky’s clinical social worker at BCC. “(Then) everything seemed to align – there was a definite “click” moment.” What clicked was Ricky’s ability to process what was going on around him. Instead of roller coasting through peaks and valleys, he steadied himself by controlling his emotions. Now living in BCC’s Colesville, MD group home, Ricky is an accomplished skateboarder and snowboarder. He taught himself how to play guitar – first learning small riffs – before moving on to a few chords and eventually entire songs. His music has been a steady fixture at BCC campus gatherings, holiday parties, and Thanksgiving meals. FONDEST MEMORIES Ricky earned a scholarship to High Cascade Camp in Oregon, a week of learning from and interacting with professional snowboarders. “You’d be up 10,000 feet above sea level, the clouds would roll in and you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of your face,” Ricky says. “We’d go down the tail at 30 mph. Amazing.” “I also still remember my first paycheck…it was $115.36. I bought a wireless router and an X-Box Live subscription,” Ricky says. When asked what he is most proud of during his time at BCC, Ricky’s answer comes without hesitation. “Being there to cut the ribbon for the skateboard park on campus,” he says quickly. An avid skateboarder (and we must assume an excellent salesperson as well), Ricky’s advocacy for the construction of skateboard parks at the Baltimore and Martinsburg campuses pushed those projects to the finish line in 2014. “Skateboarding was a huge part of my life when I was in Cottage Four and I figured a skate park would be a great way to get kids some activity, get them out of the way of cars,” Ricky says. GIVING BACK The young boy covered in sweet tea is now a young man who sees himself as a role model for younger residents. Helping them make the same small steps he once struggled with is what makes Ricky smile. “Having someone to answer questions big and small means a lot,” Ricky says. “You’ll always have more chances to progress forward no matter what situation you’re in but what makes the biggest difference is what you do while you’re here.” This story first appeared in our 2015 Annual Report (see all past annual reports here).