Whether in his professional career or his personal life, Ryan Calococci, CTPO likes to surround himself with people who are smart, care about what they’re doing and want to give back. Whether working at Scottish Rite Hospital or volunteering with a local summer camp, Ryan has been able to associate with like-minded people. And about a year ago, he was introduced to another opportunity, this time with ABC.
Ryan attended his first Academy meeting in 2016 and calls it an eye-opening experience. He’s been working at Scottish Rite for nine years and this was his first time seeing the full scope of the orthotics and prosthetics profession. “I was blown away,” he says. “To see what people are doing was incredible – and I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved with ABC.” Call it fate, but 10 minutes later Ryan and Robert Carlisle, an ABC-certified technician and volunteer, were at the ABC booth discussing the organization’s need for technicians. Within 30 minutes, Ryan had signed on to the Technician Practice Analysis Task Force to help with the technician practice analysis process.
ABC is not Ryan’s first foray into volunteer work. For the last four summers he has volunteered at a week-long summer camp for children with hand differences sponsored by Scottish Rite. Calling it one of his favorite weeks of the year, he loves watching the life-changing transformation the attendees go through being surrounded by people just like them – and being encouraged to have no boundaries.
Summer camp is a four-year process for teens 13-17, so this year was Ryan’s first ‘graduation’. He’s seen nine attendees go from being hesitant to try new experiences to become, as he calls them, ‘shining stars’ and mentors who are capable of more than they ever thought. As tough as it was to watch nine of his first campers graduate, he also reflects on the enormity of the moment: “Whenever I leave camp, my heart batteries are recharged to the top – and I draw upon that energy throughout the year.”
Although Ryan claims to have limited experience volunteering, he loves the idea of “doing things not for money or yourself, but for others.” He adds that it opens new doors and builds relationships. Expect Ryan to volunteer more at ABC: he closed his interview by saying, “I intend to do more of it.”