2006 Award Recipient: Danielle LePon
My name is Danielle LePon Ryckman and I was the first student and youth care professional to have the great honor of receiving the Mattingly Scholarship in 2006. Then I was an aspiring graduate student working towards my Master's in Education with a focus on At-Risk Youth and Prevention at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. I was particularly inspired by the role music could play in building relationships and making connections. I had the wonderful opportunity to co-present on my experiences incorporating music successfully into my work with youth at the North American Child and Youth Care Conference in Montreal. The only challenge was that the travel expenses precluded me from being able to attend while being a full-time student. I truly could not have attended without the support of the Mattingly Scholarship. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn from amazing professionals in the field from all over the world and to practice leadership through sharing what I was learning through my studies and experience.
Prior to co-presenting in Montreal I had the great fortune to participate as a staff in the FICE International Youth Conference in Scotland in 2004 and later present in the FICE International Conference in Sarajevo. Having the opportunity to work with professionals and youth from around the world has been an amazing honor and such a huge inspiration. The inspiration, networking and opportunity to grow in my pursuit of professional leadership was truly priceless.
Since completing my Master's degree I have worked in Non Public School leadership and most recently had the opportunity to open and head a private alternative school called Fusion Academy in the Bay Area. Without amazing opportunities such as the conference in Montreal to round out my educational experience, I would not be the confident, successful leader I am today. I have been truly blessed with support for which I could not be more thankful.
I am thrilled to see that the Mattingly Scholarship continues and I cannot wait to hear about the wonderful opportunities it will provide moving forward for other young professionals who seek to be leaders and make a difference in the world for children and families. I truly hope that with the support of ACYCP along with other wonderful professionals and organizations, the Mattingly Scholarship will continue for years to come so that Martha Mattignly's legacy will continue to support new generations of professionals in developing leadership within our profession.