Ryan Reese and his 5-year old son Ryan Reese Jr
Ryan Reese and his 5-year-old son Ryan Reese, Jr.

Ryan

Father, Role Model, Public Servant

“Metropolitan has a passion for giving back to the community and helping families. They were role models for me. At Metropolitan I saw people do productive things, and got to know what type of life a person should be able to live in this tough world. It was a life-changing experience.”

I grew up in Roseland, the oldest of four siblings. My mother was a single parent. It is extremely hard for a female to teach a man to be a man. There were a lot of things I had to learn on my own. But it’s nice when you have Metropolitan Family Services to give you opportunities.

When I was young, Metropolitan offered many services at nearby grammar schools. My mom made sure we participated. We went to programs that promoted family interaction. We did things we couldn’t normally do at home when my mom was away working. It helped us enjoy family time and really brought us together.

They presented me with opportunities I didn’t even know existed. I had no idea what was going on outside of Roseland. I didn’t know about college or what I was going to do after high school. I didn’t even know how to interview for jobs. They helped me understand that I could go to college.

In 2008 and 2011, I lost two of my best friends to gun violence. It motivated me to try to make a change in the city of Chicago and help kids growing up. I took on the challenge by becoming a Chicago police officer.

I have a personal motivation to save not only my own child but others’ children. Your child. Anyone. That’s where it starts. Hopefully, as a police officer I can have a positive influence in our community.

There are situations where I’m not only an enforcer of the law; I’m a mentor, a helping hand to influence and let people know they don’t have to lead a negative life.

You can make excuses and use negative stuff to say “I don’t care, I’m going to do whatever I want to do.” Or you can use that as motivation to say, “You know what, I’m going to change. I’m not going to become a statistic. I’m not going to get caught up in these streets. I’m not going to do it.”

“Metropolitan offers a great opportunity to get a different perspective on life. There’s more to the world than just the neighborhood. The faster people realize this, the more lives will be saved.”