You may know him as the dynamic morning radio personality on V-103 or the booming voice at Atlanta Hawks home games. But above all else Ryan Cameron is Linnie Beatrice Cameron’s grandson. And “Linnie B.” taught her grandson at an early age about the importance of giving back.
Cameron remembers going with his grandmother to hand out soup and sandwiches to people in need. He was 7 or 8 at the time.
“I would be terrified but it started my give back,” said Cameron.
Through the Ryan Cameron Foundation, Cameron serves young people in Atlanta year-round, giving them opportunities to improve their academic performance, develop leadership skills and volunteer in their communities. Cameron’s foundation recently teamed up with automaker Porsche, Publix and the Atlanta Hawks to give some of Atlanta’s foster children early Christmas presents. Porsche provided the facility and the food for Sunday's event. Publix and the Atlanta Hawks gave gift card to the foster parents.
“I was raised by my grandmother; my mom was a single parent,” he said. “I remember one year her telling us in advance, ‘Guys it’s going to be really tough this year.’ We came down to a tree with decorations and lights and no presents.”
The disappointment, he said, “stuck in my gut,” and inspired Cameron to act.
“That’s why it’s so important for us to do this event for these kids because you are going through the foster program, these aren’t your real parents, and now you are going through the holidays probably not expecting anything,” he said. “That’s a feeling that I never wanted to have happen to anyone else. Watching those kids’ faces, when they walk up on that stage … and they see the stuff on that list, they are true believers.”
Cameron is passionate about giving back to his hometown and will stop at nothing to help young people improve their lives, said Monique Murray, the foundation’s program director.
A product of one of Atlanta’s toughest neighborhoods, Cameron says he was a “C” student in school. He pushes the young people he serves to work hard in school and give back to the community. It’s a lesson he instills in his own children, ages 18, 15 and 13.
“Being from (Atlanta Police Department) Zone 1 – Bankhead — I have a community garden on one end, by Knox Funeral home, with free veggies for anybody, then (on the other end) is my highway cleanup, Adopt-A-Highway, that I’ve had for almost 10 years now,” he said. “You will see me in my community because there are a lot of issues still over there.”
“You have to give back,” says Cameron. “Our motto is ‘Give good, get good.’ ”
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