It’s rare to meet a high school student who has his future planned out, but that is most definitely the case with Ryan Ziyuan Qu.
Ryan is a 16-year old sophomore at San Marino High School from Los Angeles who has big plans to make a difference. Ryan grew up in Beijing, China. His parents divorced when he was five, and Ryan and his mother immigrated to the United States when he was 10 years-old.
“My mom was unemployed for a while after the first company she worked with shut down, so it was really hard,” Ryan said. “As a single parent, she made incredible sacrifices to raise me. She didn’t speak English very well, and in the United States, it’s very difficult to get a job without linguistic capabilities. But one company decided to take a chance on her.”
She still works for that same company today and has since taken over the managerial position.
“I began thinking about the economic hardships so many immigrants and single parents face, and how that one local business gave my mother an opportunity to support our livelihood in America,” he said. “I decided it was time for me to serve the needy and give back to the community that supported us.”
In January 2020, Ryan founded Support and Assistance for Single Parent Families, a nonprofit organization (NGO) whose mission is to assist and support single families through donations, employment opportunities and legislative reform.
Recently, the organization led an initiative to support single families impacted by COVID-19. Ryan led a care package drive, gathering individual donors, assembling baskets that include personal protective equipment (PPE), and delivering these care packages worth nearly $2,500 to single families in low income neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
Ryan has big plans to continue to expand his NGO after college. His goal is to attend a four-year university and then pursue a master’s of business administration. To support his aspirations, he was seeking out opportunities to take advanced coursework. His counselor referred him to Apex Learning Virtual School where he was able to take AP® Psychology and AP® Microeconomics.
“The ALVS courses were awesome,” Ryan said. “They make it very easy to learn, very instructional and provide you with everything you need for the AP® exam. I was able to reference nearly everything for the exam directly from the course. I would recommend the ALVS AP® courses to anyone who is interested in advanced coursework.”
When Ryan is not studying, volunteering or running his NGO, he can be found playing varsity football as a defensive lineman or attaining his Eagle Scout rank through the Boy Scouts of America.
“For my Eagle Scout project, I partnered with another local nonprofit in east Los Angeles to provide furniture that single parent families in need could use,” he said. “It was an incredible experience.”
Ryan also participates in the speech and debate program at his school, and he ranked #28 in the state of California for policy debate last year.
A recent winner of the ALVS Jack Russo Scholarship, Ryan plans to take the ALVS AP Statistics course this summer. To learn more about Ryan’s inspirational story, check out his scholarship application video below.