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Learn more about this year's Resiliency Award Winner

Matthew Ricker has always forged his own path. When he was two years old, Matthew contracted meningitis, suffering profound hearing loss in both ears and changes to his speech. Thanks to modern medicine, he received a cochlear implant and speech therapy, enabling him to thrive despite his illness.  


Growing up, Matthew had a teacher who advocated for him, helping to ensure he received the services he needed at school and beyond; she gave him the tools to learn how to advocate for himself. Matthew never hesitated or shied away from challenging experiences. Even as a young person facing his own challenges, Matthew engaged in his community — helping care for his neighbor's foster puppies and volunteering in various capacities at his church.

Later, he immersed himself in student activities at New Rochelle High School and Iona College. In service to the deaf community, Matthew began mentoring children about living with hearing loss, having been inspired himself by the experiences and advice of individuals he met through his hearing loss journey. He continues to volunteer his time, speaking to graduate students at Iona College who are studying deaf education and speech pathology. Word spread about Matthew's valuable insights, and he has since been asked to speak at other Westchester-based higher education institutions.  


Matthew's broadcast experience began as a student at Iona, where he hosted a regular radio show and reported live on the campus TV channel. After graduating from college, Matthew was invited to host a radio show for the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, focusing on local businesses. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Matthew used the show to highlight the struggles facing small businesses; many of them credit Matthew's reporting for their survival. Matthew even expanded his communication support of small businesses with social media posts. He has been integral in planning the annual New Rochelle Thanksgiving Parade. He has served as a broadcast anchor at the event and hosted numerous other galas and events for the chamber. Matthew's latest venture is transitioning the radio show into a podcast.  


When he's not at his "day job," Matthew loves to attend Yankees games, read, swim, and walk his rescue dog Lily while pursuing a master's degree in public relations. Combined with his undergraduate degree in broadcast media, Matthew will be well-poised to pursue his dream career. A career in broadcast media might not seem like the obvious choice for a person of hearing loss, and certainly not the easiest one. But as Matthew himself says, "I never once let my hearing stop me." It is unlikely that it ever will. 

The Volunteer Spirit Awards is the premier volunteer recognition event in our region, with an expected attendance of nearly 600 community leaders, business leaders, and elected officials.

Please join us for a celebration of volunteerism and community on Friday, April 12th, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, NY.

44th Annual Volunteer Spirit Awards

Friday, April 12th, 2024

7:45 AM - 10:00 AM: Registration and Awards Program

10:00 AM: Coffee and Connections in the Legacy Suite

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