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Career Jam Founder Ryan Van Amburgh Passes Away; Company Launches The Student First Project, Inc. in His Honor

Jon Pierce
Pierce Communications
C: 518.221.1186

(Albany, NY)  Career Jam, a company that has inspired over 16,000 students in the Capital Region to explore diverse career pathways, has launched a significant expansion with the establishment of a nationwide non-profit organization, The Student First Project, Inc. in honor of recently deceased company founder and CEO, Ryan Van Amburgh.

The Student First Project’s vision is to transform students' lives by prioritizing their needs, aspirations, and potential. The organization will not only fund existing initiatives through Career Jam but also establish parallel programs in the near future. Aarika Van Amburgh, Ryan’s wife, has been named Executive Director and will be leading the organization and carrying forward the Van Amburgh family values of community and education.

“It’s become more and more evident every day that my husband, Ryan Van Amburgh, impacted the lives of many. I can see clearly how his loving, humble, and generous service to others will have a lasting impact on generations to come,” said Aarika Van Amburgh.

The decision to launch The Student First Project came as Ryan was battling mesothelioma cancer along with other health complications during the past year. Ryan’s family launched a campaign to fund the nonprofit on December 21, 2023, while a hospice nurse was at their house admitting Ryan. The goal was to allow Ryan the opportunity to witness the realization of his dream for the non-profit while he was still alive.

Unfortunately, Ryan passed away at home on Christmas Day with his wife, Aarika, and two children, Carter (17) and Sophie (16 in February) by his side, along with their closest family and friends. The Van Amburgh family believes that The Student First Project will preserve Ryan's legacy and progress his vision into the future. A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered.

In the last seven years, Career Jam has left a lasting impact on the Capital Region’s workforce development pipeline. Over the fall, the company had a dedicated team of professionals who successfully ran two Career Jam events, showcasing commitment to the initiative's continued success.

The expansion aims to take this success to other regions of New York State and beyond. The Student First Project, Inc. will play a pivotal role in achieving Career Jam's goals by invigorating parallel programs and enhancing their nationwide presence.

The Career Jam team, alongside the Van Amburgh family, invites the community to support The Student First Project, Inc. through financial contributions. Donations will help fund initiatives that prioritize students' needs, aspirations, and potential, ensuring that every student has equal access to quality education and opportunities.

Read full appeal letter sent out on behalf of the family. Online donations can be securely made through Zeffy at: Contributions can also be made by checks payable to 'The Student First Project, Inc.' and mailed to The Student First Project, Inc., 1252 Saratoga Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020. The organization also encourages supporters to share this opportunity with their networks.

"Although we grieve our loss, we appreciate you coming alongside us by contributing to make the dreams God put in Ryan’s heart a reality. I have a glimpse of how The Student First Project, Inc. will take Ryan’s vision into the future and carry on his legacy," said Aarika Van Amburgh. 

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