Deana Ruggieri is founder of GROWTH Foundation, a non-profit organization in Hollywood that provides services to at-risk youth, and she is co-author of Children of War: The Mike Rodriguez Story, the true story of one young man’s struggle to heal the wounds of child abuse and break the cycle of addiction. A guiding principle of GROWTH is that belief in oneself becomes possible when one is believed in.
GROWTH Foundation fulfills its charitable mission by helping youth secure the tools to stop self-destructive behavior. Children of War provides a platform through which victims of child abuse and drug addiction tell their stories to facilitate healing. A portion of each sale of Children of War: The Mike Rodriguez Story is dedicated to a scholarship fund in his name to help youth achieve their personal and educational goals.
GROWTH Foundation provided youth with a dynamic after school program, with round the clock academic and support services to local youth in need. Deana lead young people in numerous volunteer activities in an effort to connect disenfranchised youth with their community. GROWTH spearheaded projects such as Care for the Canyon, and P.U.P, and participated in programs including Girl Scouting, NBA’s Read to Achieve, Police Activities League, Hope for the Homeless and the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Hollywood. Deana served on the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, and the Woman’s Club of Hollywood, where she created and provided oversight for enriching community improvement projects.
Prior to founding GROWTH, Deana enjoyed teaching special education for emotionally disturbed girls in Hollywood. During her tenure Deana was an effective faculty member and was promoted to Lead Teacher. In keeping with her life-long work as an advocate and volunteer, Deana inspired students by introducing Nature Appreciation to the curriculum. She founded the Ladybug Litter Clean-up Crew and the Top of the Mountain Club in an effort to teach nature conservation, litter prevention and public service.
Deana earned a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from California State University Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.