Homeless to hero

Before life as a highly esteemed motivational speaker, musician and American soldier, Ryan Stream, an alumnus of Utah Valley University, spent some time living on the streets without a stable home and a true sense of direction. 

“Stream has performed at dozens of school districts, universities, Youth and Adult Correctional facilities including State Prisons. He has been booked for conferences, concerts, and banquets along with church firesides and youth conferences,” states the booking agency Best Keynote. “Stream has also had the privilege to open for different Celebrities, and he was also featured in fitness magazines, Military Valor magazine, LDS magazine, Local news stations, newspapers and on radio talk shows. He was able to sign a music contract with BMI out of California and was voted for the Verizon Wireless Service Award for the United States.”

Ryan Stream studied at UVU from 2010 – 2012 and has especially inspired fellow wolverines. “I feel that this is just another example added to the running list of all the great things that wolverines go on to do,” said Kade Bulanadi, a sophomore studying pre-physical therapy. Stream’s experiences and challenges have shaped the way he is able to influence others. Growing up, his biological parents made decisions that ultimately led them to addiction and incarceration. Consequently, Stream was separated from his siblings and placed into foster care. The final blow to his childhood was when his mother committed suicide. 

According to his biography, “Stream struggled with anxiety, depression and behavioral issues, academic struggles, self-esteem, and difficulty building meaningful relationships.” After high school, Stream turned to substance abuse, leading to multiple arrests and expensive outstanding court fines. Sleeping on friend’s couches and living in his car, “life looked bleak for Ryan.”

Stream enlisted in the United States military in the explosive ordnance disposal division. His job was to search and locate improvised explosive devices along roadways and dispose of them properly in order for convoys to safely drive on roads. Stream was deployed to Afghanistan twice. “Ryan’s platoon had 32 soldiers and 23 were in vehicles that got hit with I.E.D explosions. Sadly, one soldier in his unit was killed in combat,” his website states. 

Post-deployment, his return to Utah proved to be a challenge both for his mental health and his career. Finally given a break from active duty, Stream was able to reflect on his journey and recognize the difficulties he has overcome. 

Stream knew that he wanted a prosperous future for himself and others. A so-called “born storyteller” by the booking agency Best Keynote, Stream looked for ways that he could heal through sharing his experiences – like opening up about his traumatic past in ways that would make people laugh. His mission was to become the best version of himself and to use his talents to elevate others and inspire the next generation. 

Many people have had the opportunity to listen to Stream open up about his struggles and experiences. He travels the country as a motivational speaker and performs music he has composed about his life. 

From growing up in an unstable environment to serving in Afghanistan, Stream further gives back to the nation by using his life experiences and wisdom to help instill discipline, a positive mindset, pride, honor, strength and the joy of serving others. Bulanadi summarized him as “the true archetype of a fierce wolverine.”

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