FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2014
Contact: Jeremy Otte,
Director of Communications and Public Affairs 419-278-0092
Columbus, Ohio – State Non-Profit Hosts Star Studded Event at Villa Milano
The RIDGE Project event raises over $100,000 to expand services to "Forgotten Victims of Crime."
Legislators, philanthropists, representatives from the entertainment industry, major state employers, prison officials, ministers, national evaluators and researchers, and social service agencies convened at the Villa Milano on the evening of April 29th. In 2013 the Ohio Legislature passed a resolution designating April to be the Forgotten Victims of Crime awareness month, and this event – titled Out of Sight, was dedicated to raising awareness and support for this group, which consists of the children and families of the incarcerated. The name Out of Sight was chosen because all too often the families of the incarcerated live in the shadows of society, where they are vulnerable and have little social supports.
The nearly 300 guests had the opportunity to hear directly from some of the families that the RIDGE Project serves. Damien Beauford, a former RIDGE Project client who served time in an Ohio prison credited The RIDGE Project for saving his family. "[The RIDGE Project] ignited in me the traits of being a good man, and because of their influence, I now can call myself a great dad and a great husband. My life today isn't about me, it's about what my family needs me to be." He shared some special news with the group, adding "I now want everything for her [his partner] and nothing for myself. And I'm blessed, she wants the same thing. We are getting married in May, and I owe so much of what we have become to The RIDGE programming."
The co-founders and co-directors of The RIDGE Project, Ron and Catherine Tijerina also received a commendation from Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted. The commendation, read, in part, "May your good and honorable work continue and stand as a measure for those who follow, inspiring them to believe in and work for the betterment of the lives of the people and communities throughout the state of Ohio." The presentation was made by Monique Cox-Moore, Minority Outreach Coordinator for the Secretary of State. After presenting the Tijerinas with the commendation, Ms. Cox-Moore, spoke directly to the clients of The RIDGE Project who were in attendance. "I have a message to bring you directly from Secretary Husted. Even if you've been to prison, you still have the right to vote – use it!" Materials from the Secretary of State's office were then made available to RIDGE Project clients on their right to vote.
Scott Beck, who has served as COO of Blockbuster, CEO of Boston Market, and founding investor in several successful tech companies like Ancestry.com keynoted the event. He shared that in his current role as founder and CEO of technology firm, Gloo, he is leading a charge to harness the power of technology to increase the impact and effectiveness of social services, organizations, and individuals who strive to help others grow (groups that he termed "Champions). "There are some really amazing and exciting things happening with technology right now, and we are really at a unique point in time where the desperately necessary is meeting the suddenly possible – and that's when truly amazing things can happen."
One of the most poignant moments during the evening was when RIDGE co-founder and co-director, Catherine Tijerina, recounted a moment in her life when a local youth had gotten into trouble with the law and was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison. The youth had grown up with a father who had been incarcerated. "Someone remarked to me, 'I saw that coming.'" "When is enough, enough," Tijerina continued. "When will we as a society stop observing generational destruction, and start diving in front of young people who are headed to their own destruction?" "This has to end" added RIDGE co-founder and co-director, Ron Tijerina. "We are so blessed to be able to serve families – stopping their destruction and helping to build a new legacy. We are also so excited, because we are partnering with Gloo to use technology to enhance and scale our programs, so that more hurting families can receive the help that they need."
The event raised over $100,000 to help the RIDGE Project enhance their services to clients through technology. The RIDGE Project is a Christian, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 2000 that provides services through partnerships with churches, schools, and state and national agencies to serve the youth and families of Ohio. Additionally, the organization strives to inform individuals, communities, the media and local and national policy makers of the importance of strong families. The organization has been recognized as a federal Department of Health and Human Services "Best Practice" program, and has been identified nationally as a leader in family and youth services.