NOTE: 2016 Gala information coming soon! Available sponsorship opportunities for The RIDGE Project’s 2016 Gala Event will be announced in early January.
We look forward to another great event in 2016. We have an exciting event planned, with a Columbus, Ohio venue and President/CEO of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey. We look forward to seeing you in 2016!
In 2013 the Ohio Legislature passed a resolution designating April to be the Forgotten Victims of Crime awareness month. The event, titled A Night to Remember, was dedicated to raising awareness and support for this group, which consists of the children and families of the incarcerated. The event name, A Night to Remember, was chosen to highlight the significance of incarceration to the family unit by spending an evening in an unforgettable place, the Mansfield Reformatory.
The nearly 200 guests packed the reformatory and had the opportunity to hear directly from some of the families that The RIDGE Project serves. Daniel Williams, a formerly incarcerated man who turned his life around while completing The RIDGE Project’s TYRO program, spoke about what makes the organization different from others. He stated, “It’s the knowledge of how much the staff and facilitators care, and how far they are willing to go for you, that makes the program - and this organization - different.” Christina Beauford, the wife of a former RIDGE client who served time in an Ohio prison, credited The RIDGE Project for saving her family. She remarked, “You can never imagine what you have done for our family and for families all across Ohio.”
Comedian Jeff Allen highlighted the entertainment for the evening. His comedic style combined clean, hilarious humor with a dash of inspiration. Jeff’s Happy Wife, Happy Life message of a marriage gone wrong and then redeemed, provided laughter and encouragement to the audience. The comedian’s previous major appearances include starring in the critically acclaimed film, Apostles of Comedy, being featured in the Warner Bros. comedy film, Thou Shalt Laugh, the one‐hour comedy special, Happy Wife, Happy Life, appearances on both the Odyssey Channel and Family Net, and a two‐time featured performer at the National Prayer Breakfast and featured performer for George W. Bush’s inauguration.
Several memorable awards were given during the evening. The annual Kellah Konte Award went to ODRC Northeast Regional Director Todd Ishee. The award recognizes individuals who have positively impacted incarceration and recidivism through forward thinking and collaborative efforts. RIDGE also recognized retiring Warden Bennie Kelly for his outstanding achievements during his nearly 30 years of service within the Ohio prison system. Finally, the organization presented their annual employee of the year award to longtime employee Elizabeth Brown. RIDGE Co-Executive Director Cathy Tijerina commended Brown by saying, “It was you who stood in front of me in those early years, not letting me give up. It was you who helped us fight for our family. Because of that, we now get to fight for other families.”
The RIDGE Project and founders Ron and Catherine Tijerina also received recognition during the evening when two commendations were issued to them by both the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives. Former Senator Lynn Wachtmann presented the certificates on behalf of the parties issuing the commendations. The proclamations recognized RIDGE for its 15 years of serving Ohioans and engaging in an “array of worthwhile activities and initiatives,” which Wachtmann noted as being an understatement in light of all that has been accomplished in just 15 years. The recognition was a surprise to RIDGE members and the Tijerinas.
The event raised funds to help The RIDGE Project enhance our services to clients, as well as launched an initiative calling for support of clergy in ministering to those in prison. We look forward to hosting another memorable event next year. More details will soon be available, so keep checking back or sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch!