Gala 2019

The RIDGE Project’s 6th Annual Gala

Thursday, April 16, 2019 / The Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

Mansfield, OH:   The RIDGE Project’s 6th Annual Gala, held at the Historic Ohio Reformatory was truly a night to remember. Ron Archer, delivered a moving and hope filled keynote address following opening remarks from Ron and Cathy Tijerina, Co-Executive Directors of The RIDGE Project. 

During the evening The RIDGE Project was proud to recognize several local heroes with our annual TYRO HERO Awards. Our 2019 list of winners included: Reuben Santos (TYRO Entrepreneurship Hero Award), Karen Noe (TYRO Faith-In-Action Hero Award), Frank Torrez (Volunteer Extraordinaire), Blake & Brandon Tijerina (TYRO HEROES), and Jennifer Black (Kelleh Konteh Award). 

“The entire evening was amazing; from our TYRO testimonials, to the donor testimonials to our keynote speaker, Ron Archer. We truly could not have asked for a better event,” said Cathy Tijerina, Co-Executive Director of The RIDGE Project . “The sold out crowd was incredible in their support of the children and families of incarcerated parents. It was a perfect storm of advocates, donors, facilitators, politicians and elected officials coming together to make a difference. It was our honor and privilege to be surrounded by so many amazing people and to be able to recognize some local heroes doing such incredible work with our annual TYRO Hero Awards.”

We would like to recognize and thank some of the amazing businesses that helped make our 6th Annual Gala Possible. Molina Healthcare, GEM Energy, Pro Media Foundations, Sherwood State Bank, Fortman Insurance & CMC Group. We cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support of our mission and the hope your generosity provides to the children and families of incarcerated parents.


About the RIDGE Project

Founded in 2000, The RIDGE Project is a Christian, non-profit organization dedicated to empowering generational responsibility in individuals and improving the lives of families throughout the state of Ohio. Our organization believes that strong families produce strong children, who will pass on that legacy of strength to future generations.

TYRO Entrepreneurship HERO: Reuben Santos

This award is to recognize businesses and business owners that have been es­pecially noteworthy in supporting the reentry process through employment, training, leadership, or philanthropy. It is awarded to an individual who has achieved success as an entrepreneur, and paved the way for others to achieve their dreams.

TYRO Faith-in-Action HERO: Karen Noe

Living out one’s faith and demonstrating a commitment to service that goes beyond words is something we all strive for. This award is to honor those who exemplify being the hands and feet of Jesus by selflessly serving others. It is awarded to an individual who is an ambassador of hope to the hopeless.

Volunteer Extraordinaire: Frank Torrez

This award is presented to an individual who has dedicated their life to help­ing others. Awardees are honored for serving others with their investment of time, talents, and energy. Recipients of this award have volunteered at least 100 hours and have contributed to the transformation of the lives they so dil­igently serve.

TYRO HERO: Blake and Brandon Tijerina

Since 1993, when The RIDGE Project’s Co-Founder, Ron Tijerina, became the first “TYRO,” over 40,000 additional men and women have completed the TYRO program. This award is to recognize someone from within the TYRO ranks who has demonstrated a commitment to the TYRO ideal and has proven to be someone worth following.

Khelleh Konteh Award: Jennifer Black

This award recognizes innovation, passion, and commitment. It is named in honor of Mr. Khelleh Konteh, a man who has dedicated his career to correc­tions and rehabilitation with over 30 years of faithful service, and who was among the first wardens to bring the TYRO program into a correctional facili­ty. The award goes out to an individual from the corrections community who demonstrates vision and commitment to helping others achieve true rehabili­tation and successful reentry.

Did you know..

Approximately 50,000 men and women are incarcerated in the state of Ohio? Perhaps you, or someone you love, has been affected by incarceration. For the past 17 years, The RIDGE Project has been working to stop generational cycles of incarceration by offering it’s nationally recognized, award-winning program inside prisons, county jails, juvenile detention centers, and reentry facilities in Ohio and across the nation. The program, called TYRO, focuses on keeping families intact and preparing men and women to lead their children into a future defined by hope.

​​​The RIDGE Project has been fortunate in receiving multiple state and federal grants, but still, hundreds of men, women and youth are on waiting lists, hoping for a chance to participate. Your ticket purchase, and additional support, will help us to expand services into institutions and communities that have a desperate need, and desire, to create positive change through the TYRO program.