(Milwaukee, WI)— Families in the greater Milwaukee area will benefit from the experience of an Ohio family who has taken their struggles not as defeat, but as a means of defining a better future.

The Center for Self-Sufficiency ( and the Milwaukee County Department of Child Support Services ( hosted a symposium on January 13 and 14 for a group of eleven organizations that are coalition partners in providing services to low income and formerly incarcerated fathers under federal Department of Health and Human Services “Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood” and “Community Centered Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education” grants. The presentation was also attended by a representative from the office of Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.

Milwaukee is tackling the tremendous challenge of reducing recidivism and providing opportunities for success for these families who are impacted by incarceration. The Center and MCCSEA are at the center of this fight. “Our area is facing significant challenges in reducing recidivism and helping fathers to be successful in their families and in employment” noted Angela Turner, President and CEO of the Center. “Our coalition wants to bring in the most effective means to get the job done, and we are excited to work with Ron and Catherine Tijerina to make that happen.”

Ron and Catherine Tijerina, Co-Executive Directors of The RIDGE Project, Inc. ( have helped thousands of families emerge from the grips of generational poverty and incarceration to have healthy and successful futures. The RIDGE Project has shown significant reductions in recidivism and high employee retention rates for graduates of the program, which is centered in Ohio.

It is the desire to see this success replicated that Catherine Tijerina says “motivates us to take our message of hope to communities across the nation.” Ron Tijerina agreed, noting “effective reentry is about realizing that y ou can start over. There’s no such thing as a disposable family. Any family can be saved if you’re willing to work hard and given the opportunity to do so.”

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.