Wayne County gets Ridge Project Regional Office


Ron and Catherine Tijerina

Wooster is home to RIDGE Project Regional Office

By DAN STARCHER Staff Writer Published: October 16, 2016 4:00 AM  The Daily Record

WOOSTER -- Strong families produce strong children who will pass that legacy of strength to future generations.

That is, in part, the belief of one of Wooster's newest non-profit organizations, The RIDGE Project.

The 501(c)3 corporation was founded in 2000 in Defiance by Ron and Cathy Tijerina. The organization got its start while Ron was serving a 15-year prison sentence, according to their website, and was awarded an Office of Family Assistance (OFA) grant soon after Ron's release in 2006.

"We focus on strengthening families and intensive character development," said Regional Director Japhet Ntia. "Another area we focus on is building positive, healthy relationships."

We deal with communication, gaining understanding and getting a perspective of each other, said Ntia.

The organization also helps individuals become, and stay, employed by providing an opportunity for people who wish to achieve the American dream.

"We also provide case management support, said Ntia. "We focus on turning at-risk individuals into leaders. We have programs for businesses; workforce development for at-risk employees."

Sense of entitlement is addressed in sessions, stresses a new way of thinking.

"We address their way of thinking, said Ntia. "People feel they are entitled to a paycheck, they feel they are owed something. We are involved with a couple of businesses and we are having an incredible outcome."

"It is a universal principle, every person should focus on strengthening the family," Ntia said. "Communication and character is a key component. Then you have to figure out a way to sustain your family, that is where workforce development comes in."

The non-profit partners with other agencies to provide additional services.

"We work with the courts, sheriff, justice department and we also do classes in the county jail," said Ntia. "We refer a lot of people to community service providers."

The transition from a broken lifestyle into a successful lifestyle can be achieved.

"People are frightened at the amount of effort it takes to succeed," said Ntia. "Many give up and when children see that, it starts to span over generations. Children see parents not succeeding and that creates a psychological gap between success and failure."

"We intervene and instill ethics and provide the tools needed to be successful."

More information regarding The Ridge Project can be found on their website theridgeproject.com.

Reporter Dan Starcher can be reached at dstarcher@the-daily-record.com. He is @danstarcher on Twitter.