Founded in 2005, Ruth’s Way, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Achievement Consulting Agency for at-risk young women ages 12-21 throughout the Pittsburgh area and Allegheny County. Ruth’s Way specializes in behavioral health issues and works with young women experiencing past trauma, helping them mature into healthy, independent leaders.
The goal of Ruth’s Way is to empower female youth and their families in the most disadvantaged communities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County by showing them that regardless of their past or current situation, they CAN achieve successful futures. The organization’s mission is to help young women achieve long-term success as ethical, virtuous women of society using their unique method of Achievement Consultation.
Ruth’s Way is the only Achievement Consulting Agency for adolescent females in the world. Ruth’s Way believes that each young woman needs a specialized success plan to fit her unique journey and structures plans around its three core values of Family, Friendship, and Faithfulness.
Ruth’s Way Programs:
Ruth’s Way refers to programs as “Forums” and is intentional about not talking “at” students. Instead, Ruth’s Way Forums have interactive conversations with students. Ruth’s Way Forums include:
- Life Skills Just for Girls, an effective, positive alternative to addressing and preventing behavioral health issues among female youth, including classes on appropriate business attire, mock job interviews, personal finance management, possible consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, and signs of domestic violence and how to seek appropriate resources. (Similar lessons are incorporated into individual Forums, such as the Job Readiness and Employment Soft Skills Forum and the Smart Money Management Financial Literacy Forum.)
- Junior Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Development, which includes general rules of formal presentations and impromptu talks.
- Make Math Marvelous, a collaborative that utilizes the Get More Math curriculum.
- Marvelous Mentoring, which pairs each participant with a female volunteer mentor, ideally one that works in the participant’s desired career field. Mentors work one-on-one with participants to ensure that they succeed as individuals, provide positive encouragement, and serve as successful role models.
Outside of the classroom, each participant and her family works with an Achievement Consultant as part of Ruth’s Way’s Achievement Consultation to develop positive and communicative relationships. The Achievement Consultation Program is the most integral part of the organization and often serves low-income families dealing with past trauma, abuse, and untreated behavioral health issues. Achievement Consultation involves engaging in reciprocal conversations with female youth and their families to support them in determining the best plan of action for their unique situation. Ruth’s Way does not engage in traditional case manager practices. Achievement Consultants help youth and families reach healthy self-reliance by creating personalized Family Development Plans based on the family’s needs. Instead of using generic solutions, Achievement Consultants encourage each participant to form her own empowering plan for success and self-sufficiency. Additionally, Ruth’s Way’s innovative “Blueprint-To-Achievement” is the process in which young ladies are shown how to properly identify and appropriately address their barriers to success, so that they will be able manage future adversities through healthy self-reliance and become productive problem-solvers.
This holistic approach has proven productive and successful over the 14 years that Ruth’s Way has provided services. In 2017, 100% of participants showed some level of improvement in their negative behaviors, which contributed to reduced repetitive negative behaviors in female youth overall; 0% of their participants re-entered their forums nor were they referred to any other programs regarding prior negative behaviors; 0% were placed in facilities; 100% increased their student achievement; and 100% displayed the skill of using their own self-reliance and personal resources vs. forum dependence.
Why it Works:
Ruth’s Way’s most popular program, the Life Skills Just for Girls Forum, teaches essential skills to at-risk young women using a holistic approach that teaches its own unique combination of essential life elements. The Forum:
- Includes the spiritual, physical, financial, and mental aspects of healthy lifestyles
- Teaches young women the skill of healthy self-reliance
- Talks with young women instead of at them
At Ruth’s Way values the importance of healthy, strong family units and gender-specific programming.
Ruth’s Way enrolls program participants through referrals from probation officers, family members, teachers, and school administrators. As an official Pittsburgh Public Schools Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Partner, they offer their services and Forums in local schools to female students displaying behavioral health issues (including violent behavior, self-harm, mental illness, and the effects of trauma/abuse) and those at risk of dropping out.