Becoming a Champion
For 37 years, Ruthie Bosch has found her passion in the classroom – first as a Spanish teacher in a Catholic school in Detroit, Michigan, and then as a professor at James Madison University, where she’s been teaching for 13 years.
At JMU, Ruthie works with students in the College of Education as part of the Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities department. It was in this role that she first heard about On the Road and chose to volunteer in our Emerging Teachers, a Career Enrichment Course we have run several times over the years in partnership with the college.
“[Emerging Teachers] was what first introduced me to the program … and I was just so amazed that Miss Reed or any of the other staff at On the Road … could walk into the room, not only know the kid’s name, but know exactly what the kid’s situation was,” Ruthie said. “I just love On the Road, that’s all I can say.”
Ruthie continued to stay connected and volunteer with us in various ways, including as a juror for one of our Mock Jury trials.
Ruthie Bosch during our Mock Jury trial at the Rockingham County Circuit Court.
“That has been one of the highlights of my professional career,” Ruthie said. “Being on a jury was so cool.”
Ruthie has also been involved with other program events, including a fundraiser we did with our Emerging Chefs group at the Little Grill several years ago.
Currently, Ruthie volunteers every fall with us, leading a workshop for our new staff on a topic related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She has also been a regular presenter in our 9th Grade Academy.
“I’ve done it all,” Ruthie said. “And I love it. On the Road is something special, it really is.”
And Ruthie said that’s exactly why she also chooses to give financially to our mission every month as a Champion Giver.
Ruthie with On the Road youth during a Career Enrichment Course.
“I really believe in supporting what is local,” Ruthie said of her choice to give to On the Road. “That’s my own personal belief, and the reason for that is because I know that Brent and Miss Reed and the staff work for these kids … and they do as much as they can for these [youth] with the resources that they have.”
“I see it – I see all the things that they do,” Ruthie said.
When asked what makes On the Road unique, she said that she sees it as more than just a place for youth to go.
“I don’t even know how many kids participated when I was doing the Emerging Teachers, but let’s say that there’s like 70 kids,” Ruthie said. “Those are 70 kids that would be alone at home. But now there’s 70 kids that have young adults that walk with them through a year, and they have a place to be.”
She said it’s also important that On the Road is accessible to youth.
“Miss Reed and Brent have created all those things, and the kids don’t have to go anywhere,” Ruthie said, referencing how our programs are held in the schools, after the school bell rings. “I think the contribution that they make to the well being of those students, academically and socially and emotionally – it’s extraordinary .. because it’s very meaningful and very intentional.”
“This is not a place just to contain these students,” Ruthie added. “That is not what this place is. This is a well oiled machine, in all the good terms of what that is. The pieces fit, the pieces talk to each other … so they can take care of these kids.’”
Ruthie with Deanna Reed and one of our amazing Community Teachers.
Ruthie said she also chooses to be Champion Giver because she sees the true impact On the Road makes.
“One of the things that I always tell my students is that, as teachers, you are called to be an advocate–and I think that’s what On the Road does,” Ruthie said.
“I think the work that On the Road does is to, in whatever way they can, provide some capital–and it doesn’t have to be financial,” Ruthie said. “It might be aspirational or navigational .. like how to fill out a form. But whatever it is, it’s giving something more than what sometimes these [youth] come in with.”
“Each one of those [youth] are different … but each of them is going to walk out of there with something more than they walked in with,” Ruthie added, saying that’s exactly what she wants for our next generation.
“I think it’s … so important that an organization like On the Road provides some skills, navigational skills, academic or whatever, not only to the kids, but sometimes to the parents,” Ruthie said, adding that she also has trust in our organization, which makes it easier to give.
“I’ve been able to see how it all works, and how Brent and Ms. Reed work hard to make it work,” Ruthie said. “And being an educator, I get it. When I go to On the Road, what I see is good instruction, and not about things but about experience.”
“There’s a lot of experiential learning going on,” Ruthie said. “And it’s a community–they’re a family, and I think that’s important.”
Ruthie said she hopes others will continue supporting, in whatever way they can.
Ruthie with our On the Road youth.
“Not everybody has the privilege of saying, ‘I’m going to donate something,’ and we had not been able to do that for many years in our lives,” Ruthie said of her and her husband. “But now, we’re in a place where we can do that, and I just think that people should know that in their local communities, $25 every month makes a difference.”
Ruthie said that by supporting organizations like On the Road, we can all make sure we’re doing what we can to raise our next generation of leaders.
“Not every teacher can do or say something meaningful for every student – it’s not how it is, right?” Ruthie said. “But if every student had one teacher that makes an impact, that can change your life. And with On the Road, I think of all the opportunities these kids have … ones even my own kids didn’t have, like hearing directly from a chef.”
“So, I think that investing in the future, for me, translates —whether in conscious or unconscious ways – into making these [youth] feel that they must be worthy because an investment has been made on them,” Ruthie said.
“And to me, the fact of the matter is that when we donate, it’s an investment–like a stock in the sense that we’re trusting that something good is gonna come out of it.”
“And so if we’re willing to play the stock market, how can you not be willing to invest in the lives of kids?”
Our dedicated group of monthly givers, like Ruthie, knows that they are investing in our future and doing what they can to make sure our youth have access to the opportunities and resources they need to become thriving citizens in our community.
When you choose to become a Champion Giver by giving a recurring donation of any size each month, you’re not just making a lasting impact on our youth–you’re joining a community of like-minded change makers who are building a better future for us all.
Find out more and become a Champion Giver like Ruthie here.