Longtime community activist, child advocate leaving Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  A longtime resident, community activist, and child advocate is leaving Fort Wayne. Rhonda Ray will join her husband Jonathan Ray in Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Ray announced he would step down as president and CEO of the Urban League in August. He accepted a job in Pittsburgh as Deputy Director of the Propel Schools Foundation after more than 30 years of social work in Fort Wayne.

Rhonda Ray has spent the last 19 years serving foster youth and families in Fort Wayne at the Phoenix Institute. She is described as a dedicated social worker who has served vulnerable youth with passion and tenacity.

“It is a rewarding experience when you have a relationship with foster families and the children,” said Ray.

Ray said hundreds of children and families have come through her office. She is sad to leave Fort Wayne and The Phoenix Institute but said she will continue working with foster care in Pittsburgh.

“This is what I’m good at,” she said. “So I will get there do that, then figure out resources and go from there.”

“Rhonda’s impact on the youth she serves is tremendous,” said Sue Puff, Executive Director of the Phoenix Institute. “She goes above and beyond in caring for people and her youth are extremely attached to her. The absence of Ms. Ray in this community will be a great loss to the foster youth and foster families.”

She is concerned for the future of the foster children that she works with, recognizing a shortage of foster homes and encourages those with an interest to reach out and consider fostering a child.

Her parting advice to co-workers is “to always remember that you are working with people, and that people matter.”  Her last day at the Phoenix Institute is Nov.17.