Elkhorn nonprofit Children's World Impact helps local, global communities

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Andrea Anderson
Sunday, August 17, 2014

ELKHORN—Starting as soon as October, an Elkhorn nonprofit will be working with a national nonprofit to give children in Rock and Walworth counties a temporary home while their parents work through hardship.

“We're trying to connect people who want to help with the people who need the help, and right now there is not a conduit, necessarily, to connect those two paradigms,” said Tyson Ray, co-founder of the Elkhorn non profit Children's World Impact.

Children's World Impact will work with the national nonprofit Safe Families for Children.

Unlike foster care, children will be placed with a family for a set period of time while the parents get back on their feet and are reunited. A single mother without family support might need to have surgery and be in the hospital for a month, for example. The mother could request her child be placed temporarily with one of the “safe” families.

Ray stressed there is nothing wrong with foster care.

“The whole purpose is to try and save a child from the system, save a mom from having to feel like she's had to give up and turn her kids over to foster care … The idea is to save a child and redeem a parent and let mom get back on her feet,” he said.

Since 2005, Safe Families has been helping families overcome obstacles and reducing the number of children entering the state system. There are Safe Families partnerships in Madison and Milwaukee. Its headquarters is in Chicago.

Safe families are approved by social services and are not paid. The Elkhorn nonprofit will be working with local law enforcement and other nonprofits to find parents in need and place the children in qualified homes, Ray said.

Children's World Impact plans to work with organizations such as ECHO, food pantries and Open Arms Free Clinic to help families in other areas of need.

Working with Safe Families is an extension of Children's World Impact general purpose: breaking the cycle of poverty by helping orphans and widows across the globe.

Children's World Impact was founded in 2006 by Ray and his wife, Jenny Ray. The couple and volunteers make annual trips to Africa and Haiti.

The nonprofit is building a school in the village of Ullo in the northwestern region of Ghana.

The school will house preschool, kindergarten and a daycare for the children of widows. The school is a safe place for the children to get a quality education while the parents are working.

The school is part of a larger project that began three years ago to help widows from seven surrounding villages gain steady income, independence and hope through an economic infrastructure built by the women with the help of the nonprofit.

In three years, the organization has built a plant to process native shea nuts into butter and oil to be sold at local markets, constructed a well between the villages to package water for sale and provided bakery equipment to make bread.

The foundation of the school was laid in June. The organization raised nearly $40,000 and needs to raise $10,000 more to complete the project, Ray said.

Since 2011, Children's World Impact has been taking medical teams to Haiti annually to treat 500 to 700 patients in four days. They've also built a school and a boys home at an orphanage in Haiti.

“I think that somewhere deep down inside of us we all have a desire to make a difference,” Ray said.

Ray, a financial advisor, says America's definition of success is more--more homes, more cars and more money. Years ago, when he helped a family member adopt a baby girl, he found a new definition.

“I found in that definition of success there wasn't enough, but there was something so fulfilling in seeing this little girl's life was changed forever. And I wanted to help more.”

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