Refuge Ridge Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in the year 2000 through the efforts of teachers, students and parents looking for a vehicle to help children overcome challenges inherent when living in poverty. These challenges include but are not limited to drug and alcohol abuse leading to early involvement in the juvenile justice system, academic challenges, lack of recreational activities and truancy issues due to large blocks of time without adult supervision.
In 2002 after being reminded by her 5th grade Science class to never use the word “Can’t” Topanga, Kia and Couie were brought to Refuge Ridge Inc. when Marty was unable to find another organization able to take the wolf dogs. Marty had been alerted to the animals condition when a student’s parent saw the starving animals enclosed in a back yard. Before and After pictures of Topanga, Kia and Couie can be found on the Rescues site.
It was Marty’s husband Ward Wilson and his friend Eddie Moses who wanted to be able to have adventure-based camps available free to the children in Bell, Whitley, Knox and Laurel Counties. They had spent much of their lives coaching t-ball and softball as well as mentoring youth at risk of failure. Through the generosity of Roger and Phyllis Sherman this coming summer the Ward Wilson camps and other programs of Refuge Ridge will have a permanent home. Ongoing updates and pictures are being posted by Becky Parman on the Roger and Phyllis Sherman site.
Over 43 animals (including 16 wolf dogs) have found a permanent refuge at the Ridge. Resources such as Animal Assisted Therapy and Clicker Training have been brought in to assist in strengthening the human/animal bond and facilitate healing for children who have experienced violence and loss. Other “angels” are making it possible for children to attend without charge and are helping to build the habitat for Graylyn, Canada, Moose and Cocheeta which will be directly visible from the center.
Board Members are : Marty Wilson, Gerri VanOver, Nannie Hays, Sharon & Rex Mobley and Connie Howard.
Advisory board members include: Roddy Harrison Williamsburg Mayor, Dr. Michael Culver Veterinarian, Loren Connell Director of Instruction WISD, Family Court Judge Cathy Prewitt , Debra Moses Engineer
Refuge Ridge is located in South-eastern Kentucky working for the welfare of children and animals in order to create a unique program where both can flourish.