Small things can make huge differences— and we can all do small things!
Ruth Tschudin enjoys doing small things with great love...while aiming high and thinking big! Take, for example, her Kids’n’Kritters “impossible dream,” which is described on the “About Us” tab of her website: OpenDoorsAGF.org. Her vision of love-filled adoptive homes, for both children and pets, has set the direction for many small steps - and according to Ruth, these are joys and rewards in and of themselves.
“I’m 71 years old,” says Ruth, "so I’ve taken a lot of small steps!” Her first one was in 1965 when she “adopted” her first needy child in India. She soon realized that her personal letters to the child were as life-changing as her financial support... and so, her volunteer work with children expanded.
In addition to teaching third grade for nine years, Ruth volunteered to direct the children’s choir at church, write a town-wide Girl Scout newsletter, and open her home to two Fresh Air Fund children--one an exchange student, and the other a foster child. She also worked with pre-adoptive girls, ages 5 through 12, mentored teenagers, and continued providing support for a succession of children in India. Ruth managed to do all of this, while making her own daughter, Elisa, a top priority.
“I have so much to be thankful for,” says Ruth, “and I strongly believe that to whom much is given, much is required.” So, in 1999 Ruth started an all-volunteer non-profit, Open Doors, an Amazing Grace Foundation, in memory of her beloved mother, Grace. Activities of the foundation have included support for low-cost housing for people in need, small zero-interest loans, scholarships, animal-rescue activities and grants for people and organizations that are making the world a better place.
In 2012 Ruth and her husband, Hugo, moved from New Jersey to Florida to be near family. They are now busier than ever doing what is dearest to their hearts. For Hugo, who will join Ruth on the cruise, it’s helping to keep people positive, energetic and healthy through his books, his website EnergizingLife.com and his free monthly newsletter.
Ruth shares her love of the Bible through studies and storytelling, enjoys her two adorable grandkids, and continues to oversee her non-profit activities. Her most recent endeavor is a Faith-in-Action group that will soon hit the ground running with its Love-of-a-Grandparent program, which matches up caring seniors with children who have no grandparents in their lives.
Ruth Tschudin may never actually reach the stars, but she finds fulfillment in the many strides she takes toward them. Her legacy also includes being a therapy pal to people of all ages and starting an ongoing annual event called Dogfest, which benefits animal rescue. “It’s just another example,” says Ruth, “of how anyone, even the 4-legged among us, can make an amazing difference!”