RYM! Featured Partner: Clara Ward


Born in Waycross Georgia, the second of eight children, Clara Ward has always had a strong faith and quiet strength. This has always been “Clara’s Way.” Whether she was cooking and cleaning for her extended family (over 30 people) at the tender age of eight -- or working as a nanny and housekeeper for a well-to-do family at age twelve -- serving others has always been second nature to her. Clara’s strength of character, perseverance and unshakable faith have guided her through many trials in her life -- including various forms of abuse, poverty and a serious physical illness (myasthenia gravis) that has weakened her legs, but not her resolve to help others in need.  Experiencing first-hand the heartache of abuse and neglect, Clara has always made it her mission to help the less fortunate in her community. Newspaper stories have captured much of Clara's journey. In 2007, ErieAlityTV.com introduced Clara to ABC/ Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which united the community in an overwhelming movement of generosity and service that not only built Clara a home and center to continue her work, but aided many in her neighborhood.

CONTACT: Clara@ClarasWay.com

Question 1: Purpose and Mission
My mission is to save as many at-risk children as I can. I will do whatever I can with what little means I have to mentor the children who come through our doors. My mission is to love them, listen to them, guide them, feed them and encourage them to stay in school and become self-sustaining as adults.

Question 2: What does success look like? (Vision)
Success is when you have set a goal, big or small, and you work hard to accomplish what you set out to do. Don’t give up, keep your eyes on the goal and you’ll achieve it.

Question 3: Power
Our inner thoughts and spirit have great power. We should always be motivated to do good – to love one another. If you have inner-strength, you project that to others and you can communicate with them heart to heart. My power? It seems children are drawn to me. I love them and they listen to me. I always try to teach them to love themselves and others. They listen to me … I suppose that’s a gift.

Question 4: Limitations
In my case, being that I am physically handicapped and I am on a fixed income, and because the children I serve are underprivileged, I suppose my limitation is money. It’s not a lack of drive or will to do good and serve others; it’s just that we need more funds to help more children. My own children have told me that even if I was rich, I wouldn’t be for long because I’d give it all away to help the kids.

Question 5: Need to Overcome
More volunteers and more funding would help us serve more children. Our goal is to give them love and guidance, let them know they are important, allow them to have dreams and accomplish them. The same spirit of giving that inspired the community to build this new home and center is the same spirit we need to help these children in the future. Human kindness and self-giving would help us fulfill our mission.

Question 6: Plan
My plan is to start getting people together to help us organize funds and volunteers so we can map out a strategy for success. “Many hands make light work.” Now that I have this beautiful facility for the children, we need others to share their ideas, skills and talents to help us minister to these children and families in need.

Question 7: Helping Others
I am always encouraging people to give of their time and resources. Come out, spend time with these kids, show your love and make our community and this world a better place. The pressures of this culture bring these children down. We need to support one another always. If we work together and love one another, we can change the world.

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