Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Ron and Krista Mainess: Changing the Future for Greater Dayton Families

Ron and Krista Mainess: Changing the Future for Greater Dayton Families

Story by Konni Lorenz

Krista drives home with two toddlers in the backseat of her Mercury Mystique and waits for her fiancé, Ron, to answer the phone.

“Ron,” Krista begins slowly when he picks up. “I can understand if you don’t still want to get married, but I could not let these 15-month-old twin boys go into the system.

So, I’m bringing them home.”

Earlier that day, Krista’s niece, a 20-year-old single mother, awaited a verdict on her case. Krista sat in the courtroom, supporting her.

The judge ultimately chose to revoke her niece’s parental rights and gave two options for her children: give them to a family member, or they go into the system.

For Krista—and later, Ron—there was really only one option. He and Krista raised the boys for about two years.

Ron vividly remembers this as the moment he realized helping people is in his wife’s DNA. That was in 2000, when Ron and Krista’s story of community support began.

Educating the Community

In 2018, Ron and Krista founded Helping Our Families, a nonprofit supporting single-mother families in Greater Dayton, with the goal of breaking generational poverty.

By day, Ron is director of the Enterprise Project Management Office in Kettering Health’s IT department. The rest of the time, he serves as cofounder and director of operations for Helping Our Families. Krista recently left her job in consulting to support the nonprofit full time as its executive director.

“We want to break generational cycles. That is our mission. That is our focus,” Krista says. “And we want to do that by providing wraparound services to single mothers living in poverty in the Dayton area.”

Today, the nonprofit provides emergency funding, and they offer after-school tutoring for disadvantaged children three days a week in space provided by Kettering Health Dayton. “The hospital continues to provide the space rent free as part of their commitment to giving back to the community and inspiring future health care workers,” says Ron.

Kettering College students decorated the space and have come to after-school sessions to share what a career in health care could look like, Ron says.

Helping Our Families tutors up to 18 middle and high schoolers from the International School at Residence Park. 

The students eat dinner, donated by another local nonprofit, then receive tutoring in English and math.

In the summer, students attend a STEM camp and receive opportunities to help them envision what’s possible for their future.

As a project manager, Ron is comfortable with order and logic. “This is not that,” he says.

“There are opportunities for project management to be applied in things we do, but as we walk through life, moment to moment, it is a matter of prayer and seeking guidance and just continuing to trust.”

Kettering Health employees have supported Helping Our Families through its annual Thanksgiving food drive and Adopt-a-Family Christmas program. In 2023, the nonprofit provided Christmas gifts to 95 children and groceries for Thanksgiving meals to 65 families. Employees have also volunteered as tutors in the after-school program.

“Having an impact on people on a personal level really matters to me,” says Ron. “Being able to have an impact on the community and being an employee of Kettering Health is a double blessing.”

Add new comment