Journey with Me

I cannot help but believe I have to do something. When over 60% percent of kids who “Age Out” of the system go homeless, I am drawn to act.

For 30 days in January, with God’s help, I will be homeless. I plan on living downtown in Dayton, sleeping out of a van. I will not report to work, and spend as much time possible touching those who are without.

By the way, I would not be doing this if Beth, my wife did not share in this burden… She is with my boys who I will see different times through the week while on the journey… the hardest part about this, is not being with them… I pray this will be a testimony to my boys that Faith without works is dead.

My mission is simple:

1. Raise awareness by giving an inside vantage point of what it is like to live without a home.

2. Bring renewal to my own spiritual life, and to the lives of those who follow.

3. Raise support for New Family Tree Ministries who are providing and furnishing housing for kids who are “AGING OUT” of the system and have no where to call home.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16

I am asking people to give and support this effort by contributing as much as they possibly can in order to bring relief to this issue.

Each year thousands of vulnerable youth across the nation turn 18 and “age out” of the foster care system. While their peers look forward to prom night, graduation, furthering their education and have hope for the future, the “aging out kids” are faced with a harsh reality. They are now alone and solely responsible for determining where they will live, what they will eat and how they will survive in the world. needs everyone to help get the word out so we can help bring relief to children in our backyard who have no family, home, or way to transistion from a foster care into


  1. dan justice says:

    I intend to share your journey with our congregation each week. We will both pray and support your efforts to raise the awareness of this need. If you have a time either prior to or after this time period I would love to have you share with our church.

    • Joe Walusis says:

      Dan Justice, I’m not sure of your age, but I went to school with a Dan Justice in Old North Dayton many years ago, just wondering if your are he.

  2. Mark Atherton says:

    I’m in for the no shave January!!

  3. Ryan says:


    Whatever I can do. I would love to get with you and discuss a time to share. Thank you for your support and prayer. Love you, Brother…

  4. Sherry Thomas says:

    I am happy that anyone would do this to help raise awareness and money. I would implore you to use as many comments and stories as possible from those you meet on your journey who are truly homeless. Having been homeless in my lifetime, there is a fear that cannot be replicated any other way. There are many towns which don’t have shelters and even in towns that do, many times, people are unaware that they exist. There is constant stress about where you will sleep at night and if you will get caught. There was fear of being hurt, freezing, being hungry, etc. But the overall ache of knowing you have no place to come home to. It hurts. You won’t feel that but you will encounter those who do. Please tell their stories.

  5. Sherry Ballard says:

    Ryan, I have a guest speaker spot on Feb. 16th at 9am at
    Dayton Christian School speaking to the elementary kids about
    Missions and exactly what you are getting ready to do on the
    streets. Will you please come with me and speak for about 15
    minutes about your journey?? and then I was gonna speak about what
    I encountered on the streets in Chicago. If I could come down to
    Dayton one day and do a quick video interview with you and take
    some pics to show the kids, I’d appreciate it….please call me and
    let me know when or if I can meet you on the streets.

  6. Tiercy Dempsey says:

    Good Luck Ryan!!!! We’re all thinking about you!


  7. Bonnie McDermott says:

    I am praying for you and those with you. would like to beable to help in what ever way i can. this is so awesome what you are doing. love you brother

  8. Ray Johnson says:

    Ryan, I know what it’s like to be homeless right now. Try to make your way to Gateway Shelter @ 1921 S Gettysburg Rd I’ve been staying there for the last month or so. I’m praying for you. I should have my own place soon.

  9. Debra Harvey says:

    Thank you for going on this adventure and allowing all of us to follow what is happening. You are making us aware of what the homelessness and foster youth are facing. I have enjoyed the videos of the people and their stories. May God bless you and those that you come into contact with on this journey!

  10. Kim Short says:

    I would just like to say what an awesome deed you are doing to raise awareness for the far less fortunate. I belong to Living Hope Church and Pastor Chad brought you and your mission to our attention. I praise God for the courage and strenghth he is giving you and your wife during this time. I work at the IUE-CWA union hall around the corner from the McDonalds you have been doing some of your interviews, if you should need a hot cup of coffee or anything I can do for you please feel free to stop in. We encounter alot of these people everyday and we have taken one under our wings and have given little jobs for Rodney
    to do for either a few dollars or food and he is so apprecitive. In fact I rallied my co-workers to donate clothing, money, snacks and McD’s gift cards for a special Christmas box this year and his reaction was priceless!! I was so overwhelmed by his emotion!
    I praise God for all he is doing in my life and I just wanted to say Thank You for what you are doing!
    Kim Short

  11. Lee Ann Hagerty says:

    Ryan, We are praying for you and want to thank you for your amazing journey. The plight of foster youth aging out and the need to find ways to help them with transitional housing is so evident not only in Dayton but in so many cities in our country. I want to personally thank you for your sacrifice and call to help. May God Bless you and keep you.
    Lee Ann

  12. Kyla says:

    God Bless you as you go on this journey Ryan~
    I have been through homelessness with my sister and mother-
    Praying for you and Thank you for what you are doing~

  13. Giovanna says:

    There is a group that actually works with DHS to help many foster care children aging out of the system to collect SS Disability benefits to pay for a place to live and receive money. The huge problem is that the social workers have so many cases that those aging out fall through the cracks because it takes a great deal of time to fill out all the paperwork that would help these children. It can honestly take weeks to gather all the information and then fill out all the gov’t forms. If some of you truly want to help them consider contacting DHS to find ways to volunteer to help these children. You must have a strong heart because many of their stories can be hard to read about or listen too.

    • Thank you for your comment. New Family Tree is a parachurch ministry focused on developing and implementing a transitional living program for foster youth that combine subsidized housing with case management and life skills training. Teaching young adults how to complete paperwork necessary for social security benefits, financial aid, college applications, job applications, etc. is part of our vision. New Family Tree is very interested in hearing about this volunteer opportunity. Please contact us at so we can look into directing volunteers to help with this program.

      Heather Bench
      New Family Tree

  14. Mark R. Benes says:

    Thanks you for bringing the awareness to everyone..Does anyone know about the Bridgetown Ministries ” night Strike ” Program..I would like to start something like that in every major city in Ohio

  15. Ted Herold says:

    Hey Buddy Jill and I and the kids are getting hairy for you and the cause!!!! LOL but most of all praying that God will do something big because of this!!!!!

  16. Doug Norton says:


    Outstanding news regarding Melissa’s decision! God is definitely working!


  17. richard james gilbertson jr. says:

    Ryan ,you will be so bless for what you are doing in the name of Jesus .Jesus Loves You and so do I .your Brother in Christ ,Richard

  18. Brenda says:

    Ryan, you are indeed a warrior for God by bringing light to the homeless problem in this country. I live in a relatively small town compared to Dayton but have become aware of homelessness problems for some in my own community usually affecting those with addiciton problems. Since winter this has become an even greater concern of mine as I have been approached and asked by someone if they could sleep in my backyard or in an old non-operative vehicle on my property. Even awake one morning to find someone huddled up next to my furnace vent outside my home trying to get warm. I so would like to open a shelter to provide beds and warm meals for those that are homeless within my community. We have one homeless shelter but it is out in the country and has social services criteria which most addicts cannot meet. ie. If you have been sanctioned by Welfare for not complying with drug/alcohol evaluations, completed a rehab program, or completed the Work program – then they cannot stay at the shelter. Tough love approach? I don’t know but it does not seem like the humane thing to do.
    I am sharing this website via my FB page in hopes of helping to bring light to your efforts and the needs within our community. God Bless.

  19. ryan,i am so proud of u & what u are doing.
    i have known for a long time that u are a good man, but know now what a great man u are.

    i have run the streets of dayton for over 50 yrs.and seen some of the heartaches u are experiencing,but was never able to do anything about it except feed a few along the way.
    u got to circulate to purculate (grin) and thats what u are doing in a big way.
    listening is easy, talk is cheap, ACTION is priceless.

    one thought well maybe two,u cannot help anyone unless they are willing to take the first step.
    JESUS said when His feet was being washed in expensive oil,u will always have the poor.

    take care dear friend,if there is anyway i can help,let me know.

    love u like a brother i never had.


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