COMMUNITY HEROES: Tri-Cities woman devoted to helping foster kids have easy transition

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GREENEVILLE/JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – With a deep love for children, and more specifically children in the foster care system, one Tri-Cities woman is working to ensure they have an easy transition which includes love and hospitality.

This week’s community hero is Ronda Paulson!

“She had a mission and she eagerly jumped in,” Chairman of board for Greene County Isaiah 117 House Kim Gass said. “When Ronda came to town with her mission of serving the fatherless, our community was awakened and knew what they had to do. That was to be a part of her mission and calling.”

Paulson is described as a “Pied Piper!”

Gass said, “Our community has just followed her with her obedience and her dedication to the children.” Gass continued, “She was so obedient. She heard the Lord tell her. He had a job for her to do and so she jumped out there. Her heart’s calling is to serve others and to serve children.”

Gass explained she is overjoyed with the impact Paulson has made on her community of Greeneville.

“I’ve lived in Greene County all my life. I’m so proud of my community stepping up. Ronda came with a mission. She presented that mission to our community, and lemonade stands popped up. We had fundraisers from individuals who were just waiting to serve,” Gass said.

Paulson is known for ensuring children in the foster care system are showered with the love they deserve.

“Ronda saw a need in 2014 first hand, for kids that are placed in foster care on probably one of the worst days of their life, to rather than go to a cubicle, go to a home where they felt loved and there was physical and emotional support. She saw that there was a need in our community for that. She set out and she’s fundraised and she’s talked and she’s worked hard,” president of executive board of directors for Isaiah 117 House Sarah Presnell said.

Paulson is the founder and director the Isaiah 117 House.

Presnell said, “When I found out that she was starting this ministry, and I heard what it stood for and the mission, I reached out to her, asked her how I could help and I’m proud to say that serving alongside her in this ministry has been one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Paulson explained the idea of Isaiah 117 House became real when she and her family began to foster.

“In 2014, I did hear God say these are my children. What are you going to do? I did not act on that because I had no idea what I could possibly do,” she explained. “In 2015, we got our first foster placement and started to walk this journey.”

Paulson said the hardest part about this job is the pain that she comes in contact with.

“The realization that not all children have the love and support they need and deserve. 11 Not all children have happy birthday parties and you don’t get to pickup new school supplies, go out to lunch the first half day,” Ronda Paulson said “Just realizing that children in this area, not other places. This area struggle and hurt and feel lonely and scared and hungry. That’s the hardest part of this job.”

So far, the first one which was established in Carter County has served 130 kids!

Presnell said. “And in addition to that, we have a house opening soon in Greeneville and Washington County. So, she’s made a huge impact in our local community but I see that that will reach across the state.”

Her contagious and warm spirit has turned into a domino effect, bringing others on board for the cause.

“You just tell people there are children going through the worst hours of their life and they need a really cool place to go and be loved on,” Paulson said, while inside the Washington County Isaiah 117 House, which is undergoing remodeling.

She pays all of her success to the Man above.

“I really attribute that to first and foremost God,” Paulson said. “I also attribute that to people are good! They really are and we don’t hear enough about that.”

However, she has not stopped there in getting the word out to help foster kids.

In order to reach more people, Paulson has started ‘Sundays With Ronda’ on Facebook Live.

Paulson said, “Share with people what God is doing and to give them hope and to maybe help them see a little more clearly, the foster care struggle and the need for foster parents.”

She is a force to be reckoned with, and that is why she is our community hero!

“When she saw the need, she got aggressive. She didn’t sit back. She didn’t run from it. She didn’t overlook it. She got invovled, and she shared her story with others who then wanted to be a part,” Gass said.

If you know of a community hero here in the Tri-Cities, let us know! Nominating someone is easy. Just head to the bottom of this page to fill out a short nomination form.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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