Ruby Martin Kitchen, Sister Ruby as she was affectionately called by most, was the founder of Hope Hill. Sister Ruby was an author, songwriter, recording artist, teacher, beloved Pastor’s wife, and someone that dedicated her entire life to enriching the lives of others, especially the lives of children who had become orphaned.
Sister Ruby was born in Dante, VA in August of 1931. Ruby’s mother died during childbirth when she was only 5 years of age. Her father, a coal miner and pastor in eastern Kentucky, was also chronically ill so Ruby, along with her 11 siblings, did their best to survive. Ruby persevered and graduated from high school and eventually Eastern College where she met Reverend Robert Kitchen (her husband for over 60 years) at a church in Richmond, KY.
On July 10th, 1959 Sister Ruby and Reverend Robert Kitchen moved to Hope, KY so he could pastor the Hope First Church of God. Sister Ruby would spend hours upon hours praying on the large hill that rose behind the church. God had placed it on her heart decades earlier that she was to establish a home that would support, love and care for orphans. Sister Ruby had a dream; a dream in the heart of a pastor’s wife who had known the loneliness of being homeless during her childhood. Sister Ruby has a dream but no funds, no grounds, no building! Farmers Ben and Ann Farris owned the property where Sister Ruby would spend hours praying. Mr. and Mrs. Farris heard of Ruby’s dream and generously donated the property where the home is today. From there, Hope Hill was built from small offerings from many churches and individuals. Ruby worked tirelessly in those first five years, traveling well over 16,000 miles each year raising funds and awareness for the ministry. On October 3, 1959 Sister Ruby officially founded the children’s home.
On May 30, 1960 the founding Board of Directors and the Kitchens dedicated the grounds in Hope, KY. Within 10 years of the dedication, Hope Hill Children’s Home was caring for 45 children from all over the country. Sister Ruby’s children’s home accepted boys and girls, regardless of their race, creed or cultural background. The staff along with Sister Ruby offered every child a new start in life, and she went to great lengths to seek out and bring the neediest and most helpless children into our care. Sister Kitchen died in February of 2015, but her successors have faithfully carried on her legacy and the mission she started at Hope Hill.
Occasionally, in this life, you meet a person full of strength, unmoved by the things of this life, with an unwavering faith. Sister Kitchen may have been talking about someone else in her book, but for us at Hope Hill, she is that rare individual and we are humbled to follow in her footsteps. Hope Hill continues to serve youth today; it is a living memorial to the God-given vision of a woman who dared to hope!
“Occasionally, in this life, you will meet a person full of strength, unmoved by the things of this life, with an unwavering faith. The few of this rare type that I have met, I opened my ears and heart to their words of wisdom, desiring to learn from them and walk after them as they walk in the footsteps of our maker.”
- Excerpt from Ruby Kitchen’s book titled: The Valleys and Hills of Hope.
Hope Hill is a faith-based organization. That means we believe there is a spiritual component to treatment that is essential for healing and wholeness. As a Christian organization, we strive to follow biblical principles in the way we relate not only to one another, but also in the way we deal with and treat children, young adults and families in our care.
We do what we say we do.
Kids’ needs always come first.
We live out our faith by our actions.
We help children build healthy relationships that will last.
We empower children to make good decisions.
We care for children and adolescents in a family-style environment.
We constantly improve our performance to achieve excellence.
We support children, adolescents, and families in practicing a faith to give them stability and guidance.
We are committed to supporting our staff.
What would happen if you could improve circumstances for those who are suffering from abuse, addiction, abandonment or violence, so they could reach their God-given potential?
That is the question Hope Hill has spent nearly 60 years answering. Hope Hill believes that every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves the opportunity to succeed, every family deserves to stay together, and that every individual we provide services to represents someone that Jesus died for. We also recognize that every child is an individual with distinctive needs. That’s why we have developed a unique, evidence-based approach to achieving outcomes that have proven successful for thousands of Kentucky children and families.
So, for the young ladies dodging pimps and gang violence on the streets, the family torn apart by substance abuse and the community disintegrating due to neglect and social disorder, Hope Hill offers HOPE! But we offer hope as more than just an abstract concept; we make it tangible by providing services built on compassion, faith, deep rooted experience, and therapeutic practices supported by decades of research.