Ron Ranta is not only a family man, he is a man that any child or teen can look up to. This week's Portage Life in the Spotlight is the Unit Director at the South Haven Boys & Girls Club in Porter County. Ranta has been working at the Boys & Girls Club for nearly 15 years. He graduated from Boone Groove High School in 1988 and from Southwestern Michigan College in 1996.
"I have a passion for working with kids and the community," Ranta said. "I started working here when I felt like my life wasn't going in the right direction and once I started it went back on track."
According to Ranta, one of the main reasons he works at the Boys & Girls Club is because of the Mission Statement of the Boys & Girls Club: The Mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County is to inspire and enable the youth of our communities to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.
"I always love being able to go out into the community and spread our mission to others besides our members at the club. Without hesitation it starts with our mission statement," Ranta said. "I always love being able to go out into the community and spread our mission to others besides our members at the club."
Through his 15 years as a Unit Director, Ranta has seen many ups and downs, but one of his greatest moments of working at the club was when Dawn Williams won the title of Youth of the Year of the state of Indiana in 2010. According to Ranta, if he had not pushed Dawn with all of the different speech coaches and endless hours of practicing her speech, she would not have made it to where she did.
"Having Dawn win was a dream come true, I know I pushed her pretty hard," Ranta said. "It was the first time in history that some from Porter County had won the state title so it was pretty great."
Making a difference is someone's life is something he knows can make or break a person. He believes that if a person treats someone fairly and is loyal to their community could make a difference is someone's life.
"I hope I make a difference in every single one of the members that walk through our front door," Ranta said.
According to Ranta, making a difference in a members life doesn't only rely on him; it relies on his staff as well.
"I am only as good as my staff and I believe that I have the best staff in all of Northwest Indiana," Ranta said.
Ranta lives by a quote and that is "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you," said by Mother Theresa. He believes that he needs to always help people, even with the littlest of tasks.
Loyalty and faith are other attributes that inspires him to emulate his role models.
"My mother, Alice Owens, and an old pastor of mine, Terry Ryans, were always so loyal and faithful to me that I strived to be like them," Ranta said.
Ranta does not spend every second at the club though. He has a nine year old daughter, Bailey.
"It is such a privilege that she goes to the club and gets to spend time with me, even though I am working," Ranta said. "One of our favorite things to do together is boating and tubing on Pine Lake in La Porte."
Another activity that he enjoys is going to church at United Methodist Church in Chesterton. According to Ranta, he spreads his faith in more than just church. He is a volunteer at Chesterton High School for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
"If I had to work 90 hours a week I would still love it," Ranta said.