The Hough neighborhood is home to many agencies that provide critical programs and services to help our neighbors live healthier, safer and more fulfilled lives. As an anchor in this community for more than 122 years, Eliza Bryant Village wants you to get to know more about these agencies and the rich history of service organizations and passionate community members in Hough.
This edition of our Neighborhood Network post features the Fatima Family Center and its director, LaJean Ray.
LaJean Ray, Director of the Fatima Family Center received The FBI Citizens Academy Foundation of Cleveland Community Leader Hero Award – nominated by Eliza Bryant Village – to recognize her hard work and accomplishments that make the community a better place.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said, “The list of Cleveland-area FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award recipients is extraordinary. Our community has benefited greatly from the commitment of each of these incredible leaders. The FBI thanks the Fatima Family Center for the services provided to the community and for assisting in continuing the strong partnerships built between the neighborhood and law enforcement.”
Ms. Ray has served as a role model for current and future leaders to emulate and as a result of her efforts, Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood is a better place for residents of all ages. Mrs. Ray is a trusted community leader by both professionals, her peers, and youth. Always at the forefront of critical community issues including safety, crime, services for seniors and for youth and more, she is respected for her passion for the community, critical thinking and ability to create change.
(Eliza Bryant Village hosted a celebration honoring Ms. Ray with her colleagues, family, and friends on October 18, 2017.)
Serving as Director since 1997, Ms. Ray is responsible for programs including cultural, leadership and development activities for children and youth, homework assistance, summer camp, field trips and recreational programs. The Fatima Family Center, founded in 1973, provides a broad, integrated system of services to over 6,000 families in Cleveland’s revitalized Hough neighborhood covering emergency and transitional services, programs for children and their families, and services to older adults. Fatima also provides adult services including parenting classes, computer labs, health screenings and a food pantry. Older adults can benefit from socialization activities designed specifically for them.
The Center employs 20 staff and has a budget of over $1.1 million. As Director, Ms. Ray plans, develops and evaluates the delivery of all program services; leads budgeting and long-range planning activities; and interacts with a wide variety of community and civic organizations.
Originally established in 1973 as a pastoral counseling and outreach ministry of Our Lady of Fatima parish, Fatima Family Center prominently anchors the Hough community with a 26,000-square-foot facility developed by Catholic Charities and dedicated in 2000. In 2002, Fatima was recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of the top five family centers in the United States.
The Fatima Family Center assisted with a “reverse ride-along” program with the Cleveland Division of Police. Cleveland Police recruits visit the center and engage with longtime Hough neighborhood residents to hear about the progression from racial tension between residents and law enforcement in the 1960s to the present-day partnership.
The Director’s Community Leadership Award, presented by the Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, was formally created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs, and violence in America.