I almost GAVE UP but GOD GAVE me HOPE

Leaving The Streets Ministry is a youth re-entry center based in Haverhill, MA that exists to help our youth find better avenues that lead to a brighter future. We want to give these kids hope so that they won’t end up becoming a school dropout statistic or choose a life of gangs, drugs, and prison.

Our nonprofit organization was founded by Chaplain Jesus Ruiz and Wanda Baez-Ruiz, a dynamic husband-and-wife team who have experienced the redemptive power of Jesus firsthand. They established Leaving The Streets Ministry so that you have the opportunity to make a difference.

Children living better lives

What Makes Us Different

  • We have experienced the same trials and tribulations as the people we serve.

  • We come from similar backgrounds, as we’ve also had challenging moments during our youth.

  • We have an innate passion for making the community a better place.

  • We have overcome a great number of insurmountable obstacles because of God.

  • We are here to serve as an effective support system for today’s troubled youth.

About Chaplain Jesus Ruiz and Our Efforts to Prevent Gang Violence

Chaplain Ruiz was a former gang member who spent time in prison. He has made a miraculous turnaround and is now a chaplain for his own youth center for Leaving The Streets Ministry.

One long-term solution to an escalating gang problem in Haverhill involves bringing school programs down to as early as third grade. Chaplain Ruiz, as well as school and community leaders came to a consensus during an initial meeting with Mayor James Florentine—a Task Force for Gang Violence initiative. Jesus has been awarded as the chaplain with the most volunteer work by the mayor in Haverhill.

They identified “street workers” to help address the problem, which has escalated to at least four shooting incidents in the last two months (particularly in the Acre neighborhood). Essentially, street workers are utilized to offer jobs and educational opportunities given that they are peers of gang members and are likely to be trusted and accepted.

Executive Director of Lowell’s UTAC Gregg Croteau said that this meeting was very similar to his organization’s beginnings. “This is such a critical step to get the right folks in the room. We started Rally Grassroots and young people came up with the idea,” he said.

Our Mission

At Leaving The Streets Ministry, we believe that every soul counts and that rescue and restoration are possible through Jesus Christ. We are a ministry for people who are struggling with addiction, poverty, homelessness, former incarceration, or any situation that prevents them from living the abundant life that Jesus promised to everyone.

We provide emotional and spiritual support that is combined with the assistance needed to meet physical, psychological, and lifestyle needs. That way, we get to create an atmosphere of hope for people who are in desperate situations.

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