Family is at the heart of our residential program in New London, Wisconsin. A good family loves and cares about each other and treats each other with respect. Our house parents demonstrate these values to the guys who call Rawhide home.

Meet Ken and Rosy

Ken and Rosy are the current house parents at the ABC House and have been for the past five years. During that time, they have been house parents to 49 guys. In a recent interview, they shared what life is like as house parents at Rawhide.

They started about 10 years ago as house parents at a home in Mississippi. Their career path to become house parents took many turns. They had been very involved with their church when Ken was asked to be the principal of the church’s school. That position lead him to become a Sunday School director which in turn, lead both of them to pioneer a church where Ken was the pastor. They knew that they wanted a career that impacts lives, and they wanted to work with kids. “[As houseparents] we are exactly where God wants us to be,” said Ken.

How They Landed at Rawhide as House Parents

Ken and Rosy found the house parent position through their daughter-in-law who encouraged them to apply. “The house parent application process is similar to that of any other position, but you do it as a couple.” Rosy said. After a phone call, Ken and Rosy came to the Ranch for a three-day observation visit. Shortly thereafter, they were hired for the position. But, they didn’t immediately start as house parents of their home. They first spent six months in the role of utility houseparents, working between several of the houses on the Ranch. It was during these months that they received extensive training for the position.

What House Parents Do

Ken and Rosy are the parental authority figures in the ABC House and supervise the other staff in the house which includes a housekeeper and several youth care workers. Ken, as the housefather, is responsible for the house budget and scheduling and planning events.

“Those are some of the administrative duties I have.” Ken said, “But the more rewarding piece of what I do is the interaction with the guys. Talking to a guy when they are struggling or helping them see an unproductive behavior and watching them grow is very rewarding.” Ken continued, “This position is a lot of things but never boring.”

As the housemother, Rosy keeps a log on each guys’ behavior and attitude each day. She is also responsible for making sure each guy has proper clothing; “Many of the guys come, in and they don’t have anything or what they do have isn’t appropriate for school. One of my responsibilities is to make sure they have proper clothing,” Rosy explains. She continues, “My role is of that loving and accepting mother. I accept them for who they are, and yet I am an example to them.” Rosy spends a lot of time with the guys showing and teaching them life skills and how to take care of themselves. She will show them how to do the laundry, iron and fold clothes, how to properly set a table and how to perform certain chores around the house.

Teaching Respect

“Rosy helps the guys learn how to respect women,” Ken said with a smile. “She teaches them how to be gentleman by opening or closing a door, pulling out her chair at meal time and letting the ladies go first when it’s time for dinner.” He continues, “In time, they become quite protective of her. If someone speaks disrespectfully to her, another guy will step in and reprimand them.”

Mornings in the House

A typical weekday for Ken and Rosy starts early in the morning. Before the guys are out of bed, they are up helping with breakfast prep and getting the guys up. The guys are down for breakfast at 7:15 am at which time Rosy checks to make sure that they are properly dressed and are ready for school. During breakfast they review the chores schedule. The guys are out the door by 8:10 and are on their way to school. Once they have left for school, Ken and Rosy take time to complete administrative paper work and attend meetings. Sometimes they will go shopping for groceries or clothing, make phone calls to different social workers or case managers, or schedule any doctor appointments for the guys.

At 11 am the guys return to the house for the lunch hour and they make sure that each guy has what he needs for the afternoon. After lunch sometimes there is ongoing training sessions that Ken and Rosy attend. The guys come home from school at 4 pm where they get some down time and they get a snack. At 4:30, the house has a planned activity where the guys play basketball, go swimming, lift weights or any other activity that Ken planned for that day.


Together, as a family, they watch the nightly news at 5:30 and dinner is served at six. After dinner, the guys help clean up the kitchen. Once all the after dinner chores are complete, there is free time where the guys can work on homework, play pool and video games, or read quietly. During this time, Ken and Rosy start their daily assessment of each guy and complete the necessary paperwork. Between 8:30 and 9 pm the guys go off to bed with lights off at 10 pm. When the guys are off in their rooms, Ken and Rosy are in the office debriefing about the day with the in-house staff.


Weekends are different. On Saturdays, the guys will thoroughly clean the whole house and then participate in a fun activity. Sundays the house goes to church and sometimes afterwards, they will have lunch out at a restaurant.

Best Part of Being House Parents

The most rewarding part of their day is interacting with the guys. “When you get to interact with them whether it’s just goofy fun or serious, you know that what you are doing is impacting them. They are at a tipping point where they are no longer a child but not yet an adult. They need to be challenged to grow, mature and learn how to be a young man,” Ken says with a smile.

Most Challenging Part of Being House Parents

The thing that they find most challenging is “[When you realize] sometimes a guy’s past has hurt him so deeply that you can’t get to the core of it, and you are unable to change it for them, it is frustrating. You want so badly to change it for them, but it’s impossible. They are always going to have those scars. Seeing the hurt and not being able to do anything about it is the hardest part,” Rosy says.

It’s a Calling

If you are considering becoming a house parent, they offer one piece of advice, “Make sure you know you are called by God to work here; because if you are not, it’s going to be rough. Be sure that your relationship with the Lord and your spouse is strong. If you are coming here to get your needs met, this isn’t a good fit, but if you are coming here to meet the needs of others, then it is.”

And so it is, as a Rawhide house parent. If this sounds like your calling, apply today! See open positions.