About Mr. & Mrs. Ruffin

Mr. Richard Ruffin received his BA degree from Virginia Union University and his Master’s Degree from Virginia State University. He taught in the public-school system a total of over 35 years. Professionally, he was twice named to Who’s Who Among American Teachers. Mrs. Clara Ruffin received her BA from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, MS, and her Master’s degree from Central CT State University.  She taught in the public schools for 33 years. Mrs. Ruffin was named National Educator of the Year by a 7,000-member organization in 1998 and was also named to Who’s Who Among American Teachers.

In 2004, the Ruffins founded the Hartford Friendship Kids’ Camp, a summer day camp for inner city youth ages 5 – 13. Prior to that, they cofounded the Ministry of the Open Door, a community outreach.

Richard Ruffin is a man of integrity.  He is tireless and absolutely devoted to his family, profession and ministry. He is as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar and as calming as a gentle breeze. He is a stable man of quiet strength.  Part of his strength is reflected in his acceptance of people for who they are. He serves as an example and father figure to many.

Clara Ruffin has marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and prayed with several notables, such as Astronaut Jim Irwin who drove a jeep on the moon, Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South, and with Communist soldiers.

She has written five books of mostly poetry and her poems have appeared in national magazines. In October 2013, she launched a specialty card company called Clara-fying Love.

Their travels have taken (either one or both of) them to Mexico, France, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Israel.

The Ruffins have two adult sons: Dr. Richard Ruffin, Jr. and Dr. Vernon Alexander Ruffin, Ph.D. They’ve been blessed with four grandchildren: Aaron, Kayla, Reese and Malcolm Ruffin. Richard and Clara Ruffin reside in Hartford.

What We Believe

by Clara and Richard Ruffin
(Founders of the Hartford Friendship Kids’ Camp)

We believe we are making a substantial almost immeasurable difference in the community through our selfless service.

We believe with all our hearts that we as a staff of professionals are grooming our campers to be confident, self-assured individuals who will one day give back to the community.

We believe that we are planting valuable seeds of character That will produce a bountiful harvest that will benefit others..

We believe our staff gives the best of who they are and the skills they possess to help the children.

We believe staff members will grow in their giftedness and that doors of opportunities will open for them because of their good work.

We believe we learn from our mistakes and this, in turn, makes the camp better.

We believe our partnerships are significant and working with others enables us to enrich this town, this state, and ultimately this world.

We believe the work we do is bigger than we are.