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The Cure — IM: 100-Plus Women donation helps add program director

Katie Cherney, left, the new program director at The Cure — Iron Mountain, with owner Heather Ruesch in the kitchen area of the building at 922 River Ave. They use the space to make food with students to foster healthy eating habits. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Cure — Iron Mountain has been able to hire a full-time program director, thanks to a five-figure donation from Dickinson County 100-Plus Women Who Care.

Katie Cherney will work with students conducting workshops and scheduling events, said Heather Ruesch, owner of The Cure — Iron Mountain. The agency offers teens and young adults such services as mentoring, workshops, peer-to-peer groups and life coaching.

Cherney has worked as a physical therapy assistant for the past seven years at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District.

“She has a lot of one-to-one experience with students and families,” Ruesch said. “She’s fantastic. She’s been volunteering with us for about a year. She’s strong in all the areas that I’m weak. She’s great in the support role. Her ability to take over and oversee the workshops and the Student Leadership Alliance allows me time to do executive duties that need to happen and life coaching,” Ruesch said.

“I love making connections with the kids and seeing how they grow and how, in turn, they are taking what they learn here and are making a difference in their families and in the community,” Cherney said.

“Bringing her on is part of a larger student mentoring expansion, which includes having another paid staff member who can really focus on our Student Leadership Alliance, a peer-to-peer mentorship group with high school and college-age kids, working to be peer mentors for mental health,” Ruesch said.

The Student Leader Alliance is run by teens and college students. They are the local affiliate of the national organization called Hope Squad, which focuses on mental health.

The Cure also offer peer-to-peer mentoring groups; life skills workshops that focus on the four human domains — physical, mental, emotional and social; and social workshops that focus on things such as boundaries.

They are currently doing a workshop with the workbook called “Set Boundaries, Find Peace” by Nedra Tawwab, which was purchased by the Dickinson County Community Foundation.

All the workshops they offer are free to ages 10 through 24.

“Having healthy boundaries from a young age sets them up to have a healthy future and be able to cope with stresses and unrealistic expectations and pressures on themselves,” Ruesch explained. “It teaches them how to manage the realistic stresses in life.”

She and her husband, the Rev. Matt Ruesch, purchased the building at 922 River Ave. about a year and a half ago. The Cure — Iron Mountain is one of the programs she operates under Live Life Loud Resources, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

She also provides one-on-one life coaching and since 2019 has done a number of public speaking events as part of “The You Matter Tour.”

She is seeking grants to expand and add more life coaches, because she is fully booked. “It will take a little more time to put the right people in place,” she said.

They are 100% community funded, she added. Currently they have have a general capitol initiative going on called “25 or More in 24,” and are looking for financial partners who are willing to donate $25 or more monthly.

Ruesch is especially passionate about is reducing teen suicide rates, saying it was a major reason she started the business.

“Every 11 minutes a student passes from suicide in the United States,” she said. “We’re trying to shift the culture for local students and families. You can’t do that with one person’s funds or talent or abilities; it’s going to take a full community to do that.”

In Dickinson and Iron County, the precursors for teen suicide are higher than even state and national averages, Ruesch said.

“That’s why the 100-Plus Women’s support financially and otherwise has been just incredible, because it’s shown so many people who we are and what we’re doing and given them the opportunity to join in with us,” she said.

“Our mission is to offer those programs, to offer that depth and deepen our roots in the community,” she said.

The Dickinson County 100-Plus Women Who Care group meets four times a year and donates proceeds to one local non-profit. At each meeting, the names of non-profits are placed in a bucket and three are picked.

Representatives of each non-profit then have five minutes to give a speech about their work and answer questions before members vote.

Members can be teams of one, three or four people, with each team donating $100.

The next meeting will be Aug. 12 at Pine Grove Country Club. Since the group was organized in December 2012, they have raised more than $700,000.

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