IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. – In Dickinson County, a youth center is diligently pursuing a state grant that could infuse a significant $9 million into supporting the region’s youth. “The Cure,” located on River Avenue next to the American Legion, is conveniently positioned within walking distance from both Iron Mountain and Kingsford High Schools.
During the summer, The Cure’s Student Leadership Alliance comprised 28 students aged 15 to 24. Simultaneously, The Cure’s life coaching initiative reached out to 35 individuals, and an assortment of summer workshops catered to at least 30 more participants who hadn’t previously engaged with the Student Leadership Alliance or the life coaching program. The young leaders, forming the Student Leadership Alliance, orchestrated The Cure’s inaugural Drive-In fundraiser last month, drawing in approximately $1,000 in profit. Impressively, around 175 attendees flocked to the first fundraiser, which took place in the parking lot of Kingsford High School.
The Cure’s Executive Director, Heather Ruesch, emphasized that the objective was not only to equip the student leaders with entrepreneurial skills and experience, but also to forge a deeper connection among them, fostering a sense of achievement and pride. This taught them what it truly means to orchestrate a substantial event while uniting a community. Despite some challenges, like the need for postponement due to unforeseen roof issues on the night of the event, it turned out to be a success.
“Our local school, man, did they show up for us. They allowed us to use that space, and they helped us and accommodated us. It was phenomenal, and for our students to see that the school district was willing to work with us, that was great,” Ruesch expressed. The Cure’s plans included hosting more Drive-In fundraisers in the future, with the intention of establishing this format as a regular occurrence, with proceeds funneled back into the Student Leadership Alliance.
Despite its relatively short existence since January, The Cure has operated under the umbrella of a larger non-profit organization, Live Life Loud Resources, often abbreviated as L3 Resources. L3 was founded in 2020, putting the non-profit at the 3-year mark, an essential criteria for a substantial state grant.
Ruesch highlighted, “Which is the minimum guideline to be able to write for a lot of big grants on state and federal levels. So now, we are tailoring our entire programming, here at the Cure but also nationally with the YouMatter tour, through our nonprofit to be able to write for some of these incredible grants that are out there. There is such a tremendous need for teen mentorship programs in the state of Michigan, especially.”
Leveraging her two decades of experience in grant writing for non-profits, Ruesch explained how the larger non-profit structure was aiding The Cure in sourcing resources to assist at-risk youth more efficiently. “While The Cure in Iron Mountain operates under the umbrella of a 501c3 Christian non-profit, it’s primarily secular in nature. Our aim is to ensure that nothing obstructs students and families from accessing our services.”
In preparation for the back-to-school season, The Cure announced significant developments to its youth programming today. Expanding its offerings, The Cure has extended its after-school program hours heading into this fall, shifting from a 4-6 p.m. schedule to a 3-7 p.m. schedule on weekdays.
“These updated hours provide a more consistent structure for the fall programming compared to what we had during June, July, and August,” Ruesch disclosed. Throughout the summer months, The Cure operated on Monday and Thursday evenings at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m while offering various workshops.
“As we move into fall, we’re introducing more predictability and structure. There are two primary reasons for this shift. First, we want to foster deeper connections between our mentors and students. Second, we’re providing free tutoring and meal preparation opportunities in our fully equipped kitchen, with support from volunteer staff. Our Student Leadership Alliance mentors, who are older students aged 15-24, will engage in mentorship roles with the younger students,” Ruesch elaborated.
Jen Olsen, the newly appointed Workshop Director, actively sought volunteers and mentors for various capacities, stating, “We’re in need of support mentors to work alongside lead mentors and assist the kids. Additionally, we’re searching for tutors to help with homework and related tasks.”
While Ruesch was actively pursuing funding from multiple state and federal grants, a potential “Michigan Multi-State Mentoring Grant” stood out as a crucial resource to aid at-risk or high-risk youth.
“We also in the meantime, we need more community support in order to provide these healthy meals, in order to continue to keep this brick-and-mortar building going, bringing on the staff that we need,” Ruesch emphasized.
Presently, The Cure’s focus is on compiling a proposal packet for interested community donors. This packet is intended to inform potential contributors and community stakeholders about The Cure’s goals, and the services it provides to local youth.
As the fall programming details were updated on The Cure’s website, the center is preparing to launch its fall program immediately after Labor Day. Throughout September, October, and November, The Cure will operate its new after-school hours. Enrolled students will be able to participate any weekday in any of The Cure’s programs. The enrollment fee has transitioned to a $50 monthly subscription, available in various family packages or with life-coaching discounts.
Ruesch clarified, “The $50 subscription not only offsets program costs but also grants students unlimited access, Monday through Friday, to a safe, nurturing environment where students are mentored and cared for.”
Recent efforts have included the establishment of a data collection task force by The Cure, comprising approximately six members. This task force has aimed to gather local data to better serve at-risk youth in the area and establish measurable objectives that would aid the grant writing process.
For more details on The Cure’s new fall programming, visit: