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RUSC Kinship breaks ground for future

Kids dig in the dirt in the groundbreaking for the RUSC Kinship outdoor patio in a June 8 event at Pomme de Terre Park. Rae Yost/Sun Tribune1 / 3
Artis Allyson Larson paints the face of Lily Patton June 8 at the outdoor patio groundbreaking RUSC Kinship event at Pomme de Terre Park. Rae Yost/Sun Tribune2 / 3
An example of an engraved paver and a drawing of the outdoor patio. Rae Yost/Sun Tribune3 / 3

The pavers that will be laid for an outdoor patio in Pomme de Terre Park in Morris could help pave the way for a better future for youth in Stevens County and the county as a whole, supporters of Raising Up Stevens County Kinship or RUSC Kinship, a mentoring program in the county.

"What a (great) way for kids to know the community cares about them," RUSC Kinship board member Jeanne Ennen said during a groundbreaking ceremony for an outdoor patio that will be built with paving stones at the park.

Donors contribute to the engraved pavers in a donation increments from $80 to $1,000, the organization's website said. The names of individuals, families and businesses are a sign of support for youth in Stevens County, Ennen said.

RUSC Kinship helps community adults and families connect with youth who then can feel connected to a community, she said.

"Research shows that if a child has two people they can count on the chances of success are greater for the child," Ennen said.

The project is a joint effort between RUSC Kinship and the city of Morris.

RUSC Kinship director Andrea Dosdall said the two-year old mentorship program was seeking a long lasting connection to the community last year while the city was considering an outdoor patio at the park. When a lack of funding forced the city to delay the project, an opportunity was created for RUSC Kinship, Dosdall said.

Construction is expected to start this summer, said Brent Fuhrmann of Northern Impressions in Morris.

"It's always a great thing to create something for the community," Furhman said. He's thankful to be a part of the project.

The community is a central piece of RUSC Kinship, Ennen said. The program matches individuals, couples and families to serve as mentors for youth in Stevens County.

Ennen is a native of the county and she grew up knowing their were adults in her community who supported her. She stayed in the area because of those connections. When youth graduate from high school and possibly leave for work or college they are more likely to return to a community in which they are connected, Ennen said.

"You can't expect kids to come back to a community they are not connected to," Ennen said.

Norm Nissen said he and his wife will buy an engraved paver because they support RUSC Kinship.

"Like they were saying, it's a community...," Nissen said. If youth are supported they are more likely to remain in the area and plant their roots here, Nissen said.

Donors contribute toward an engraved paver that can bear their name for the outdoor patio. Donations are being accepted until June 15. Contact RUSC Kinship at or at its office at 215 Atlantic Ave in Morris.