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Huntingburg teen selected for national training Dubois County CARES

Ruthie Sherer, a member of the Dubois County CARES Youth Leadership Team, recently completed the first step of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s youth Training Of Trainers course.

Sherer was one of only a dozen youth nationwide selected for the current class. Training Of Trainers is intended to grow youth leadership and, according to the CADCA
website, “involves a highly selective process that CADCA uses to choose its next generation of national youth trainers.”

Sherer, a junior at Southridge High School, attended the training in Alexandria, Va., from Nov. 18 to 20. She learned of the program this past summer when she and two other youth members of the Dubois County Coalition for Adolescent Resilience and Empowerment Strategies attended CADCA’s annual Mid-Year Training Institute in Orlando, Fla.

For the application process, Sherer had to include videos in which she talked about substance-use problems she has noticed in her community. She said her comments centered on “what I’ve seen in youth, especially in community norms. It’s been kind of widely accepted that you go to parties and drink, or use substances as an unhealthy coping method.”

Sherer attended the Dubois County Substance Abuse Council’s Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil in August and was struck by the speakers who shared their experiences. She made a point to talk with some of those individuals during the evening and her application included her take on “why it’s so important to hear firsthand stories” about the many ways substance use negatively impacts lives.

A combination of her own observations live and on social media is what “sparked my passion for doing work like this,” she said, noting that through her work with Dubois County CARES she is learning a lot and growing her interest in helping others. CARES youth members made three public service announcements this fall that are playing on local radio, and Sherer is leading the Raider CARES club in creating a school speakers series to cover topics related to mental and physical well-being.

As part of Sherer’s year-long education to become a certified trainer, she will observe and assist the instructors at CADCA’s annual forum event in the Washington, D.C., area at the end of January and at the 2023 mid-year institute in Dallas next summer. She finds the work exciting, she said, because not only is she building her own leadership skills
and confidence, but she is “teaching young people and helping them create impact in their own communities.” She considers herself “a very empathetic person” and said many of her peers, also, “definitely have an interest” in actively supporting other young people and helping to better their communities. She explained how “in a rural area, opportunities are not easily provided and said that often people will need to create their own through determination and hard work, which can be a daunting task. They just don’t know how to get started,” she said, noting that “grass-roots coalitions can be hard to come by, but Dubois County CARES is a ready-made opportunity for them.”

Sherer, 16, is the daughter of Drs. Rachelle and Ryan Sherer. At Southridge, she is heavily involved in the performing arts and takes on leadership positions in several clubs, along with playing on the girls tennis team. She also volunteers for other nonprofits, including Mentors for Youth and Dove Women’s Recovery House. She is active in the concert and marching band, where she plays the marimba, and has acted in the school musicals and plays. For most of the past seven years, she has earned membership in a state honor choir and she participates in state solo and ensemble contests.

Dubois County CARES is establishing clubs in county high schools. Students interested in becoming involved should talk to their school social worker or email coordinatorCARES@gmail.com.

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