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Non-profit promotes healthy living in local communities PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becca Brandt   

Rural Solutions provides services in Eastern Colorado that give community members a better life.

The Sterling-based non-profit organization began in 1994 to assist small rural counties they felt were being overlooked by funders.

Today Rural Solutions is a collaboration of organizations including mental health providers, social service departments, handicapped services, public health and elected officials. All of the projects provided by Rural Solutions are funded through grants, fund-raising efforts and donations.

Working with different departments and organizations, Rural Services is able to provide support to 10 counties in Northeast Colorado, including Phillips County.

The overall goal of the group is to “collaborate to address issues and create positive solutions for the health and well-being of our diverse communities,” said Rural Solutions coordinator Michelle Sharp.

Sharp recently informed community members about the services offered by Rural Solutions when she was a guest at the May meeting of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce.

Women’s Wellness Connection, the LifeSource Project, the Second Wind Fund of Northeast Colorado, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Healthier Living in Northeast Colorado and the Getting Ahead Program are some of the programs the nonprofit provides for Northeast Colorado.

Sharp oversees Women’s Wellness Connection. The program provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic and treatment services to women between the ages of 40 and 64 who qualify.

Through the LifeSource Project, Rural Solutions educates people about suicide and the resources available to make positive decisions to resolve issues of suicide. QPR Gatekeeper Training and Yellow Ribbon Training teach people about preventing suicide, recognizing a crisis and getting help for a suicidal person. For people who have lost a loved one to suicide, the project offers the monthly Heartbeat Support Group.

The Second Wind Fund focuses on preventing youth suicide. People 19 years old and younger who are at risk for suicide are given the financial support they need to get treatment through the Second Wind Fund.

ASIST, a two-day program presented by Rural Solutions and Centennial Mental Health Center, is designed to train participants about suicide first aid. The event will be held July 12-13 at the Yuma District Hospital.

Healthier Living in Northeast Colorado is a six-week program. It uses the Healthier Living Colorado curriculum and helps people manage chronic conditions.

The Getting Ahead Program offers support for people struggling with poverty by teaching skills for a self-sustainable life. The program is offered in Phillips County by Pam Gibbs.

Rural Solutions can be seen within the community as people have access to and utilize the Second Wind Fund and Women’s Wellness Connection. Suicide prevention programs have been presented to different organizations in town by Maranda Miller, LifeSource Project coordinator.

Information has been provided about Rural Solutions at their booth during the health fair and Community Night.

The organization seeks to build healthy communities by providing services to those who need them. For more information about a program or to volunteer with Rural Solutions, call 970-526-3616 or visit their website,

Holyoke Enterprise June 9, 2011