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Caring House came into existence because of the determination of Father Don Shiroda, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church. In 1981, concerned citizens worked to create the first board of directors for the non-profit organization. With the assistance of a handful of volunteers, an abandoned convent was turned into the community’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. This is when area 3rd grade students gave Caring House its name.

The need for services grew over the years: 

  • 1985 - sexual assault services were added

  • 1986 - the children’s programming was introduced

  • 1998 - a grant from Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services paved the way to open an outreach office in Florence, WI

  • 2001 - the newest facility was purchased. Everyone from girl scout troops, private individuals, senior citizens, church groups, civic organizations, fund raising activities & media campaigns assured there wouldn't be a lapse in services 

  • 2017 - along with other Upper Peninsula agencies, we received funding for services in rural communities, providing resources to open a 2nd outreach office in Iron County

  • 2018 - Caring House was fortunate to receive a MI VOCA Child Advocacy Center Development Grant. In 2019 Caring House received funding from WI VOCA to provide CAC services for WI children. These grants provide for CAC services and additional counseling and support for children witnessing abuse in their homes

With the support of our community, Caring House continues to grow and add new services in an attempt to best meet the needs of our community.

Caring House, Inc. logo. Free and confidential support services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault near Iron Mountain, Michigan. Clients do not need to be in shelter to receive services. We have outreach offices in both Michigan and Wisconsin. All support services are available for men, women, and children. You are not alone and help is available.


To promote a violence free atmosphere from domestic and sexual violence in which survivors can recognize their options to have the opportunity to continue living violence free and regain their sense of self-worth, dignity individuality, and independence.

To educate and raise awareness within our community and systems that domestic and sexual violence is a prevalent problem.

To provide on-going prevention programs and support services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Meet The Team

Photo Coming Soon: Angie Kurtz, Caring House and Child Advocacy Center Mental Health Therapist


Angie Kurtz

Caring House & CAC Mental Health Therapist

Hi! My name is Angie. I am a Licensed mental health therapist for over seven years and have been working for the Caring House for over a year. I am a National Certified Counselor, certified alcohol and drug addiction counselor, and Certified in Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.The therapy services that is offered provides confidential, evidence-based, trauma informed therapy at no cost to you. I work with children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. I am inviting you to call for an appointment today!

Photo Coming Soon: Karla Lehmann, Child Advocacy Center Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer


Karla Lehmann

CAC Coordinator &

Forensic Interviewer

I am Karla and I am the Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer at the CHCAC. I retired from the Milwaukee Police Dept. in 2016 after 25 years of honorable service. As an officer, I became trained as a Forensic Interviewer in 2003 and at this time realized how critical the child interview is. Due to this realization, I became co-located at the Milwaukee CAC and through this I learned the value of research and trauma informed practices. After my retirement, I was employed as a Forensic Interviewer at this same clinic until I decided to head to the peace, quiet and beauty of the UP. I am now honored to be part of the MDT offering these best practices in Dickinson/Iron Counties, as well as my home state of Wisconsin. I am trained in both the Michigan and the Wisconsin interviewing guidelines. Due to my long history of victim interviewing and child maltreatment investigations, I have been involved in training other professionals throughout my career and have been called to offer expert testimony in court. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I feel that my vast experience mixed with my passion for giving children a voice is an asset to the center. Thank you for giving me the honor of trusting me with your children. 

Photo Coming Soon: Shanna Stanley, Child Advocacy Center Child and Family Advocate


Shanna Stanley

CAC Child & Family Advocate

Hi my name is Shanna. I am here to assist you during this difficult time. I want you to know that if there is anything I can do to help you please just ask. One of the many things that I can help you with is to navigate through the judicial system. I am here to advocate for you and your family.

Selene (Selena) Gonzalez, Caring House and Child Advocacy Center Wisconsin Child and Family Outreach Advocate

Selene Gonzalez

Caring House & CAC

WI Outreach Advocate

My name is Selene (pronounced Selena) and I am your Wisconsin child & family advocate. I offer support, advocacy, & resource information to caregivers, children & teens to assist them in making informed decisions for their lives. My clients will have opportunities to learn how trauma has impacted them & what their options may be moving forward, as well as access to support groups & therapy. I work with families at our WI Outreach Offices & at the Caring House CAC. I love the U.P. & Northern WI and enjoy helping & serving my community. I previously attended college for social work, specifically desiring to work with children, so I really love my work as a child advocate. I would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you!

Photo Coming Soon: Marti Swisher, Caring House Program Manager and Crime Victim Advocate


Marti Swisher

Program Manager &

Crime Victim Advocate

Hi! My name is Marti.  I have worked at Caring House since 1996.  I am inviting you to come and talk to me.  My focus is to provide domestic violence and sexual assault counseling/education.  I facilitate individual and group educational counseling for domestic violence & sexual assault.  I am available for court accompaniment, PPO’s, resource information and helping you through this new transition. If you are feeling sad, depressed or just need someone to talk to call me…come talk to me…you are not alone.

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Molly Wahoviak

Children & Teen Service Advocate

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Jodie Garver, Caring House Domestic Violence Service Advocate


Jodie Garver

Domestic Violence Service Advocate

Hi! I’m Jodie! I am the Domestic Violence Service Advocate and am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. When I began working at Caring House, I worked in the shelter and have since transitioned to working in different areas within the agency. I am here to guide and support you on your journey! I can assist you with emotional support, housing resources, court accompaniment or any other needs you have during this transitional time in your life. I am glad you are here and look forward to working with you!!


Vanessa Bal

Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator

Hello, I would like to welcome you! I know this can be a difficult and overwhelming time, I am here to make it as comfortable as possible. I am the SART Coordinator for Dickinson and Iron Counties. Prior to working at the Caring House, I was a Special Victims’ Paralegal in the Air Force where I helped empower, advocate, and advise (with the help of my attorney) victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I can be by your side throughout medical exams, advocate on your behalf, help with housing or other assistance, navigating the criminal justice system, or I can be just a safe person for you to speak to. I am so glad you found the courage and strength to start looking for support.  I hope that you allow me the opportunity to assist you in any way you need as you make this new transition in your life.   

Donna Fayas-Johnson, Caring House Iron and Florence Counties Outreach Advocate

Donna Fayas-Johnson

Iron & Florence Counties Outreach Advocate

Welcome to Caring House! As one of the very first volunteers 39 years ago, I worked a weekly shift at the shelter. For the past 20 years I’ve been a full-time advocate in our two outreach offices located in Florence and Crystal Falls. Keeping very busy between the two counties Tues-Fri, Monday is my shelter day in Iron Mountain. It’s been such a rewarding experience working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. As an advocate working with non-resident and shelter resident clients, it is my goal to educate on domestic violence, offer individual counseling, assistance with TRO’s and PPO’s, court accompaniment, facilitate support group, emergency transportation and referrals. Enough about me, I look forward to meeting you and helping make a difference in your life. You are not alone.

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Stephanie White

Shelter Coordinator

Hello! I attend to repairs, manage donations and supplies, and make sure the shelter has everything it needs to operate smoothly. In addition, I serve as an advocate to our resident clients, providing assistance where needed – from helping with paperwork to listening with a compassionate ear.  I am here to let you know that you are not alone.


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Melissa, Helen, Kristen & Ginger

Crisis Line Advocates

Hello! We are your Security & Maintenance staff.  We provide support services to our resident clients.  We answer the crisis lines and oversee general shelter operations.  We also provide the general cleaning and maintenance for the shelter.

We thank you for your support!



Caring House Board of Directors

Current Board members include:

Bob Sauld, Chairperson

Geno Basanese, Vice-Chairperson

Linda Zastrow

Philip Gardiepy-Hefner, Secretary/Treasurer

Angela Applekamp RN, BSN

John Koehler

Cheryl O'Neil, Caring House Executive Director

Cheryl O'Neil

Executive Director

I would like to welcome you! I first came to Caring House in need of assistance and through the support I received here I was able to rebuild my life. I want your stay here to be as beneficial to you as it was for me. Even though my duties are mostly administrative, please know that I am here for you as well. I have worked in this field for over 23 years and have been given the opportunity to learn from many experts.  In addition to my administrative duties, I coordinate systems change, awareness activities, education presentations and expert testimony for court hearings.  Again, welcome and I look forward to personally meeting you.


Trisha Johnson

Administrative Assistant

Hi! I take care of the clerical needs, answer crisis calls, business calls & schedule appointments.  My primary responsibility is to assist the Executive Director. I am also here to help you with whatever I can.  If I don’t know an answer, I will find somebody who does.  I look forward to meeting you!

Photo Coming Soon: Bryan Kesler, Caring House Finance Director

Steve Flaminio

Description coming soon! Thank you for your patience.

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