Local woman wants residents to be the change
By Barbie Porter
There are moments in one’s life where a life-changing decision can be made. Sometimes, those decisions may lead to a crutch of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
To help the youth who succumbed to walking with a crutch, and to prevent others from walking down the same path, the Frazee-Vergas School District is creating a coalition of staff, community members and students. The group will focus on ways to assist the youth in creating healthy relationships, find ways to grow as leaders as well as opportunities to have fun.
LeeAnn Felix is leading the charge of this new initiative. She was hired by the school district with her position being paid for through a grant the school received. The grant extends for five years, so the program will have longevity to create a foundation before it is put up for review for further funding by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Felix said the meetings for the initial committee will likely be about an hour long, and options for attending in person or virtually are being considered. She emphasized the group will be more involved than attending meetings.
Felix said the first step of the group will be to look at data and determine the greatest needs in the community. Then comes the process of defining how to address those needs. The goal is to provide the youth with resources so when those life-changing moments arrive, they know they make the best decisions for their future.
Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Felix at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call (507)382-4604
Felix comes to the district with prior experience with a similar program in Pine River-Backus School District. The native of Grand Rapids, Minn. lives in Perham with her two sons, and has spent 24 years working in the community health field. She said this work has been rewarding as it allows the community to impact the youth and help guide them to making healthy choices that keep their futures unhindered and wide open.
“This work always has challenges, but helping kids see their strengths and providing that support system, makes a difference,” she said.