CornerStone hosting separate sessions for youth and adults

Contributed photo
Former Miss Frazee Becky Schmitz, the Executive Director of Vikingland Community Support Program in Alexandra, will be presenting at CornerStone Wednesday, May 22 at 3:30 p.m., for youth, and an adult session at 6 p.m.

By Robert Williams


May is Mental Health Month and CornerStone Community and Youth Center will be hosting two sessions of former Miss Frazee and current Executive Director of Vikingland Community Support Program Becky Schmitz’s Mental Health Toolbox presentation on Wednesday, May 22.

A year ago, the Toolbox was still in formation and Schmitz was still in the planning stages of bringing her presentation to the public. In 2024, that plan came to fruition and she is returning to her hometown after recent presentations to the Douglas County Local Advisory Council and the Minnesota Trucking Association’s Trucking Management Conference in Minneapolis.

“It was kind of one of those surreal moments,” Schmitz said. “I was driving to the cities going, ‘I’ve always wanted to travel and public speak and now I’m doing that.’”

A big jump forward in Schmitz’s planning was receiving a public health grant to allow her to bring the toolbox from an ideal to something tangible that she could use in her presentations. With time and the grant money, Schmitz created the Toolbox, which every participant gets, and a corresponding workbook.

“It’s fun to see how fast it came together,” she said. “That grant gave me the resources to put it all together.”

Contributed photo
Former Miss Frazee Becky Schmitz, the Executive Director of Vikingland Community Support Program in Alexandra, will be presenting The Mental Health Toolbox, an hour-long presentation on tools designed to be a simple reminder on what people need to do on a daily basis to work on themselves and their mental health. She will be presenting at CornerStone Wednesday, May 22 at 3:30 p.m., for youth, and an adult session at 6 p.m.

Schmitz is excited to bring her presentation to her hometown where she will have separate sessions for kids in the afternoon and adults in the evening. Nonprofits like CornerStone are a perfect match to her message, something she has been sharing.

“I’ve been telling people about CornerStone around here in Alexandria and in local counties because I know that the youth mental health crisis is really serious right now and there are not a lot of resources,” she said.

Due to state restrictions, youth mental health treatment is fraught with intensity and complications, according to Schmitz. A lot of those complications are state-mandated and done out of caution when working with today’s kids.

“It’s unfortunate for the folks that really want to be able to do it; it’s a lot of work and it’s just not as easy as filling out the forms and getting licensed; there is a lot to consider through that,” she said.

Schmitz has found success reaching youth groups. Aside from her upcoming CornerStone appearances, she is also working with Alexandria Area High School for a presentation during Mental Health Month.

“I’m hoping I can continue to open that door,” she said. “If I can’t get licensed to do something, maybe I can still be helpful in that aspect.”

Schmitz has also been working with Never Alone, a group formed in Fergus Falls that is impacting youth, veterans and adults. It is a nonprofit that merges mental health and dirt track racing, which is perfect for Schmitz, an avid fan of the sport and a former organizer of racing at Viking Speedway in Alexandria.

“They wanted to start a nonprofit that would encourage people to recognize that they are not alone and give them a purpose and a hope,” said Schmitz. “Not only do I love dirt track racing but this organization has melted my heart.”

In discussing with Never Alone organizers, Schmitz drew a comparison to CornerStone in how even a car shop and a race track can have as much of a positive influence on kids.

“I was telling them about CornerStone and that if they can provide this in their community – even if it’s just a race shop, to me it was just as impactful as CornerStone,” said Schmitz. “Having a place for youth to go.”

Schmitz is a big proponent of CornerStone and the Positive Community Norms Grant’s high school group My Voice is Powerful in Frazee.

“How awesome,” she said. “They are doing so many great things to encourage participation and positivity and being a role model – I really like that group too.”

Schmitz also recognizes the amount of effort from fundraising to messaging that is done by both CornerStone executive directors Karen Pifher and Mackenzie Hamm and all the board members and volunteers involved to bring something as impactful as CornerStone to fruition.

“Anybody that works in the nonprofit world knows that it’s not necessarily a real luxurious position,” said Schmitz. “You have to do it for the goodness of your heart and soul because you want to make a difference. It takes lots of volunteers, it takes money, grants, time.”

Watching the evolution of a youth center in her hometown has Schmitz excited for CornerStone’s future.

“Now they’ve gotten to a place where CornerStone is flourishing and growing; it’s evolving, which is exciting,” she said.

Schmitz’s presentation will be held at 3:30 p.m. for youth on Wednesday, May 22. The adult session will be held at 6 p.m., both at CornerStone. Schmitz hopes that her Mental Health Toolbox, the tools themselves and the workbook come together for attendees to make a difference in their lives.

“It’s a lot of information in an hour’s time frame; my hope is that it’s a talking point with visual aids and visual reminders,” she said. “It’s so easy to talk about mental health and talk about what we should be doing, but for me, if you’re talking about it and you’re writing it and seeing it – it’s like triple reinforcing it in your brain with a way to help ourselves.”

For more information, visit The Mental Health Toolbox or CornerStone: Frazee Community and Youth Project on Facebook.