History of the Journey
God Opened the Door
The Winding Road
by Caroline’s S. Cooper, Founder and Executive Director
Before the Fall
1962 – I was born the second of four children and enjoyed a wonderful childhood in beautiful northwest Missouri. Looking back, I realize I experienced many not-so-wonderful moments. As a child, I struggled with depression, insomnia, isolating, and nonexistent social skills. I accepted those characteristics as part of my life. My outlook changed dramatically after I was sexually abused at the age of 10. I’m convinced this trauma exacerbated an inherited mental illness.
1983 – I married my college sweetheart and our lives were busy and eventful. We had four children (in seven years!). After my third child was born, I had postpartum depression. Soon after, additional symptoms of my undiagnosed mental illness escalated. I thought I had left the past behind. Something wasn’t quite right with Mom, but my family’s unconditional love never wavered.
A Changed Life
2002 – Life caught up with me thirty years after the abuse. I had an emotional breakdown and I entered an outpatient program at a psychiatric hospital. My journey of recovery began.
2005 – After a few years of intensive therapy, I felt like a new person. I journaled throughout my recovery and turned my thoughts into a depression workbook to encourage others: “In This Corner: Battling Depression from Inside the Ring.” By 2008, I knew God’s plan involved more than one book. I attempted to start In This Corner Ministry inspired by the book. With lack of support and poor timing, the ministry didn’t work. I tried again a few years later with the same lack of results. I wondered if had been wrong about this calling.
A Nonprofit is Born
2012 – On July 22, 2012, God brought Jane Alexander to a depression support group I led. We quickly realized we had a special bond. For the first time, I met someone whose passion for promoting mental health awareness matched my own.
2015 – Jane and I had many discussions about how we could turn our passion into the ministry I first envisioned 10 years before. I changed the name to In God’s Corner to reflect our faith-based approach.
Early Nonprofit Ministry Events
April 14 – Nonprofit founded – In early 2018, Jane discussed holding a mental health forum with her church pastor, who enthusiastically agreed. God made it clear the time for forming a nonprofit had arrived. On April 14, 2018, Caroline filed the Articles of Incorporation for In God’s Corner Ministry. Shortly thereafter, the ministry received 501(c)(3) designation.
April 21 – Mental Health: A Closer Look – Jane’s church hosted our educational forum, our first official event. Forty people were in attendance. The forum featured speakers, an informational video, and a Q&A panel. Well-respected mental health organizations provide information and free resources. We received positive feedback and many people expressed their appreciation for the event.
June 26 – Document approval – The interim board approved the bylaws of the organization, including the mission, vision, and values.
Sept 5 – Training workshop – Caroline served as the trainer for wellness group leaders at a local church. The presentation provided practical suggestions balanced with teaching points. Participants received a workbook published by Caroline for taking notes and using as a resource.
Sept 17 – Mental Health Support Group – In God’s Corner started a mental health support group. Caroline’s workbook for depression is the first study.
Sept 21 – Exhibit – In God’s Corner held an exhibit at the Suicide Prevention Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. People visiting the table received mental health information as well as information about our ministry.
Nov 12 – The work continues! Through the end of 2018, In God’s Corner Ministry will be working on a strategic plan to continue with existing programs and roll-out new services and resources