McKinzie presents program on the Healing Lounge at Golden K meeting

Joan Jouppi introduces Golden K guest speaker Debbie McKinzie of Iron Mountain, who talked about her latest project, the Healing Lounge, in the old Salon 323 building downtown Iron Mountain. She hosts sessions for mostly women, giving them a place to connect on a confidential Facebook site with others to sharing, encouraging and supporting each other. 

IRON MOUNTAIN — Monday morning may have been rather dismal, however as the Golden K members gathered they brightened the day with their own sunshine. There is not much that slows this group down.

Joan Jouppi, as chairperson for December, opened the business meeting. They welcomed Mary Bugni and Debbie McKinzie. Happy birthday to Phyllis Galeazzi on Dec. 7 and Aileen Machus on Dec. 8. Among the Happy Dollars was Gilbert Engel, who was glad he got the leaves down and his wife, Louise, home — not sure how that all connected, but it was good timing, as they will celebrate their anniversary Monday.

Where would we grandparents be without grandchildren? Not only are they nice to visit and fun to watch as their life develops, they come in handy helping grandparents around the house, like Sue Proudfit’s grandson, who finished a kitchen project making her very happy. Orice Walters was happy to be at the Golden K meeting — she seems happy no matter where she is — and Leon Gospodarek declared, “Oh, what a beautiful morning — somewhere.”

Debbie McKinzie graciously accepted the invitation to speak to Golden K. She asked the group, “Is there anything in your life you let pass by? Something you wish you had done and didn’t?”

The response was quiet, as there is very little this group of seniors has not done and they all still remain very active as volunteers within the community. This is not always the case for many — as McKinzie went on to explain. Her newest venture has her using social media. Opening opportunities for people to connect with others with similar issues in confidential atmosphere. She interviews and gives a listening ear to those who need that. She empowers women to learn to trust use their voice, to encourage one another, face whatever fears are holding them back and move ahead.

Inspiration comes in directions one does not expect through people who enter your daily life in a working atmosphere or social contacts. McKinzie is passionate about things she feels need to be addressed. Her high energy and positive personality draws others into her world. With her newest project getting into full swing one could feel her excitement.

Making a difference in someones life is exhilarating but seeing someone become empowered to take control of their circumstances, speak up and speak out is fulfilling. McKinzie has a gift of caring and then sharing. She has developed a place for women to gather to learn, share and grow.

McKinzie uses the social media in her program. Something that is comfortable — second nature to people now. She provides a safe environment for a group of 15 women to gather and share their stories trusting in the confidentially of using a private Facebook account, meeting others who share the same or similar experiences. The Healing Lounge is opened on Mondays, downtown Iron Mountain, in the former 323 Salon building.

Issues of abuse, mental illness, human trafficking, social demands and peer pressure are a few of the issues young and old alike deal with daily. Giving a voice to these issues, helping individuals develop a confidence in themselves and give them encouragement to voice their concerns with others who may have similar experiences. Opening dialogue for people to express ideas knowing all is held in confidence. Even the social media McKinzie uses is open only to those registered, not accessible to other facebook users.

Though her project is geared for women she also interviews men. When she feels a need to delve into an issue further she will follow her instincts and investigate thoroughly. During her usual morning routine is a letter to God, which inspires her drive and perseverance. She has learned there are stories to be told and there is a need for someone to listen.

The Golden K meeting Monday will have Helen Sauld, who has decided to explore a new hobby. She is a self-taught candle maker, and has developed her own unique style of candles. Meetings are at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford in their fellowship room and open to all. Program starts at 10:30 a.m. The Golden Throats will sing at ManorCare, Dec. 13.