At the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak (already a lifetime ago, it seems), I was participating in a world-wide live, online, interactive, professional development presentation. Four insights came to mind during and after the session. I jotted them down to memorialize these thoughts.
Insight #1 – Every single person (or almost) on this planet is affected by this virus in one way or another.
Joining the session were attendees from all over the world – Australia, Korea, Nicaragua, Israel, U.S., Canada, England, South Africa, Norway… everywhere. During the check- in of the session, the presenter asked us to write a word or two about how we were feeling in that moment, especially in light of the world-wide COVID-19 situation. In the feed visible on the screen, words describing every emotion popped up, from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Insight #2 – We all have different circumstances, and our particular, unique, situation influences how this virus impacts us.
Everyone around the world is being asked to “turn on a dime” to accommodate the change and/or adjust to the circumstances, but to differing degrees.
I thought of my own situation. For the most part, nothing has changed dramatically in my life. My private life coaching practice continues (with a few adjustments), my “retirement” resources are stable, my shopping needs are met by generous friends.
And yet, all I need do is look out the window or zip in and out of the news to see that there are others whose lives have been turned completely upside-down, some losing jobs, some having to make quick changes (such as the grocery industry) to accommodate customers and regulations. It is true around the world.
Insight #3 – Everyone on the globe agrees we have a problem.
I cannot think of another time in history where ONE ISSUE–world-wide–exists that everyone agrees is a problem and requires a cooperative effort to secure a solution.
Insight #4 – ANYTHING is Possible
While it didn’t take long before the bickering and blaming started about where fault lies for the pandemic, in that brief instant, for one tiny slice of time, as a world we felt as ONE, with a shared purpose and objective. Political and geographic boundaries and differences in ideologies, theologies, and affiliations were set aside in favor of finding a solution that benefits all.
Arguments for “we can’t,” “impossible,” “never can happen,” just don’t hold water anymore. No matter the size of the disagreement–from a neighbor dispute over barking dogs to a hundred-year war somewhere in the world–we stand witness that working together toward resolution is possible.
The only question remaining is “Are we willing?”
Garee Zellmer is a professional co-active coach, graduate of the California-based Coaches Training Institute and their internationally acclaimed Leadership Program, and a member of the International Coach Federation.
Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.
Have you ever needed a safe place to escape from someone who was trying to hurt you or your children?
Hopefully you can answer with a confident “no.” The sad reality, however, is that many in our community can’t. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. In one year, that is more than 10 million men and women affected by abuse. What’s even more upsetting is 90% of the time, children are eyewitnesses to this type of violence. Domestic, sexual, stalking and dating violence happen much more often than you might think. Those residing in Marquette and Alger counties are very fortunate to have the easily accessible Women’s Center to provide protection and resources if they find themselves in these terrifying predicaments.
The Women Center’s Harbor House is a safety shelter for adults and children fleeing from violence. It is also a place where staff and volunteers can help implement safety plans and assist in organizing personal protection orders, if necessary. The Harbor House offers counseling, support groups, and childcare. It also provides transportation for those attending counseling, seeking employment, or attending court hearings. The Women’s Center helps residents find employment and affordable housing. By uplifting and supporting mothers, it also gives hope to the children of broken families.
Sudden new living situations can be an exceptionally hard adjustment for youth. The Women’s Center focuses on providing an inviting setting to make the transition as comfortable as possible. Every year, the Marquette Breakfast Rotary supports the youth program by providing money supporting fun activities for the children such as play room furniture, art supplies, sporting equipment, and more. Even with an inviting space, those evading intimate violence usually need more material support. They typically arrive with only the clothes on their backs, and the children have had to leave their favorite blankets or stuffed animals behind. That’s where the PakRatz Resale shop comes in! PakRatz Resale is a space where clothing and home goods donations are accepted from the public, then distributed to those who find themselves in need before the remainder is made available for sale to the public, helping to sustain services. If you’re looking to donate, one of the shop’s biggest necessities right now is quality children’s clothing.
The Women’s Center provides a Sexual Assault Response Program which is an on-call emergency response program available 24/7.
This program provides counseling, support groups, and educational information to any woman or child who has survived sexual assault. The staff and volunteers will accompany survivors to the hospital and to interviews with the law enforcement officers on-scene. The Women’s Center’s staff and volunteers have been trained to provide exceptional care and support. This is a much-needed service for adults, but also especially beneficial for children. Sadly, current numbers indicate one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach eighteen (Department of Justice).
Just in the last fiscal year, the Women’s Center’s staff and volunteers helped nearly three thousand people escape domestic and/or sexual violence in the Marquette and Alger communities. The Center is so thorough it even has a program in place to help survivors keep their pets out of harm’s way–the Sasawin Project. Since 1973, the Women’s Center staff and volunteers have been committed to helping not only women affected by abuse, but also the children. According to the Journal of Family Psychology, more than 15 million children witness domestic violence each year in the United States. Such situations are hard enough on adults, and can be particularly detrimental to the impressionable minds and souls of children. The Women’s Center offers counseling for youth survivors to learn coping mechanisms and lay down a hopeful path to recovery. They also host Children’s Group, open to youth residents of Harbor House and children whose parents attend the Domestic Violence support group. In Children’s Group, participants can learn how to stay safe, develop problem-solving skills, and understand that what happened to them is not at all their fault.
The Women’s Center does everything in its power to create communal awareness of these unfortunate situations happening around us.
The Women’s Center hosts fundraisers and family friendly events, and makes special efforts such as decorating the local courthouse with purple pinwheels for domestic violence awareness. They’ve even had a free self-defense class for those ages twelve and older. In addition to hosting events, they help with necessities by providing items such as socks and warm boots, an absolute must-have here in the U.P.
Annually, the Women Center’s Harbor House provides over three thousand shelter nights to men, women, and children, with the average stay lasting between forty-five and ninety days. These stays run an average of over $1,000 per person. That doesn’t include the many other services provided which are all free of charge. Without community donations, these acts of compassion within our community wouldn’t be possible. Monetary (tax deductible) donations can be made online at wcmqt.weebly.com/donate or over the phone at (906)225-1346. The Women’s Center also accepts used cell phones, and donations can be made at PakRatz Resale. Your donations will go to those who desperately need them, and to help out a center that greatly improves our community!
Katelyn Swanson is a women’s health enthusiast and doula at Katelyn Swanson Birth and Family Services. She also creates social media content under the figure Really Rosemary and joins together a community of women by sharing her vulnerable and honest mothering of three young children.
Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.
What do you think makes the U.P. a great place to live?
And what do you think would help make it, and its ability to impact the world in a positive way even better?
In addition to all of the U.P.’s natural charms, what’s struck me most during my twenty-five years of U.P. living, (with thirteen of them spent connecting with many in the process of publishing Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine and six on previous publications), is how many people, businesses and organizations strive to act on their particular vision of how this beautiful area and world can become a better place—what I call a “Yooptopia.”
The huge growth I’ve witnessed in purpose-driven businesses, holistic wellness, and non-profit organizations has inspired me to highlight this by founding YOOPtopia in Action. Thus far, this has taken shape in an online home showcasing good-for-you-and-the-planet U.P. businesses, organizations, and events for both residents and visitors, plus a seasonal meet-up for members.
At www.Yooptopian.com, you’ll find a guide to good-for-you-and-the-planet businesses, organizations, and activities in our beautiful Upper Peninsula. Eco-friendly, holistic, altruistic, and fun events, products, services, and volunteer opportunities, plus selected articles from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, and personal and business membership opportunities await you there, and in highlights at Facebook.com/Yooptopian. I also hope you’ll share with us your own positive visions, accounts, and responses to Yooptopian projects in action found there.
While no person, business, or organization is perfect, in their individual ways, YOOPtopia in Action members are taking steps to help improve our world. By frequenting these businesses, supporting these organizations, and following and sharing YOOPtopia in Action’s site and Facebook page, you can amplify their impact while making healthy choices for yourself, your family, your community and planet, which ultimately is what Health & Happiness is all about.
As an additional part of Health & Happiness’s community support, in a few short months, we’ll be making our annual donation to a local U.P. children’s organization, plus sharing a feature article on it in our next issue. At www.Yooptopian.com, you can tell us which organization you think we should choose and why. And be sure to subscribe to the site for upcoming opportunities to vote for your choice!
Together, we make things better!
Roslyn Elena McGrath of Empowering Lightworks LLC offers real world options for helping to collaboratively create a more uplifting world through her personal growth and inspiration books, workshops, private sessions, products, YOOPtopia in Action, and this magazine. Visit http://www.yooptopian.com, healthandhappinessupmag.com, and http://www.EmpoweringLightworks.com for more info.
Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Have you noticed how creativity is bubbling over through myriad arts endeavors throughout the U.P.? As Marquette Arts & Culture Center Director Tiina Harris explains, “If you don’t have anything to do, it means you’re not looking. There are a lot of really dynamic choices out there-everything from knitting, painting, and ceramic classes to more pop-up, learn-to-paint options-lots and lots of art opportunities, even metalsmithing.” Harris adds, “More community members are taking art classes, whether at the university or local art center. We have a strong tradition of painting, ceramics, and fiber arts but now the sector has expanded to include more film, graphic design, and the literary arts… Everything seems to be booming.”
This boom is woven into the fabric of U.P. communities.
47 North Belly Dance, a fusion belly dance troupe based in Houghton/Hancock, has swelled to include fifteen dancers from a start of three just four years ago. The troupe performs at all kinds of local venues, including half-time at local roller derby home shows. Co-leader Allison Mills says, “We’ve seen classes grow, but not nearly as much as our audience—they’re an explosion of positivity and enthusiasm!”
And how many communities with populations under 21,000 do you know of that not only have a city band, symphony, art museum, and chorale societies, but also a professional modern dance company? TaMaMa was founded in 2016 by Tara Middleton, Maggie Barch, and Marissa Marquardson to “create innovative movement-based art and integrate it into the community… pushing the boundaries of traditional dance.” TaMaMa has performed in art galleries, art festivals, even on rock walls and in busy downtown crosswalks, as well as more traditional venues such as the Forest Roberts Theatre, where they’ll perform “Collections” in early June.
Those up for developing their own moves can check out new options with free classes by local instructors during the Blueberry Dance Festival. Held in late July, the Marquette festival also includes master dance classes, a professional dance performance, and a dance showcase and competition.
MACC Director Harris says, “People are desiring to get together and collaborate more, and do more—there’s a new Drink & Draw group meeting at local bars. The local knitting guilds have younger members now, so people in their 20s to 80s are knitting together. The Marquette Poet’s Circle is making its mark across the entire U.P. They have readings, exhibits, and are strong advocates for writers living in the U.P. They’re doing some really interesting projects connecting artists and poets together. Our senior arts classes have a waiting list – they never used to. We’ve added a senior theater class. Eight-twelve seniors attend local theater performances and rehearsals together. Many of those taking these classes have no previous experience in the arts or theatre. Retirees are looking for something to do…. The100DayProject has increased people’s desire to pick up a new creative habit or get back into an old one.” elaborates Harris.
Originality, a tell-tale sign of a healthy arts scene, is also blossoming.
The Vista Theatre recently went beyond tried-and true favorites with a production of “The Brain Trust,” by local playwright Bill Hager. Cindy Engle, founder of online source MarquetteMusicScene.com, notes local bands are playing more of their own original tunes. She says the number of bands overall has increased too, as well as new venues for them with more coffee shops and restaurants having live music nights.
Original poetry is shared publicly in places such as The Preserve in Marquette. Original writing is encouraged at the Marquette Poet’s Circle’s monthly workshop and open mike nights, and at U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz’s monthly poetry workshops at Ishpeming’s Joy Center.
The center’s monthly Out Loud nights foster sharing of all kinds of creative forms. Owner Helen Haskell Remien also points out, “People appreciate when a visual art exercise is a component of a retreat — yoga retreat, energy-related retreat, writing retreat, coach-led retreat. It brings a deeper spiritual depth and meaning and context to the art. And this seems to be desired by many.”
Remien adds, “Another desire among attendees has been art offerings for kids,” which Ishpeming resident Mark Hall has begun meeting through monthly art workshops for all age groups.
Amber Edmondson and Raja Howell’s book arts workshops at Joy Center have been so popular they are now bringing their vision to reality with a place of their own—Wild Pages in Ishpeming’s Historic Gossard Building, with art and writing supplies, workshops, and locally-created books and art.
In fact, Ishpeming is experiencing a bit of an arts renaissance, with artwork and art classes available at multiple locations—Nook ’n Cranny Art Studio and UPTown Gifts, which are also in the Gossard, Rare Earth Goods, which holds informal weekly music jams too, and Inspired Art & Gifts within Globe Printing.
Feeding that artistic flame is imperative to keeping it burning brightly, and artists are doing just that at the Marquette Artist Collective, a new group which, as their website explains, welcomes all visual artists and “strives to support each others’ creativity and the arts in our community,” with twice-a-month gatherings, plus art shows in their downtown gallery, and other local spaces. And new art studios have also popped up along Marquette’s Third Street area, offering visitors glimpses of the art-making process, artwork for sale, and art classes.
In Munising, UP~Scale Art, owned and operated by the Munising Bay Arts Association, provides a cooperative option for local and regional artisans to exhibit and sell their art, a yearly internship program teaching the business side of art, and eventually, a range of workshops and art classes. More art can also be found at businesses throughout the area.
The Calumet Theatre, a National Historic Landmark offering symphony, folk music, jazz, opera, theatre, dance, and community events, is bringing more big names to this intimate 700-seat venue, with five Grammy award winners and nominees performing there this year. New Executive Director Marlin Lee is passionate about making the theatre a go-to for outstanding performances, and utilizing his media marketing and independent concert promotion experience to bring in even more big name acts.
At Michigan Tech, the Rosza Center is focusing diligently to provide memorable, consistent programming for all ages so that “not just kids but the entire family can come together,” explains Programming and Development Director Mary Jennings. More events are being scheduled on the weekend too, so those from other parts of the U.P. can attend more easily.
In Ironwood, non-profit Downtown Art Place (DAP) worked hard to renovate its beautiful structure alongside the Historic Ironwood Theatre with help from dedicated volunteers, private donations, grant funding, and city government. Now in its seventh year, volunteer-run DAP exhibits juried displays of work from fifty to sixty regional artists, has a complete ceramics studio plus classroom space for an array of art classes, and provides the city’s lowest rental cost to 12 – 18 artists leasing art studios there. Board President Howard Sandin also notes an increase in the number of both artists and visitors DAP serves, with tourists from each state as well as other countries in the past year.
New art galleries have sprung up in town since DAP began. Ironwood is also home to Theatre North, the oldest still-functioning theatre group in MI, the Range Art Association, established in 1954, and emphasizes music in the schools, with HIT Idol run annually for youth by the Historic Ironwood Theatre with a guest judge from TV.
Sandin notes, “There’s a tremendous economic benefit for any area with ongoing support for the arts. For every dollar spent, $8 – $10 comes back…. The city is smart enough to know there is a real benefit to having an active art culture downtown, and has helped make buildings available.
He elaborates, “After 5 p.m., downtown Ironwood used to be dead. It’s thriving now, with nine new businesses opening in the last year, including a brewery. There’s greater enthusiasm. It’s lively now.”
U.P. communities are also coming to life with the addition of murals. “CUPPAD (Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development) received an Art Place grant to help create murals in the U.P.,” says Harris. “There are three or four in Iron Mountain, one in Manistique, and more in the works in Gladstone and Munising. There has been interest in Marquette as well.”
“The initial idea for Arts Week was to showcase local artists and provide opportunities for the community to participate in free and low cost art experiences outdoors,” says MACC Director Harris. “The City of Marquette contributes $1,500 plus staff time as well as revenue from the sale of ads in our program. Yet, Art Week leverages over $15,000 investment through events coordinated by groups such as Pine Mountain Music Festival, Hiawatha Music Co-op, Marquette City Band, and countless others.
People want an opportunity to experiment with something new.
The level of participation in Art Stroll has skyrocketed with 38 participating businesses this year, up from 20 when we started. There are more signature events during Arts Week now too, such as the Fresh Coast Plein Air Painting Festival,” explains Harris. “The idea is to get people outside to enjoy the natural environment Marquette has to offer. It’s an opportunity not only for artists but also for art appreciators to watch a painting happen in real time. Now in its third year, the Painting Festival has grown and received over $5,000 in sponsorships.
There are more artist-in-residencies throughout the U.P. now also, including in Munising, Marquette, and Mackinac Island, along with long-established ones in the Porcupine Mountains and Rabbit Island. This will be the second year for Evolve MQT’s Creative Residency made possible through the Marquette Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office. “This year we welcomed a woodcarver, writer, and photographer. All three are well-respected in their fields,” says MACC Director Harris. “Our hope is that they share their experiences of living and working as creatives here in Marquette with the rest of the world, and connect and work with local artists too.”
Harris continues, “This area always has been a cool place to live, but now more than ever… and with that there are more creative people… I think you’re seeing more young people moving here. A recent study shows young people are moving for quality of life first rather than jobs leading their decision. I think we’ve all met people who’ve moved here because it’s an interesting place and then they try to find out how to make a living here. It’s made easier through technology and working from home.
The arts are “a bigger leader than outdoor recreation and growing faster than many industries in the U.S.,” explains Harris.
“This can be seen throughout statewide and local marketing efforts. Travel Marquette released a video last year featuring artisans and makers, and how the U.P. inspires their work. There’s also been more support from local government. The City of Marquette gives annually to public art. Ironwood is working on an arts and culture master plan. Munising integrates public art projects throughout the downtown, and Iron Mountain recently welcomed several murals into theirs. I think that will soon be the norm in the U.P. – municipalities participating in public art, and supporting arts and culture.”
Arts in the U.P. are also benefiting by connecting across the miles. U.P. Arts & Culture Alliance (UPACA) “hosts meet-n-greets across the U.P. to hear what what’s important to people,” explains Harris, who is also chair of the non-profit. “With representatives from almost all fifteen counties, this very new group is sharing resources, connecting creatives, and advocating for the arts in the U.P.”
State and regional connections led to Escanaba’s Bonifas Arts Center’s application to host an exhibit of early American paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Manoogian Collection, which occurred last year. And experts through novices from throughout the U.P. and beyond come together to share and learn valuable information at the U.P. Publishers & Authors Association’s Spring Conference, and through their newsletter and Google forum. Out of this has come the U.P. Reader series, showcasing U.P. authors’ work.
“The U.P. has a strong tradition of arts and culture—it’s growing and it’s changing, but it’s always been there,” adds Harris.
There have been periods when the arts have been invested in more than others. I think we’re at a high point right now, because we understand the impact arts make on both our quality of life and economy. Whether it’s an illustration on a locally crafted can of beer, or reading a book by a local author, the arts are an integral part of our daily lives.”
Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
When I moved to the Upper Peninsula, one of my first excursions was to a Marquette bakery. Jubilant over finding a local supplier for my long-running pastry fixation, I ordered a croissant and a coffee to go. My heart sank when the barista handed me a piping hot Americano in a Styrofoam cup. I must’ve looked as though she’d fixed me a hemlock latte.
“Is something wrong? Did you need more room?” she asked.
“Umm… no…,” I trailed off, not wanting to make a fuss; there was a substantial queue of customers behind me. I walked out of the bakery feeling frustrated that I didn’t speak up.
A Greener Change
Enter Ron Carnell. He attended Northern Michigan University, followed by the University of Washington (BA), then earned a Master’s degree from Kansas State University. Carnell has a long history of activism, including field fundraising for Public Interest Research Group, Greenpeace Action, and the Northwest AIDS Foundation.
Upon moving back to Marquette from Seattle in July of 2018, Carnell noticed that most restaurants he visited were still using Styrofoam TM (expanded polystyrene, or EPS) containers for takeout items.
“I began talking about it and found there was enough interest to lay the groundwork for a campaign to urge the City of Marquette to get behind a resolution.” He started StyroFree Marquette, a grassroots group of local citizens and business owners promoting the benefits of replacing EPS take-out and beverage containers with healthier, environmentally safer options for Marquette and, maybe one day, all of the U.P.
That said, Carnell maintains that StyroFree Marquette is not out to ban anything. Rather, this group hopes to inspire restauranteurs and bakery and coffee shop owners to consider what can be better choices for their bottom line, the community’s image, and the environment.
The Problem with EPS
Pieces of EPS cups and food containers are a common choking and death hazard when birds, fish, and wildlife consume them. The more an EPS takeout container breaks into smaller pieces, the more difficult it is to clean up. EPS is also petroleum-based, is nearly impossible to recycle (there are no EPS recycling options in the U.P.), and is known to leech cancer-causing chemicals like toluene and benzene into hot foods. EPS is already banned in dozens of cities across the country, with many more considering joining the list. Recent big-city bans include New York City and San Diego.
We all know Marquette is growing. We offer so much as a place to live and as a tourist destination—lively arts and entertainment, wonderful winter and summer activities, and expanding culinary tastes. Offering consumers alternatives to EPS takeout containers and beverage cups is but one easy and cost-effective step toward strengthening what makes our town so appealing. With the support of citizens and city government, Marquette can be the first city in Michigan where restaurants and coffee shops actively use alternatives to EPS containers.
Feedback & Action
Since October 2018, the StyroFree Marquette citizen coalition has received virtually 100% positive responses from local restaurant owners, city officials, students, and residents. The coalition invites the public to share their questions, concerns, and input with members of StyroFree Marquette. The coalition’s next meeting will be held Wednesday, June 5 from 7:00-8:30 pm, at Peter White Public Library’s Heritage Room.
Vicki Londerville is a Marquette artist/illustrator and an active member of the Marquette Artist Collective. She is currently writing and illustrating an environmentally-themed children’s book set in the Upper Peninsula. Vicki loves exploring the UP’s wild places on her horse or in her kayak.
Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved. Click here for U.P. distribution locations.
Can you feel it? The slightly tingly energy beginning to build?
You’re not imagining things. It’s simply the hearts, minds, and intentions of everyone involved with the Natural Connections Holistic Health Fair revving up for the annual event.
Now a hallmark of Marquette’s spring calendar, the fair had more modest beginnings at the Ramada Inn in 2000 under the guidance of a handful of people who wanted to bring holistic practitioners together in one place so residents could see what’s offered in the holistic/alternative medicine scene. It’s now sponsored by the nonprofit group Natural Connections (previously Integrative Health Resources)—a volunteer organization formed in 2005 dedicated to connecting the community with integrative services and information.
Former NC board president Diana Oman says in the early years it was exciting to offer massage therapists, reiki practitioners, healing touch, nutritionists, and chiropractors in one place to those who were interested in various healing modalities. It opened attendees’ eyes to other methods of getting—and staying—healthy. “One location, several practitioners, several modalities, several products, so if a person is a little bit curious they can go there and gather a whole bunch of information on one day,” she says.
Yet finding a place to hold the fair wasn’t always easy. Organizers moved it from site to site in an effort to find the perfect niche: Upfront & Company, Northern Michigan University, the Holiday Inn, the Marquette Armory, even the lower level of the Masonic Square Mall. NC struck gold when it found its current home, the Masonic Center in downtown Marquette. The space has allowed the fair to grow by leaps and bounds says Roslyn McGrath, current Natural Connections president. When it first began, about 100 people walked through the fair. Last year more than 600 people attended. “I’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of interest in the fair, both by vendors and community members, as well as those coming from a distance to the fair,” Roslyn says. The number of vendors showcasing their services has increased, as well. Over the last several years anywhere from 40 to 45 different vendors have participated at a time. “It’s still scratching the surface, because not everybody who offers a holistic modality is at the fair,” Roslyn notes.
But why are so many people being drawn to the fair? “I think there’s a lot to a human being,” Roslyn states, “and as time has gone on, people have realized more and more that medical offerings alone are not fulfilling all of their needs for health and wellness. They are looking for more or a different approach to integrate with what they’re already doing or looking for something that’s going to jumpstart them, motivate them, help them stay on track, perhaps, with those medical and non-medical choices for their wellness and health.”
Fair attendee Sally Moilanen agrees. “One thing I’ve learned with attending these types of things [is] it’s so overwhelming to learn that there is so much more natural healing we can do for our bodies and our minds versus going to a pill and using pharmaceuticals,” she says, “and that’s a really big eye-opener. And I think more people need to be aware of what else is out there besides your traditional medicine.”
Acupuncture has made its way into the fair, along with personal fitness trainers, healing art, yoga, Emotional Freedom Technique, energy field healing, intuitive counseling, sound healing, yoga therapy, Ayurvedic medicine, reflexology, and astrological counseling.
And under the nurturing of Natural Connections, the Holistic Health Fair has grown to offer more than just services. Vendors now also sell essential oils, organic food products, soaps, nutritional supplements, natural body care products, jewelry, and much more. Presentations on various topics are held throughout the day to more thoroughly explain different modalities, and several door prizes are given away each hour.
Sally Moilanen says she was incredibly impressed with last year’s fair. “Everybody took their time with you and made you feel special and made their time with you all about you, which was amazing,” she says. Now that she’s had a taste, she’s coming back to Marquette for the 2019 edition. “I wouldn’t miss it. I think that’s just something that’s going to be on my calendar going forward, for as long as they’re going to have it. It was amazing.”
Roslyn says the Holistic Health Fair has become a unique part of a distinctive region. “I think it’s important that all the community really know how special this area is for having so many truly sincerely committed, skilled people who are willing and able to help them feel good, enjoy their lives more, be more fulfilled, and make strides with health issues that they may have going on, as well as helping to prevent future ones,” she says. “People often say what a special area this is and how wonderful people are overall, and that’s true, and that’s also reflected in this microcosm of the holistic community.”
Norway Springs is providing water for attendees free of charge this year, and Travel Marquette is helping to sponsor the fair, financially and marketing-wise. “We are beyond grateful that they recognize the value of what we offer and how it is bringing more people into Marquette for the event, and that this is something important for our community,” says Roslyn.
Imagine you are a child being sexually abused by someone you thought loved you. How scary that would be to tell someone. Now imagine the perpetrator told you that if you told someone, he or she would kill you, or kill someone you love. Imagine the tormented life you would have as that child.
Imagine how much courage it takes for you to report this. Now imagine having to summon that courage repeatedly. Typically, a child must share his or her story and respond to questions several more times after the initial disclosure – once each to the police, Child Protective Services, a medical professional, and a prosecutor, and in several different, coldly official types of locations.
Superior Child Advocacy Center (SCAC) will prevent that by being a one-stop, more welcoming hub for child sexual and physical abuse investigation. As volunteer Hannah Syrjala explains, “It’s not a scary police station, not an interrogation room or intimidating courtroom. The child will be able to come into a soft space and talk to just one interviewer – there are no cops there, no lawyers. Everyone on the team–Child Protective Services, a counselor, medical professional, and law officer-observes the interview from another room, so the child only has to tell his or her story once rather than living it over and over again.”
“Keeping the process to one forensic interview limits further trauma to the child, strengthens the case as a whole, and streamlines how the child gets the different services he or she may need,” adds volunteer and Marquette County Assistant Prosecutor Jill Simms. “The interviewer is specially trained to ask the right kind of questions to get the information needed for an arrest and conviction, and to help the child move forward. A multi-disciplinary team will continue working on each case, assigning services for the child as necessary.”
Studies have shown that without proper intervention, children who are abused are likely to become abusers themselves, or continue to be victims, with poor life skills and increased likelihood of experiencing mental illness and/or drug addiction. “SCAC’s goal is to nip that in the bud to better their lives and prevent future turmoil,” say Simms.
The initiative to create SCAC was begun a couple of years ago by Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese. Wiese explains, “MI law requires that we have a social worker, law enforcement, and medical personnel all address child physical and sexual abuse cases. We’ve learned having a child advocacy center is the most effective way to implement these requirements. It’s been proven to be the best approach in many communities, increasing accountability for perpetrators of child abuse, and decreasing the amount of times children have to appear in court.”
Currently, Delta is the only U.P. county with a child advocacy center. And with an increase in such cases, handling them as sensitively and effectively as possible becomes even more crucial. Prosecutor Wiese says, “We have already been seeing approximately thirty felony cases against children a year, and that’s just counting those under thirteen. The forensic interview room we’ve been using is woefully inadequate – it’s not soft or welcoming. It’s in the courthouse building, next to a stairwell. Children are often distracted by the sounds of people walking by, and by any movement or sounds from the other side of the one-way mirror. Plus we have no ability to record the interview. The center will create a one-stop place with trained professionals in a friendly environment. Digital and audio recordings of the interview will be made. Everything disclosed is captured evidence showing the interview was done appropriately, without leading questions. There will a physical examination room with a trained medical professional who knows how to look for evidence of both sexual and physical assault injuries.
Eventually the center’s services will include education and prevention programs, and may be extended to adjacent counties. However, the biggest need right now is financial. A rent-free initial location has been secured thanks to Trace Holistic Center, which will begin providing forensic nursing for sexual crimes against both children and adults in 2019.
At least $12,000 of the $50,000 goal for Superior Child Advocacy Center’s set-up and first year of operation needs has been raised so far. Grant applications are in process and fundraisers have been organized to pay for expenses such as recording equipment and cameras.
This holiday season, a “Wish List Christmas Tree” will be up at the Marquette County Courthouse. Community members will be able to choose an ornament specifying a needed supply to donate, such as paper, ink, staplers, and so on. SCAC’s future needs include volunteers, installation of recording equipment, furniture, paint, and electronic donations.
Another enjoyable and also healthy way to donate is by participating in the “Lead the Way 5K” scheduled for April 13, 2019.
A healthy, caring community must support the health of our children, our future adults. As Acting Board President of SCAC Dianne Heitman implores, “Please help us to help physically and sexually abused children take back their lives.”
To stay updated and learn more about SCAC, and how you can donate or volunteer, you can visit http://www.superiorcac.org or the Superior Child Advocacy Center Facebook page.
Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine,Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.