Author Archives: Karen Wolf

On the Fringe

Most of us have new people step into our lives now and again. Learning how they perceive us can give us an opportunity to think about our behaviors, habits and who we are. We can dismiss their observations and continue on our merry way. Or we can get hung up on them and overthink them. Or we can look inside and determine how we truly feel.

A recent addition to my world of people includes the companion of one of my sisters. Though I have only spent time with him every other month or so over the past year, he has met some of my friends. He commented to her that I seem to hang out with a lot of people “on the fringe.”

My first reaction was to feel a bit indignant and protective of the people I feel close to, but in thinking about it, I came to consider it a compliment. My second reaction was amusement, because I considered him to be somewhat of a “fringe” person.

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for fringe is on the outer edge of something. I believe that we all spend time on this outer edge. We are taught to conform and to try to fit in. Our culture provides numerous mixed messages and choices at this time in history, making it impossible to “fit in” everywhere.

I guess I realized a long time ago that every individual is special and I’ve always enjoyed that part of getting to make new friends. I can’t disagree that some people are true characters, like something out of a storybook—very memorable and unique. It’s easy to see this in children. But as we get older, it doesn’t seem to be as desirable anymore.

Observations become labels, which can turn into judgments. It’s a fine line. One way to combat this urge to judge is to look at people as the Universe views them—everyone has a purpose. We can learn so much if we open our hearts and minds to others—things we never even thought of before.

Observation #1 – The Upper Peninsula has a small, down-to-earth population. This gives us the chance to get to know people on a much deeper level, thereby exposing some of their qualities, quirks and foibles. This makes for better entertainment than what I see on television.

Observation #2 – The nonprofit community consists of people who choose to help others in a very significant, intentional manner. Along with supportive businesses and volunteers, I find myself surrounded by people who make great efforts to connect, to see the big picture and strive to make that picture shine.

So, for those of you who hang out “on the fringe” with me, I look forward to sharing time on planet earth with you and getting to know you better!


We are all in this together!

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”― John Lennon At this time in history, it is more important than ever that we join forces and share resources – both human and material. It increases the impact and reach of the efforts and makes us think about what… Continue Reading

Teach Me a Thing or Two

When we hear the word “mentor,” I think most automatically assume that the mentor is older than the person being mentored. Wisdom and knowledge don’t automatically come with age and experience. Oh yes, I have had many mentors throughout my 55 years who were older than me. Looking back, the common trait possessed by these… Continue Reading

A Look at Mental Health – Part 2

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula received a grant from the Michigan Health Fund Foundation to address the mental health needs of children and adolescents. CFUP will fund multiple projects for nonprofit organizations and schools to increase access to mental health services, connect schools and communities in expanding these services and… Continue Reading

Gogebic Range Youth Summit

Gogebic Range Youth Summit

Over 80 students and 20 adults from schools in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties came together at the Gogebic Community College on October 28, 2015. The Ironwood Alternative High School worked with GLCYD and the Ironwood Carnegie Library to plan and host the event, which differed from the asset summit format. Similar to a conference, a… Continue Reading

Get Ready for the Event of the Year!

Get Ready for the Event of the Year!

Communication! We have more options now than ever before, but does that mean we are really communicating with each other? If you would like to learn more, you are cordially invited to attend the 2015 U.P. Nonprofit Conference on Thursday, October 15 I will be presenting “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…Mindful Communication” during… Continue Reading