Area life coaches hold one-stop workshop

We have all had to deal with life changes in one form or another during our lifetimes. We get married, have kids, get a divorce, or lose our jobs and have to start all over.

The workshop will be held March 19 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
The workshop will be held March 19 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

Luke Gordon of Hiawatha knows all about life changes. He makes it his business to know. Gordon is a life coach, who has joined forces with four other area life coaches to form the Cedar Rapids Coaches Collective.

Gordon met Louis Collins, Stephanie Merrick Mitchell, Berlinda Owens, and Jennifer Murphy after reaching out to them for advice and support last year while he was training to become a life coach.

“We all experience changes and sometimes those changes can cause us to get stuck,” he said. “Life coaches can help you get ‘unstuck.’”

The CRCC will hold a workshop March 19 from 9:30 to 2:30 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. According to Gordon, “Unleash your Inner Hero” will feature the five life coaches, with each presenting their perspective on how to deal with life changes.

Gordon said they all have different ways of doing things, but they share a common goal-to help others deal with the changes in their lives.

Louis Collins, from Cedar Rapids, is a photographer and piano teacher, as well as a life coach. He said he became a life coach because he wanted to help people reach inside and find their identities and emerge a better person.

Collins said he loved the idea of getting together and collaborating on a seminar that would offer the best of all their talents.

“I like the theme of the workshop because I try to help my clients search for the hero within, to realize their true potential. We grow and we learn, but I believe the starting point is within ourselves. We are taught to look for the answers outside ourselves, but the real answers are inside of us already.”

Stephanie Merrick Mitchell, who is from Cedar Rapids, said the reason she got involved in the collective is because it demonstrates an important element of coaching-supporting each other.
“Not only do we help our clients, but we help each other, too.”

Mitchell said she became a coach to help people who are stuck and need encouragement to step outside their comfort zone. “Maybe they would be happier in a different job or they maybe they feel like they should be doing something else,” she said. “ I help them redefine what they want to do.”

Mitchell said it’s opposite of what we learned when we are little. “We are taught not to question and we become comfortable where we are. But then we wake up one day and we aren’t anymore. I work with clients to try to turn that kind of thinking around and look at the possibilities. Most people just need to know that there is someone out there who supports them and believes in them and their dreams.”

According to Mitchell, a coach is an ally, not a fixer. “We work together to come up with a solution. That’s the great thing about the workshop. Those attending will get five different perspectives on life and the changes it brings.”

Gordon said he will focus on life’s transitions at the workshop. “Getting a new job, getting married, having a child, losing a job …. these changes can be traumatic. I help individuals feel better prepared when life changes occur so they don’t look back and wish they would have done something different.”

Berlinda Owens, who lives in Hiawatha, said her niche is to help people work through grief.
“I lost my mother last year and I realized that I could help people go through the same thing I had gone through. It’s really hard when you lose someone you love. It helps to have someone close to you who can help you through it.”

Owens said she tends to look at people going through life as either a chicken or an eagle.
“Chickens stay in their yards and are happy just pecking at the ground, but eagles are made to fly high and soar above everything. You have to ask yourself, do you want to go through life as a chicken, or an eagle? Don’t be afraid to soar.”

Jennifer Murphy, Cedar Rapids, is a writer, an artist, and a coach, and helps her clients step outside of their chaotic lives and look at what is most important.

“They have a chance to see a vision of what they really want to do with their lives,” she said. “I encourage them to ask themselves what’s most important in their lives. We surf through our lives and don’t take the time to stop and enjoy it. We need to give ourselves permission to take the time to enjoy life.”

Murphy said a lot of people avoid conflict because they don’t like the way it feels. “But growth comes from conflict and change is necessary. We do our best to help make it a little less traumatic.”

“We often forget to take care of ourselves,” added Owens. “Knowing how to take care of yourself makes us better parents, better spouses, better employees, and better people in general.”

This is not therapy,” said Murphy. “Therapy deals with resolving the past and we help people in the present, about what is going on right now so we can figure out what the next step is.”

The cost for the event is $47 if you register before March 1. After March 1, the cost goes up to $97.

The cost of registration includes a catered lunch.

Click on this link to register.


Hiawatha to host RAGBRAI riders

The city of Hiawatha is looking for volunteers to help out when the community plays host to approximately 15,000 RAGBRAI riders July 23.

Hiawatha will host RAGBRAI riders July 23.
Hiawatha will host RAGBRAI riders July 23.

The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa held its first ride in 1973, when a challenge was initiated by Des Moines Register writer/copy editor, John Karras, and columnist Don Kaul.

People liked the idea so much they held another the following year and it has since become one of the biggest Iowa events of the year. Bicycle riders come from all over the world for the chance to participate in RAGBRAI.

Hiawatha last hosted RAGBRAI riders in 2004.

The ride will begin July 19 in Sioux City and end July 25 when riders reach Davenport and dip their tires in the Mississippi River.

Stops along the way include Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Eldora, and Cedar Falls, and Coralville.

City Administrator, Kim Downs, and Parks and Recreation Director, Kelly Friedl attended the RAGBRAI announcement Jan. 24 in Des Moines.

“We are very excited about RAGBRAI’s overnight stay in our community and want to make it the best night ever,” said Friedl, Hiawatha. “This will be an opportunity for us to show them why Hiawatha is a great place to live, work, and play.”

Ashley Grabe Zumbas her way to fitness

Those watching Ashley Grabe teach Zumba might think the 32 year-old has been doing it her whole life. But she actually just took up the fitness program a little over two years ago.

Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor
Ashley Grabe, Zumba Instructor

The Zumba instructor, partnering with Back in Line Chiropractic, recently held a free class at the Hiawatha Community Center so that more people could learn the benefits of Zumba Fitness.

Grabe said she started the popular exercise program as a way to lose weight, but soon found out it was a great addition to her life in general.

“I started gaining weight a few years ago and wanted to join an exercise class, but I hesitated because I’d never had much luck with them. I saw a class advertising Zumba and because liked Latin and Salsa dancing, I decided to try it.”

Grabe said she fell in love with it right away.

“I couldn’t believe how much fun it was,” she said. “I found that I didn’t watch the clock like I normally did. And when it was over, I couldn’t wait to do it again. I just couldn’t believe how good I felt.”

She said she attended more Zumba classes and learned the different music and routines.

“Someone told me once that I should become a Zumba instructor, and I thought, why not? I loved to do it and I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather do. I would do Zumba every night if I could.”

Grabe received her certification to teach Zumba in May 2013, after completing a day-long program to learn the steps and teaching methods necessary for certification.

“I had been subbing at the YMCA and continued to do that for a while, but then I decided to take my workout classes to the Shueyville Community Center,” she said. “I’m just trying to get my name out there.”

Together with Alicia Anderson, of Cedar Rapids, Grabe started Dance Club Cardio, which includes Hip Hop, pop, and funk music dance moves.

“We like to use a variety of genres in our classes,” she said.

Grabe, a sales executive with Communications Engineering Company (CEC) in Hiawatha for the past three years, lives in Shueyville with her husband.

Grabe graduated from Kennedy High School in 2000 and earned her Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Kirkwood Community College. She graduated Capri College and obtained her license in aesthetics.

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Hiawatha chiropractor opens unique practice

Erica Smothers was still in middle school when she learned the importance of chiropractic care.

Eric Smothers, of Hiawatha, specializes in the chiropractic care and treatment of all families members, including children and pregnant women. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)
Erica Smothers, of Hiawatha, specializes in the chiropractic care and treatment of all families members, including children and pregnant women. (Photo by Cynthia Petersen)

Smothers was introduced to the world of chiropractic adjustments after a sports-related injury. Even after she recovered, she continued to be treated because she noticed that it helped her overall health, as well.

“My mom and I both noticed that I was sick less often and I didn’t miss school,” she said. “I just generally felt better.”

Smothers said it opened her eyes to how chiropractic care can help people stay healthy.

“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons I went into chiropractic care,” she said.

Smothers, owner of Awaken Family Chiropractic, 2205 Blairsferry Crossing, Suite B, graduated from Kennedy High School in 2006, where she was active in volleyball, softball, and basketball. She attended Coe College after graduation and earned her Bachelor’s degree before attending and graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in the Quad Cities.

“I interned for a chiropractor in Des Moines who specialized in pediatric chiropractic care and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.

Smothers not only adjusts children, including infants, but pregnant women, as well.

“Babies go through a traumatic event when they’re born,” she said. “Most people don’t realize what it does to their neck and spine, but it can affect their health and can contribute to challenges down the road, such as ear infections and colic.”

She added that C-section deliveries seem to amplify these challenges, many of which can be helped with chiropractic adjustments.

Smothers uses  neuro-spinal scans on new patients instead of conventional X-rays. The scans provide her with information regarding the function of the patient’s nervous system and spinal muscles. This allows her to develop individualized care plans for each patient.

“However, If a patients’ condition require that X-rays be taken, I can send them to a facility that will do that.”

Smothers said she has known for a long time that she wanted to bring her practice to Hiawatha.

“This is where I grew up,” she said. “I’m happy with the area and I love Hiawatha.”

Smothers said she would like to become more involved in the community and has held a few health-related workshops since she opened her office in September.

She said she would like to make the workshops a monthly occurrence, but she is also available to talk to organizations and businesses in the community; not just about chiropractic care, but on a variety of health-related subjects.

“And of course, it would be free of charge,” she added.

Smothers said that though she is the only one in her office right now, she would like to eventually hire a massage therapist.

“I have several mentors who have shown me the ropes,” she said. “They have helped me get started, answering my questions and telling me what to expect with opening my own practice. They have been such a big help. I owe them a lot.”

Smothers said she got the idea for the name of her business while visiting a mentor, and pediatric chiropractor, who practices in Illinois. He had a patient who had been on medication for attention and hyperactivity for most of his life and when he started chiropractic care, he was able to go off his medications.

“He said it was like being ‘Awake’ for the first time in his life. It was just very powerful.”

Smothers said that while she does care for adults and older patients as well, the biggest thing that sets her apart from many other chiropractors in the area is her commitment to caring for children and women going through pregnancy.”

“Working with children is very rewarding. It’s nice to see children when they are well and being able to help prevent illness is a wonderful feeling. I have seen a lot of good results from my patients.”

Smothers said she couldn’t stress enough how important chiropractic care is to a person’s overall health.

“It’s really about keeping the spine aligned and free of nerve disturbance. It’s about making sure the nervous system is working as well as it should, since it controls everything else in your body,” she said. “It’s also about preventing illness and promoting overall health and wellness.”

“I think people are starting to look for other alternatives to traditional medicine,” she said. “There is absolutely a time and place for medications and other medical interventions, but if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you?”

For more information about Awaken Family Chiropractic, go to

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Hiawatha chosen as one of the ‘safest cities’ in Iowa

Safe Choice Security, a national home and business security monitoring company, has named hiawathapicHiawatha one of the safest cities in Iowa.

According to an article on Hiawatha’s website, Safe Choice Security created a list of the top 25 safest cities, and named Hiawatha as 7th. The article states that they “considered both the property and violent crime statistics to get some realistic insight into the actual incidences of crime in the towns and cities in Iowa … with this information, you have a confident starting point for finding the ideal municipality for your next home or start-up business.”

Hiawatha, the home of Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Salvatore Guinta, has a number of outdoor parks and recreational centers, such as the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which travels north to Waterloo and south to Ely.hiawatha_ia

Hiawatha is dedicated to providing a safe and affordable living experience and has placed a lot of attention and care into its town center and public places, “making Hiawatha an enjoyable place to raise a family and do business.”

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