LOMBARD – For 20 years, June May Kortum had envisioned a unique space where people seeking spiritual and emotional counsel could come to get their lives back on track.
That dream became a reality last month for Kortum, founder of The Gathering Lighthouse, 26 S. Park Ave. in Lombard. Sitting on a leather couch in the center's main gathering room Wednesday morning, Kortum, who describes herself as a life coach, explained the purpose of opening the nonprofit organization.
"We're on the ground floor wanting to help people who are really pushed down by life, who have really low self-esteem and are not being productive members of society," said Kortum, 71, a longtime Villa Park resident with her husband, William. "It's all-encompassing for me – whatever it is that society needs; whatever we can do to benefit those that come through the doors."
The Gathering Lighthouse provides personal services, such as private coaching and counseling sessions, as well as group programs like yoga classes, women's retreats and presentations by licensed professionals.
"We are always looking for people that could provide programs that would benefit the general public in ways that will help people see themselves in a better light," she said. "It's all about the growth process."
All programs and services are open to the public and are strictly donation-based, meaning there is not a fee structure. Any monetary donations are used to run the programs, Kortum said.
Giving has been a powerful theme for Kortum, who is focused on helping people without seeking financial gain, she said.
"A lot of people that originally come to us are very dependent or in negative situations," she said. "In order for them to more forward and have their own lives, we work with them on their fears, their anger and their shame to get them to ask, 'How can you look at your life differently'?"
However, Kortum is cognizant that not everyone who walks through the door can be helped without a licensed professional, so she said the nonprofit maintains connections with health professionals and other outreach organizations so that it can refer individuals who may require specific help.
For Kortum, the idea for a communal healing space began eight years ago when she opened her home in Villa Park to individuals who, like herself, practiced healing touch, a therapeutic philosophy based on using the energy that runs through a person's body as a method of natural healing.
"A lot of nurses and doctors right now are interested in learning this process and using it," Kortum said. "I teach other people how to mediate and calm themselves so they can begin to use the talents that they have and didn't know what to do with them."
One type of energy work performed is Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation which promotes healing within the body. This and other healing methods will be a fixture at The Gathering Lighthouse, Kortum said.
Kortum's penchant for giving hasn't gone unnoticed, apparently. Furniture, decorations and the handmade merchandise available for purchase in the center have been donated to Kortum for the benefit of the organization. Even the newly stained wood floors were laid and completed through volunteer efforts, she said.
"This was a blessing," she said. "All of the things that are here were done by someone else – for us," she said.
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If you go
What: 1-on-1 Reiki Demonstration Sessions
When: 7 to 10 p.m. today
Where: The Gathering Lighthouse, 26 N. Park Ave.
Fee: Donation suggested
More info: Call 630-785-6541 or visit thegatheringlight.com