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Inspiring Airdrie women to live out loud

Airdrie resident Karen MacDonald's dream is to inspire women and contribute to their social health and well-being.
Dancing Out Loud
Line dancing was one of the first activities offered by Ladies Out Loud, and remains a core activity for the group. The group also offers workshops, tea-time chats and outings designed to provide an inclusive, non-judgmental space for women to meet and bond.

Airdrie resident Karen MacDonald's dream is to inspire women and contribute to their social health and well-being. Through her group, Ladies Out Loud, MacDonald endeavors to achieve that goal – providing a space for Airdrie’s women to dance, laugh, build friendships and take care of themselves and each other by participating in a variety of activities, outings and workshops. “It’s meant to be fun and social, a place to meet other women and make friends,” she said. MacDonald – a certified life coach – founded the group in 2015, after identifying a need within the community for a space where women could build relationships with one another. “We all need to connect with somebody,” she said. “We all get busy within our own lives, but there’s still people out there who need to venture out.” MacDonald’s own experience as a survivor of abuse has led her to place a high value on her own well-being, she said – and, by extension, the well-being of women in general. Those past experiences also ignited her desire to help fellow women in her community. According to MacDonald, Ladies Out Loud allows women to take part in a number of activities including line dancing, tea-time chats with guest speakers, and workshops. While the group is geared toward women aged 40 to 55, MacDonald said older and younger ladies are invited and, indeed, do take part – the group has accommodated women ranging from 18 to 78 years old. With a growing membership of approximately 60 women, MacDonald said, Ladies Out Loud offers a huge social component for local women – and seems to be well received. Often, she said, non-members will also take part in the group’s activities. “There’s women that are married that are involved with it. There are women that are widowed. There are women that have got a past and a story to tell. There’s women that are divorced and there’s women that are single,” MacDonald said. “They just want that community – something that’s fun, so that they can come together in a social aspect. It’s given women a place to go to meet other people.” The group prioritizes fun, something MacDonald believes is undervalued. She added laughter, dancing and music can be instrumental in the positive well-being of ladies in Airdrie and beyond. MacDonald said she hopes the group will continue to grow and expand as a relaxed, non-judgmental, friendly and inclusive space where the women of Airdrie can feel comfortable. “The women realize, when we start chatting, that we have more in common than not,” she said. “It’s also comforting to know that we are not alone, and have an outlet to share some of our thoughts, challenges and triumphs.”

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