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'Reach for the Stars' fund-raiser tops $36,000

Zea Branson speaks about her experiences as a teen parent at the Family Resource Center's "Reach for the Stars" fund-raising gala on Sunday, April 29. The event raised over $36,000 in support of programs to strengthen local children and families.

Over 240 people attended The Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley's seventh annual fund-raiser, "Reach for the Stars: a Hawaiian Luau," at the Hudson Golf Club Sunday, April 29. The event raised over $36,000 to help provide free parent education and support for local families in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties.

The gala was organized with a Hawaiian theme and featured a tropical dinner; raffles, live, silent, and dessert auctions; music; and stories from parents who participate in the programs.

"Teen Parent class allows my daughter, Siiri, to interact with other babies... [and] helps me remember the big ideas of parenting," said Zea Branson, a participant in the Family Resource Center's Teen Parent Program.

Parent Brittany Toland also spoke about how the center's home-visiting program helped her gain confidence in her parenting skills and learn what to expect as her daughter developed.

"Thank you to our parent speakers, business sponsors, donors, board, staff and volunteers for making this event a success," said Patty Draxler, FRCSCV executive director. "Your investment in local children and families makes a difference in our community."

Proceeds raised at the gala help fund the center's free parenting education programs for families with children from birth to age 6. These services include Baby & Me classes, Play & Learn groups, hospital visits, home visits, a Teen Parent Program, developmental screenings and a resource referral network.

The Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization founded in 1998 to offer free early childhood development, family support and parent education resources to any family with children from birth to age 6 in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties. For more information, or to learn more about donating or volunteering, contact the center at (715) 684-4440, or