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Margaret's Musings: Family Resource Center provides invaluable help

Sometimes things just feel right. It is hard to explain, you realize that you have discovered a person or a group who has the potential to make a difference in the world. That was how I felt Sunday evening, while attending the Reach for the Stars fundraiser for Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley.

I have to admit that the theme Reach for the Stars-Under the Bella Luna (which changes every year) was based on Italy. Almost anything Italian will get me off in a positive direction.

Over the years I have attended an assortment of fundraising events. At this one, however, there was an air of happiness in the room filled with nearly 200 people. It was as though the attendees knew this group was making a big difference and they were there to help with its mission.

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley provides services to St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties. It was founded in 1998 and is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization based in Baldwin.

Their mission is to strengthen children, families and communities by offering educational resources and support. They do this through an assortment of programs all of which are free and available to anyone. They include hospital and home visits, screenings, "Play and Learn" groups, "Baby and Me" classes, parent education, resource networks and a teen parent program.

While, I was benignly aware of the Family Resource Center's existence, it wasn't until Sunday night that I fully understood how important their mission is. While two mothers volunteered to share their stories for the group, both of which were compelling, it was when Judge Howard Cameron spoke that I realized this group could be life changing for not only parents but children as well.

Cameron's speech was short and succinct. The essence of it was, if children are given a good start from birth, they are less likely to end up in front of him in his courtroom. Family Resource Center offers the kind of support to children from birth to age six and their parents that can give them that advantage.

As science progresses, more and more evidence mounts that everything children are exposed to at a young age can make a profound difference in their ultimate outcome.

So when a teen mom needs help learning parenting skills, she can reach out to the Family Resource Center for help. Or when a new mom just cannot get her baby to sleep through the night, Family Resource Center may offer the help needed.

In 2009 Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley provided these services across St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties: 1,045 individuals were offered information, resources, and referrals; 567 parents & children participated in Play & Learn groups; 355 parents were visited in the hospital after delivering babies; 192 parents & babies participated in Baby & Me classes and 121 families received home visits.

"One of the most common comments we hear from moms is 'I thought I was the only one who felt that way,'" said Betsy Byker, parent educator and program coordinator, who shared these other comments from participants.

"Parents shouldn't be afraid to ask for help," said an Amery parent who receives home visits.

"If I didn't have the support of the Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley, I would never have completed high school, my family would be more frustrated with me, and my baby wouldn't have the better mom that I've become," said a teen parent.

Regardless of your situation, if you are a parent of a child age birth to six, help is a phone call or a mouse click away. Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley is located at 857 Main Street, Baldwin. You may call (715) 684-4440 or go to or e-mail

In closing, I am happy to report that the fifth annual Reach for the Stars fundraiser, which was held at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club in River Falls garnered over $27,000.

"It is a good way to start the week," said Lauren Koshere, development and marketing coordinator for Family Resource Center.

I couldn't agree more.