Members of Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley gather for a photo at the 17th annual Reach for the Stars Boots & Bling Gala on Sunday, April 24 at Tattersall Distilling in River Falls.Photo courtesy of Suzanne Wynveen Photography
Supporters dusted off their boots to raise $72,500 for Family Resource Center

RIVER FALLS – On Sunday, April 24, more than 300 supporters of Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley came together at Tattersall Distilling in River Falls for the 17th annual Reach for the Stars Boots & Bling Gala. After virtual events in 2020 and 2021, an in-person event was held.

Guests were encouraged to wear country chic attire, enjoy auctions, rawes, delicious food and live entertainment by local artist, Chris Kroeze.

“The Reach for Stars gala is held in April every year to mark Family Strengthening Month,” said Family Resource Center Executive Director Agnes Ring. “The generous financial support provided by local business es, individual donors, and community leaders at this event – and throughout the year — re- flects a caring community. The event shines a light on the challenges of families raising young children and the life-changing work of our parent educators.”

The event raised $72,500 to support Family Resource Center’s mission of providing education, resources, and support for families with young children in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties.

Family Resource Center is a non-profit founded in 1998 and located in Baldwin. Each year, Family Resource Center acknowledges an individual at the event for their leadership, dedication, and service through the annual John M. Coughlin Volunteer Award. The award honors the memory of Coughlin’s extraordinary leadership, dedication, and commitment to the well-being of children and families in the region, as well as his vision to create a comprehensive early childhood system through United Way St. Croix Valley and Success By 6 initiatives.

Board President Barry Cain, Superintendent of the Ellsworth School District, presented the 2022 award to board member Carla O’Connell, who has served on the Board of Directors for more than 20 years and was a member of the first Reach for the Stars Committee. O’Connell continues to demonstrate passion and dedication by serving on the board, Reach for the Stars committee, and working in the community sharing the importance of early childhood education.

O’Connell was also a key leader in the Family Resource Center ovce expansion, restoration, and design in 2018. She and her husband Mike own O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

Guests heard from a Family Resource Center parent participant as part of the event program. Nicole, an Amery resident, shared that she learned of Family Resource Center programs at the age of 17, as a single parent of two young boys.

“I am so grateful that my family and I get to learn together and grow more strong,” she said. “There is nothing more that I want my children to know than I did my best and sometimes asking for help is doing just that.”

This event is made possible by the generosity of the many Reach for the Stars sponsors: Diamond Sponsors – Nilssen’s Foods, OEM Fabricators, Inc. and O’Connell Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services.

Platinum Sponsors – Countryside Apartments, Hiawatha National Bank, Health Part- ners: Amery, Hudson and Westfields Hospital and Clinics Gold Sponsors – First State Bank and Trust, WESTconsin Credit Union Silver Sponsors – Bremer Bank, Citizens State Bank, Family Friendly Workplaces, First Bank of Baldwin, FNC Bank, Homestead Veterinary Clinic, Kristo Orthodontics, Nolato Contour, Royal Credit Union, SF Insurance Group, Smiles in Motion, TMS Tire and Auto, Village Pharmacy, Xcel Energy Event Sponsors – Showtime Entertainment, Just In Live Stream, Scott Coolidge, Suzanne Wynveen Photography Head to Family Resource Center’s website, to view the many silent auction and dessert auction sponsors.

The event was led by Family Resource Center Development and Communications Coordinator, Sarah Weiske along with committee members, Barbara Nelson, Carla O’Connell, Larry Gee, Lester Halstead, Pat Gardner, Ryma Lindquist, Amber Richardson, Julie Foss, Sharon Reyzer and Jennifer Jones. Thank you to all who supported and attended the gala, Family Resource Center is grateful to you for your support!

Submitted by Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley

May 17, 2022