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Reach for the Stars gala raises funds for Family Resource Center programs

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley board, staff and event volunteers gather at the organization’s 12th annual fundraising gala, held April 30 at the River Falls Golf Club. Photo by Kelsey Tyznik

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley hosted the Reach for the Stars gala with Caribbean flair on April 30 at the River Falls Golf Club. Despite the chilly, wet weather, the climate among the nearly 250 guests was warm and festive. The event was the Family Resource Center's 12th annual, and a finale for Executive Director Patty Draxler, who is set to retire Friday, May 19, after over 14 years leading the organization.

Reach for the Stars is held during the month of April to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and all proceeds from the gala support the Family Resource Center's local programs for families, including group classes and home visits.

"It has been wonderful to watch this event grow over the years. Each year we have built on the year before," Draxler said. "It is thrilling to see the level of support for early childhood initiatives grow, and Reach for the Stars plays a very integral part in generating this positive support."

The event program included remarks from participant Tori Isler of Amery and a video showing about Family Resource Center programs, produced by University of Wisconsin-River Falls' stage and screen arts student Kelsey Tyznik. Board member Mary Sue Ash presented the annual John M. Coughlin Volunteer Award to John Marnell of Hudson, thanking him for his leadership and vision through his years of service on the board of directors and as a member of the Reach for the Stars planning committee.

Family Resource Center Board President Aaron Mork also introduced Draxler's successor, Agnes Ring of Houlton. Ring has been a member of the organization's board of directors since 2016, and is very active in the local community; she is also a current member the St. Croix County Board.