Family & Children's Center Gala to benefit Healthy Families prog - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Family & Children's Center Gala to benefit Healthy Families program

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) - Being a first time parent can be exciting, stressful, and overwhelming all at the same time.  The Family and Children's Center in La Crosse helps parents with the demands of parenting through a program called Healthy Families.

On Friday, the center is hosting An Evening in Monte Carlo fundraiser for the Healthy Families program along with the Stepping Stones program. Both programs are supported by grants and community contributions. Proceeds from this event help to offset program expenses every year. Without private support, neither program would exist.  The registration deadline for the fundraiser has passed, but donations are always welcome through their website.

The Healthy Families program is a voluntary home visiting program for overburdened families. Thirteen years ago Kimberly Williams was just like any new mom, nervous and unsure. At just 19 years old, she gave birth to her first daughter Abigail and was referred to the Healthy Families program at the Family and Children's Center.

"Just getting through the day is all you are thinking about, meeting the needs of a baby, you don't think big picture," said Williams.

For the first three years of her daughter Abigail's life, a specialist visited their home and helped Kimberly cope with the challenges of motherhood.

Kimberly came from an abusive and alcoholic family, "drinking was coping, disappearing was coping, arguing was coping and I could've easily gone in that direction," she said.

Kimberly credits the Healthy Families program with helping her stop the cycle of abuse.

With the help of the program she went back to school, found a home to raise her family in, and was given the confidence to become the mom she wanted to be.

When asked to describe her mother, Abigail said "she's loving, understanding, good to talk to if I have something going on."

Eighty families in La Crosse County use the program currently.  It is a free program for anyone who feels they could benefit.

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