Marygrove to Host BLOOM Gala to Honor Ambassadors Who Are Committed to Helping Youth in Need

St. Louis, MO, January 14, 2013 --( Marygrove’s annual black-tie gala, now called BLOOM will be held on Friday, March 1st at the Chase Park Plaza. This year’s gala will honor six individuals who have been selected as Ambassadors. Each Ambassador has demonstrated a passion for helping youth in need and is committed to helping create awareness and support of Marygrove’s mission of enriching and healing the lives of children with mental health issues.

The Ambassadors that will be recognized by Marygrove include the following:
Michael McLaughlin – Having experienced abuse as a child, Mr. McLaughlin knows the devastating effects firsthand. He has become a tireless advocate for abused and neglected children, a social entrepreneur who founded Hike4Kids to raise awareness and commitment to the cause. To launch the program, Michael successfully completed a 2,500 mile, 6 months long hike across the Appalachian and Ozark Trails.

Michelle Bain – Ms. Bain is the creator of “Thumbs Up Johnnie”, a character and book series to help children better understand health related topics and for those affected to feel more empowered in managing their health conditions. She has authored 20 Thumbs Up Johnnie titles and has read her books to over 300,000 children across the country.

Rusty and Julie Keeley – The Keeleys are deeply involved in a variety of children’s organizations as advocates, thought leaders, and “in the trenches” contributors. They have been involved in the World Pediatric Project as host parents to medically challenged children from third world countries and share their expertise and support to local pediatric health organizations. Rusty now serves as Chairman of the World Pediatric Project Board of Directors.

Kathy Wehrfritz – Ms. Wehrfritz has focused on empowering women and children in both her personal and professional life. As a financial advisor for more than 25 years, she has specialized in helping women build a secure future for themselves and their children. She has served in board and leadership positions for a variety of catholic charities, social service and domestic violence organizations, and has chaired and supported numerous events that raise money and enrich the lives of vulnerable women and youth-in-need.

Steve Tilley – Mr. Tilley has been committed to the needs of children in his role as public servant, serving in a variety of roles in the Missouri Senate including Speaker of the House. He has a long history of serving the interests of young people including being a mentor and contributing to charities that help give underserved kids an opportunity for personal success. While no longer serving in a political office, he continues to be an advocate for causes he feels important to children and families in our community.

The event will feature Malcolm Briggs of Fox 2 and longtime supporter of Marygrove as Emcee, a cocktail hour with silent auction, gourmet dinner, an Ambassador Presentation, live auction and entertainment by Dr, Zhivegas.

Marygrove is the largest therapeutic residential treatment program in eastern Missouri serving 170 young people each day through residential treatment, transitional and independent living, crisis care and services for homeless youth.

Event CoChairs:
Avani and Mike Nayak
Jennifer and Matt Jermak

Event Committee: Carly Alsbach, Stacey Babb, Stephanie Bahn, Bonnie Barczykowski, Beth Bender, Arlene Browne, Sandy Buddemeyer, Nicole DiMartini, Cindy Drury, Kathryn Feldt, Kelly Ferguson, DeAnn Gueck, Amy Hannah, Benton Jones, Annie King, Donna Lesniak, Tracey Rupinski, Colleen Shea and Pat Tripi.
Jennifer Jermak