GAZELLE WEST Vol. 1, Issue 2 - Page 77

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE “And the moms are so ecstatic to see the event personalized for each child,” Beth said. “You hear many of them planning what they hope to be able to do the next year for their children’s birthdays (outside of the shelter). It gives them hope.” Birthday parties are a sort of “rite of passage,” and Beth said she believes they are extremely important for emotional health and growth. “For some of these children, it’s the first time they have ever even seen a birthday party,” she said. Last year, Sweet Celebrations made 103 birthdays in 10 different shelters happier. Plans are to celebrate 300 birthdays in 12 shelters for 2015. Beth’s daughter, Kasey, now 15, and Collin, 11, have joined in the fun, party planning and giving. Kasey coordinates donations and writes tax letters, makes sure thank you notes are written and is learning Quickbooks to help with administrative tasks. Beth’s husband, Ken Gawelek, helps out – mostly behind the scenes, but is no less indispensable, picking up donations, helping out with the children and keeping up with activities in the family’s daily lives. The accounting manager for St. Louis area’s Garden View Care Centers, Beth balances her work with raising her two children, her continued role as a Big Sister, and founder of Sweet Celebrations. In February 2014, she was awarded the 2013 Missouri Big Sister of the Year Award. For more information, to make a donation or volunteer for Sweet Celebrations, call (314) 896-0798 or visit sweet-celebrations.org. 77 Photos Birthday girls and boys in local homeless shelters are thrilled when Beth Brockling and Sweet Celebrations shows up to surprise them with a party that makes them feel special. (three photos on left) Beth Brockling, above, received the 2013 Missouri Big Sister of the Year Award with her “Little Sister,” Shalei, left, by her side. SAVVY I SOPHISTICATED I SASSY