Tag Archives: Heather Spaetzel

Letter: Community support enhances parents retreat

Parents As Advocates hosted its fifth annual retreat this October, and we were once again blessed with many donations for our moms of children with special needs.

We wanted to express our gratefulness to the following people and companies for their generosity: Michelle and Donna from Thirty-one and Miche Bag, Diana Cesena from Arbonne International, Arlington Park Race Course, WBIG, Build a Bear, Chili’s, Zano Salon, Nora Kadolph, Olive Garden in Oswego, Paramount Theatre, Protected Tomorrows, Scitech Hands on Museum, Stage Coach Players, Super Duper Publications, Top Secret, Inc., Jessica Peterin of Tupperware, Donna Peters of Lia Sophia, Marguerite Ledone of Pampered Chef, Misty Weir of Tastefully Simple, Barb Cocoran of Avon, Jerky Direct, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center, Liberty Chiropractic, Lori Winans of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Jan Gentner of Massage Envy, Mt. Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells, Fermilab Arts and Lecture, Funway, the Holiday Inn, Catherine Finn Photography, Geneva Underground Playhouse, Advanced Physical Medicine, Genoa Pizza of Sugar Grove, Dawn Aagesen of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mon Ami Gabi, Audrey Ritchey of Tastefully Simple, Wilson Travel and Cruis, Kari Lody of Avon, Inspireavisin, Jamie Garlick, and Lexis Nail Spa.

We also had several people give their time to make our moms feel cared for and well-rested. Our massage therapists included Annie Moore of Atrium Wellness Massage, Terry Roat, and Kim Ortegal. Dr. Michael Maniacci was our keynote speaker and taught us how to get off of our rollercoaster lives for a bit. Cindy Snow led a yoga class and Jennifer Cesario organized an NIA class. Kathy Westlock of Essential Body Wear helped us all get fitted for bras and gave us a much needed lift! Knuckleheads Tavern also supplied karaoke this year.

We come back from this retreat ready to face the challenges of another year, and it is something we look forward to for 11 months. Sometimes it is the only break we get and our sincerest thanks go out to those who make the retreat such a wonderful experience.

Heather Spaetzel
Sugar Grove

Letter: Parents As Advocates retreat is an amazing weekend

For the last four years, I have had the supreme pleasure of sharing a weekend with the most amazing, non-judgmental, open women I have ever been so fortunate to meet.

Every year, I attend a retreat sponsored by Parents As Advocates. By the end of the weekend, we are refreshed and ready to face the wonderful but challenging assignment of raising a child, or often children, with special needs.

Parents As Advocates is a group dedicated to helping children with disabilities in the local area. Our main focus is to help families become stronger advocates for their children. We meet over breakfast at Papa G’s one Saturday morning a month to network, offer support and learn from guest speakers. We have social events throughout the year, and share information/resources via our e-mail group lists.

Our retreat began as a small idea for which the hope was to just have a much-needed “girls’ night out,” but which blossomed into a two-day getaway, complete with pampering, discussion, and relaxation.

Our fifth annual retreat will be held On Friday through Sunday, Oct. 15-17, and will allow for up to 75 area moms to attend.

These ladies very rarely have the opportunity to get away on their own and focus on themselves. As you can imagine, mothering a child with special needs is a tremendous blessing, while at the same time, it also holds many difficulties that few can handle without some very trying times. Our mission is to provide these moms with an experience that will “recharge their batteries” and allow them to return to their families with a renewed sense of purpose and encouragement. Our theme this year is Life’s a Beach.

In the past, we have asked for help from our community and have been overwhelmed with your generosity. There are many things individuals can do to make this retreat a success.

You could make a donation to our “Love Baskets.” Each mom will be surprised to receive a beautiful basket brimming with little goodies, gift certificates, products and coupons when she arrives at the retreat. No item is too small to be accepted for the baskets, and anything you feel you could contribute would be very much appreciated.

Or, you could make a donation to be given away as a door prize. For example, last year we had donations which included everything from house-cleaning gift certificates, to teeth whitening, to digital cameras, to Motorola phones to dinner and play gift certificates, and everything in between. Everything is appreciated with the knowledge of the beautiful thought behind it.

If you frequent a business that provides services (ie: nail salons, hair salons, massages, chiropractors, etc.), you could give them information about our retreat and ask them to donate their time. If you do this yourself, you could consider coming to pamper our moms for a time. Most of these moms don’t take the time to pamper themselves, and they would be the most grateful of recipients. We have had many volunteers, including novice teenagers, in past years that come on Saturday afternoon to do nails, and you would think they provided an hour massage as our ladies are so thrilled.

A final way to help is by making a monetary donation toward a scholarship fund that we have set up for those that cannot afford the $170 registration fee. Most moms need some kind of stipend or scholarship, as much of the household money goes to various doctors, therapists and medications. These moms spend money on themselves last, if there is any left. We have been thrilled to offer some scholarships this year already, and the recipients are amazed at the generosity of some people.

Currently, we have 25 registered moms. If you know of someone who could benefit from this type of retreat, please have them contact our registration coordinator, Karol Peters, at K.Peters@foxvalley.net.

Heather Spaetzel
Sugar Grove