B is for Brooklyn holiday party raises money for children in need
Feb 01, 2018 08h00
By Jana Klopsch
The B is for Brooklyn holiday party raises money for children in need. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)
If goodness of character, success in life, or service came only from granted ease and plans gone right, than Ella Fitzgerald, Albert Einstein and parents like Natalie and Tony Parks would never have accomplished what makes this world decidedly more beautiful.
Like Fitzgerald and Einstein, Natalie and Tony Parks were not destroyed by their hardship, but elevated by it.
“Brooklyn Tiersa Angel Parks is our adorable little daughter who passed away the day that she was born. We only had one day with her, but the day was really special. We got to dress her, bless her and family from all over flew in to be with her and share their love,” Natalie said.
In this unbearable moment it was the promise Natalie and Tony made to their little girl that stands remarkable.
“The last time that we talked to Brooklyn we made a number of promises we intend to keep forever and serving other people, especially underprivileged or special needs children, has been a big part of that mission,” Natalie said.
In their moment of pain Natalie and Tony promised to do for others. And that is exactly what they have done.
“The B is for Brooklyn holiday party actually started as a simple, small event we had in the house to make Brooklyn’s first birthday something really special rather than something dark and sad. Tony and I brought Santa Claus to speak with a good number of little kids. While I was nervous about it initially, I noticed that we felt a great amount of love, happiness and joy. We realized we might be able to make it bigger and help even more kids,” Natalie said.
The event, held at Highland High School, is attended by close to a thousand people and boasts entertainment from the Disney princesses, Santa, the Jazz dunk team, the Salt Lake Bees mascot and a magic show by Mike Hamilton.
“It’s really something we prepare for year round. We have family members come from out of state to help out the week of the event. I can’t say enough about the amazing efforts put in from so many people,” Natalie said.
The proceeds from the event help raise money for the Candy Cane Corner, which gives a holiday shopping experience to families at The Road Home. And to Spencer’s Wishes, a non-profit for children founded in honor of 10-year-old Spencer who passed away from cancer.
“One hundred percent of everything donated goes to the children because all of our expenses are covered by our family or other generous volunteers. We’ve been really proud of that 100 percent number because we know we’ve maximized everything we have to help as many children as possible,” Natalie said.
One of those children is special needs girl named Bri Heim.
“Bri loves everything about the party, she loves Santa and seeing the princesses, but honestly her favorite part is just seeing Natalie and Tony. Natalie and Tony are the sweetest couple. To have gone through such a tragic thing and then be able to do so much to help other families is amazing. It’s a beautiful tribute to their little princess and helps keep her spirit alive. There is just so much love there,” Wendy Heim, mother of Bri said.
Alicia Gleed from The Road Home also appreciates Natalie and Tony and their efforts.
“Our agency is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Natalie and Tony. Their monetary donations to The Road Home go directly to help families with children and individuals turning to us for shelter to overcome homelessness. In addition, their in-kind donations to Candy Cane Corner help the over 800 families served have a wonderful holiday season. It is because of the support of people like Natalie and Tony Parks that people are able to move out of homelessness and back home,” Gleed said.
The B is for Brooklyn holiday party raised nearly $15,000 in cash and toy donations this year.
“We’ve never had any goals involving a dollar amount or anything like that. The goal has simply just been to help as many kids as we possibly can,” Natalie said.
And that goal is particularly impressive as they continue to experience loss. Natalie became pregnant again with their second little girl, Siobhan. She was premature, and like her sister, was born and passed away.
“Having to bury our two daughters, organize funerals and pay these kinds of bills before ever having a chance to watch them grow up is something really hard to deal with as a parent. But through all of the grief we have found some real moments of beauty and peace, moments that we have experienced and shared at the B is for Brooklyn holiday party,” Natalie said.
That party is evidence of their character.
“If everyone were like Tony and Natalie I venture to guess no one in the world would go wanting,” Terry said.