BEND, Ore. -

Kicking off its ninth season, the annual grassroots golf fundraising program, Birdies 4 BabiesTM, has officially launched its 2013 season.

The Birdies 4 BabiesTM season-long program welcomes golfers of all abilities, from beginners to professionals and golf clubs throughout Oregon, to collect money for birdies, great golf shots, and even bogeys made during the golfing season.

All proceeds support MountainStar Family Relief Nursery’s child abuse and neglect prevention programs that serve at-risk families with babies and toddlers in Deschutes County.

The 2013 fundraising goal is to raise $25,000 for MountainStar through birdies, matching gifts, and business sponsorships.

The 2012 season brought birdie donations totaling $22,500, which helped MountainStar to serve 897 children and parents throughout the year including over 8,178 visits to the campus for therapeutic early childhood classes, parent training, counseling, respite care, food boxes, donated children’s clothing and diapers, and 1,653 home visits to families by staff.

MountainStar saw a 21% increase in the number of children and parents served and a 30% increase in campus visits during 2012.

Since its inception, the Birdies 4 BabiesTM program has generated $142,500 with the participation of local clubs and golfers. Participating golf courses have included Aspen Lakes Golf Club, Awbrey Glenn Golf Club, Bend Golf and Country Club, Broken Top Golf Club, Crosswater Golf Club, Juniper Golf Club, Lost Tracks Golf Club, Pronghorn Golf Club, River’s Edge Golf Club, Sunriver Resort, Tetherow, and Widgi Creek Golf Club.

“As a small nonprofit organization, this grassroots campaign makes a huge difference!  Birdies 4 Babies was created in 2005 by MountainStar supporters, who are also avid golfers. Nine years later, it has become a powerful way to demonstrate how much our community cares for young children,” says Executive Director, Tim Rusk.

To learn more about Birdies 4 Babies, check out our website at www.mountainstarfamily.org. To order a 2013 Birdies 4 BabiesTM kit for your golf course or individual golf bag, sponsorship opportunities, or questions, please contact Jen Rusk at MountainStar Family Relief Nursery at 541-322-6820, or by e-mail at jenr@mountainstarfamily.org.

About Birdies 4 Babies:

During the summer of 2005, Birdies 4 Babies was conceived by former MountainStar Board members Kathy Murch and Joanne Michael, and four good friends of MountainStar; Susan Battistella, Melinda Bailey, Shelly Hummel and Susan Weir.  Following the "Birdie Club" and "2 Club" tradition that rewards birdies with a dollar or two paid to the golfer, these six ladies agreed to collect all of their birdie money and donate it to MountainStar.  Adopting the name “Birdies 4 Babies”, the six women contributed $500 "birdie” dollars to MountainStar at the end of the 2005 golfing season.  During the most recent 2012 Birdies 4 Babies season, local golfers from 7 clubs in Deschutes County raised $22,500 for MountainStar.

About MountainStar Family Relief Nursery:

MountainStar Family Relief Nursery (“MountainStar”) provides crisis intervention and a therapeutic classroom for 300 babies and young children from 6-weeks to 3-years-old.  These children come from families with multiple risk factors for child abuse and neglect, including low income, homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse.  Children at this critical age represent 40% of the victims of child abuse and are at a stage in their development when it is essential to have attached and attentive caretakers.  Relief Nurseries have documented 68% success rate within the first 6 months of enrollment in reducing the likelihood of abuse, improving family functioning and self-sufficiency, and reducing foster care utilization. MountainStar is one of only 27 programs in Oregon accredited by the National Association of the Education of Young Children. For more information call 541.322.6820 or visit www.mountainstarfamily.org