Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

Happily Taking the Leap

It's February 29th and I've had a great day inspired by the vision of Chamber President Todd Shimkus. He's the genius behind Leap of Kindness Day. The Saratogian quotes Todd explaining the concept, “We thought the best way to use this extra day was to encourage our members and our community to do something kind for someone else,” he explained in a press release. “Rather than simply asking people to do random acts of kindness, we launched this effort 30 days in advance and have worked diligently to connect organizations looking to make a big impact with others in the community who could benefit from a simple thank you or a donation of some kind.”

So today I asked Wellspring staff to think about people or organizations they work with every day that go above and beyond. Those chosen for recognition today varied from individual employees, to organizations that partner with us in innovative collaborations, to businesses whose bottom line is their community. Here's just a few examples:
Wellspring advocate Christie and Chief Veitch

  • the  Saratoga Springs Police Department which partners with Wellspring to offer support to domestic violence survivors not only in the crisis, but  in the days or weeks that follow.
  • the sexual assault nurse examiners at Saratoga Hospital, Ellis Medicine and Glens Falls Hospital. The compassionate response of these nurses is often the first step in healing for a traumatized survivor of a sexual assault. It's tough work, and intensive training, but these nurses show such  passion and dedication to helping survivors.
  • Adirondack Trust Co. and Stewarts Shops, two local businesses that not only are in our community- they're unquestionably for our community, supporting projects and agencies that help address community needs.
  • The Downtown Business Association in Saratoga Springs. These primarily small businesses demonstrate caring and compassion for those less fortunate. Every day these businesses support local causes and help people in need, through donations, fundraisers, and simply human concern.
  •  Leadership Saratoga- for almost 3 decades, LS has trained community members to be volunteers and leaders. Their members serve on the boards of local nonprofits (my personal thanks to all the LS grads who have guided Wellspring over the years) and donate their time to hundreds of local organizations.
    Leadership Saratoga's Kathleen Fyfe and me
It's been gratifying to recognize all the great things that happen just here in our community. What I love about Leap of Kindness Day is that one man's idea has spread so quickly, not just here in Saratoga County, but across the country. Listen to the news-- we focus so much on the negative; yet each day there are so many people doing such inspirational good works. It's gratifying to make the time to recognize them; thanks for giving us the opportunity Todd. But I do think 4 years is too long to wait for another opportunity... let's figure out how to make this an annual event.

" I think the world is going to be saved by millions of small things."
Pete Seeger 

One in Three is Too Many!

When we think of holidays and February our first thoughts might be of candy hearts or perhaps presidents, but I'd like to wish you a Happy TDVAM.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

According to the Family and Youth Services Bureau, "Each year, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. At a rate far higher than other forms of youth violence, teen dating violence impacts 1 in 3 adolescents in the United States through physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse."

1 in 3. The statistic alone sounds significant, but if you've ever picked your teenager up at the end of the school  day or after a school basketball game you've got an image in your mind of how many youth stream out of those doors. Now mentally calculate that 1 in 3 number as you're envisioning all those teens walking past you. This is a serious problem.

Wellspring staff work with local youth to raise awareness about relationship and sexual abuse. We have conversations about issues like consent, creating social change, how to intervene if you see a situation, and the connection between alcohol and sexual victimization. We want to give teens the knowledge, skills and confidence to speak up for themselves or for someone in need. So this February talk to a teen about dating violence.

 What Is Consent? Here's a quick video about consent to start the conversation... because 1 in 3 is too many.

19th Annual Bartenders’ Ball Sets Record Attendance

February 9, 2016

Submitted by Maggie Fronk, Executive Director

Wellspring (DVRC)

(518) 583-0280


 On Saturday, February 6, over 735 community members descended upon a sold-out Saratoga Springs City Center as The Hospitality Committee of The Saratoga Chamber of Commerce hosted the Annual Bartenders’ Ball.  The annual gala featured a night of food, drinks, live music, dancing, and gaming all to the theme of ‘Fire and Ice.’

In doing so, they helped support Wellspring, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Saratoga County, by helping to raise $25,000 in support of the agency.  According to Maggie Fronk, Executive Director of Wellspring, the agency will use the funds, “to invest improve accessibility to Wellspring services for all members of the communities we serve.”

She added, “We want to thank everyone who help make the ball such a great event—the committee members who work so hard, including the people at Fine Affairs and the Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs for their exceptional work in creating a fun, vibrant theme, environment and menu, all while providing our guests with the exceptional service one expects in Saratoga County hospitality.  But most of all, we want to thank everyone who came to this event in support of the hospitality workers, as well as the mission of Wellspring—in doing so, you helped to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of local residents dealing with relationship and sexual abuse.”

This was the eighth year of a partnership between the Hospitality Committee of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Wellspring.  In 2009, Wellspring, then DVRC, partook in our first Bartenders’ Ball.  Since then, the fundraiser has raised over $180,000 in support of the agency and their clients.  Funds have been used to update many aspects of the secure shelter, which every year provides almost 3,000 safe bed nights to families in imminent danger because of domestic abuse.  The funds have also helped improve the infrastructure that supports and provides crisis intervention and support services, and access to services for members of the community who have limited or no access to transportation or technology resources.

The event was also the culmination of the annual ‘Most Valuable Bartender’ contest, as voted by members of the Saratoga County community.  This year 30 bartenders from 10 participating establishments vied for the title of MVB.  After almost 6,000 people cast their votes, the winners were announced at the Ball.  3rd Place went to Nicole from the Rusty Nail in Clifton Park, 2nd Place went to Peggy Sue from The Mill on Round Lake, and 1st Place went to Patty from The Ravenswood Pub in Clifton Park.

Now in its 19th year, the Ball has generated $500,000 for local charities, while honoring the individuals who make the $120 million/year Saratoga County hospitality industry happen.  It is also become a signature event of the local social calendar—this year’s event sold out more than a week in advance, even with the addition of extra seats.

The ball was made possible through the sponsorship of many local hospitality companies including Platinum sponsors 101.3 The Jockey, Fine Affairs, and Sysco.  DeCrescente Distributing, Saratoga Eagle Sales and Service Inc., and Southern Wine and Spirits, also supported the event through sponsorship.

Help local kids and a positive message go viral by February 12th

At Wellspring we spend a lot of time talking to youth. Why? Our vision is to end relationship and sexual abuse in our community. Crisis and support services and prevention programs are strategies to work toward that goal, but they're not enough. We also need to create social change. We need to address the underlying factors that are woven into our society, beliefs, and our policies and practices which contribute to abuse enduring. Sometimes these are so much a part of the fabric of our  lives that we don't even notice them.

Some students at the Myers Center  are helping to create that social change. They just made a video to raise awareness about Dating Violence Awareness Month... and they need your help to make the video go viral. Here's their story:

Help Myers SADD Video Go Viral by February 12

Help the Myers SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) students make their video go viral by February 12. The winner will be announced in mid-February. Students who belong to the Myers SADD organization created an original video on domestic violence prevention and entered it in the #ICanDoSomething video challenge. They created a one-minute-long video that features 15 students from the F. Donald Myers Education Center.
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence challenged New York State teens, who are between 14 and 18 years old, to create a positive video message about healthy teen dating relationships and make it go viral. 
Click here to view the video and share with everyone you know. 

Try Thai for Wellspring this Wednesday!

Here's a great way to feel terrific while supporting Wellspring. Bodyworks Professionals is offering Thai Massage sessions. Come sample a 30 minute Thai Massage and they'll your donate the proceeds to Wellspring. You'll feel like a new person, while helping others find safety and healing.


It affects 7.5 million people in the US yearly
For half the people it happens before their 25th birthday
Most of the time it's done by someone they know
It causes fear, employment concerns, some people have to move, and others fear it will never end

What is it?

When was the last time you thought about stalking? Maybe you read about a celebrity who is being stalked by a 'fan'. Stalking is one of those things we don't think about too much until it happens to someone we care about. The sad reality is stalking is far more common than most people think. It's also highly correlated with intimate partner violence... and with intimate partner homicide.

Sometimes I'm mindlessly singing along to Sting's I'll be Watching You and I catch myself and shudder as I really listen to the words and think about the terror that stalking elicits.

Every breathe you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break
and every step you take
I'll be watching you

Every single day
And every word you say
Every game you play
And every night you stay
I'll be watching you

Oh you can' t see
You belong to me...

I'll be Watching You is often mistaken as a love song. Wikipedia reports Sting "was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it is about the obsession with a lost lover, and the jealousy and surveillance that follow...I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle little love song, when it's quite the opposite."

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

It's important to know about stalking, so you can recognize the early signs and encourage someone you know to get help tight away. Got 5 minutes? Here's a quick interactive quiz to help you better understand stalking. And here's a fact sheet for more information about stalking.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

SSCYE invites you to participate in

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, Jan. 25 - 31

Help educate young people about the effects and consequences of drug and alcohol use by taking part in National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week. Hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Drug Facts Week takes place from Jan. 26 to 31.

In its sixth year, National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week was developed by NIDA to educate teens with science-based facts about the effects and consequences that drugs have on the brain, body, and behavior. By bringing young adults and scientific experts together with a common goal, National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week aims to shatter the myths and empower teens with the knowledge to make positive choices.

National Drug Facts WeekJoin hundreds of participants across the country, and tens of organizations and school districts in Southern Saratoga County, by getting the facts out about the risks of youth drug use.  Consider working with local youth, schools, and prevention coalitions to organize an educational event or activity for teens that delivers real, factual information about drugs and drug abuse.

Here’s how you can take part:

• Use your social media accounts to share information with your followers using the tweets provided below.  Be sure to give a “shout-out” to the Southern Saratoga County Youth Empowerment (SSCYE) Partnership by using our twitter handle, @SSCYE1.

• Plan an educational event for your community using NIDA’s step-by-step toolkit and free educational materials. More information here:  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-alcohol-facts-week

• Register here https://www.nidachat.org/register.aspx for the Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26th from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., or take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge Quiz https://teens.drugabuse.gov/quiz/national-drug-facts-week/take-iq-challenge/2015



  1. A study showed people 13-38 who used marijuana regularly from teen to adulthood had a significant drop in IQ even if they quit #drugfacts
  2. Marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. #drugfacts
  3. Early marijuana use can increase the risk of psychosis, a mental disorder where delusions and hallucinations are common symptoms #drugfacts
  4. Is Marijuana addicting? 1 in 11 youth who smoke marijuana seek treatment. #drugfacts
  5. THC in marijuana, deadens neurons in the part of the brain that’s in charge of short-term memory #drugfacts



  1. About 5,000 people under 21 die each year from injuries caused by underage drinking #drugfacts
  2. More than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics #drugfacts
  3. Teens who drink heavily are 3 times more likely to try to hurt themselves than those who don’t. #drugfacts
    Prescription Drugs

  1. In 2007, prescription pain meds were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined #drugfacts
  2. Half of the young people who injected heroin in 3 recent studies started out abusing prescription drugs first #drugfacts
  3. Students who abuse Adderall are 9x more likely to use cocaine #drugfacts

  1. Most people who start smoking in their teens become regular smokers before they’re 18 #drugfacts
  2. 1 in 3 youth smokers will eventually die from a tobacco related disease #drugfacts
  3. There are 69 human and animal carcinogens in tobacco smoke #drugfacts
  4. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death causing almost half a million deaths each year, many from cancer #drugfacts



  1. The 3 drugs most often mentioned in ER visits related to drug use are cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs #drugfacts
  2. The drugs with the highest risk for addiction are heroin, cigarettes, and cocaine #drugfacts

Rape or Regret

Rape or Regret: YOU be the Jury

On Monday, January 11, Wellspring will be presenting their program “Rape or Regret: A Jury’s Dilemma”, at the Saratoga Springs Library in the H. Dutcher Community Room.  The program will begin at 6:30 PM.  All are invited to attend the film and mock-jury deliberation to determine the guilt of the fictional 18 year-old defendant, Ryan Kelly.

Presented as a mock trial, this film explores a case of teenage sexual assault.  As the case unfolds, the audience hears the testimony of the complainant and the defendant, their attorneys, and various witnesses.  Participants then act as the jury in determining the legal guilt or innocence of the defendant.

Wellspring advocates will then lead a discussion to help promote a better understanding of sexual assault and the challenges that exist in prosecution as well as a conversation about safe relationship practices.

Come to the Library on Monday evening and bring your teens. This is your chance to open an important conversation with them and in your community.

Check out the film’s trailer on YouTube.

Rape or Regret? A Jurys Dilemma Trailer 2012
Rape or Regret? A Jurys Dilemma Trailer


Clearly, It Needs to be Stated Clearly

These 10 Rape Prevention Tips may at first elicit a chuckle. But like much humor there's a truth that lingers long after the smile fades.

I'd like to think that in 2016, we don't need to remind people that victims aren't to blame for being assaulted, but judging from a Mayor's response to what the local police chief refers to as "a completely new dimension of crime", we're not there yet. Julie Zeilinger reports that in Cologne, Germany, 80 women were attacked in New Year's Eve by an estimated 100 men who collaborated in a planned gang assault on the women. Cologne's mayor responded not by detailing how the city would address such attacks, but by proposing a Code of Conduct for women to "remain at arm's length from strangers".

For years advocates have tried to reduce sexual violence by educating women about strategies to reduce their vulnerability to being a target of sexual violence (don't leave your drink unattended, don't walk alone late at night); the unintended consequence of these well-intentioned suggestions is that society's first thought is "Why wasn't she being safer when the attack happened?", instead of focusing on why the assailant attacked the victim.

So perhaps it's time to disseminate widely the 10 Rape Prevention Tips that get to the heart of the issue.