Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

Wellspring to Participate in #GivingTuesday

Wellspring to Participate in National Day of Giving

Next Tuesday, December 1  is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back when charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.


Wellspring is happy to again be partaking in this exciting movement, and is looking to exceed our 2014 campaign when 30 donors gave over $5,000.  Our goal this year is to find 50 donors to help us again contribute $5,000!


What could $5,000 do?

  • Provide a counseling session every day for six months
  • Make up to 25 weeks of summer camp available to single parents so they can continue working while school is out of session
  • Fund five employer training sessions to increase workplace awareness of relationship abuse and sexual assault.

Want to participate?  Here’s how you can help:

  • Consider making a gift to participate in #GivingTuesday,
  • Spread the word about our campaign and services through Facebook and email
  • Join the conversation by following us on Facebook and telling us why you support #Wellspring and #GivingTuesday


Every gift to Wellspring goes to the highest needs of our current and potential clients–providing things like shelter and support, counseling sessions and legal aid for clients, education programs, community outreach.   We hope you will join us as we work towards our vision of ‘A Saratoga County free of relationship and sexual abuse.’


Pilates for a Purpose

Looking to burn off some post Thanksgiving calories? What if you could do it while supporting the work of Wellspring?

Then come to ‘Pilates for a Purpose,’ hosted by Reform Pilates Club. A True Pilates Studio in Saratoga Springs, NY. on Saturday December 5 at 11:00 AM. All proceeds will benefit Wellspring.


Orange is the New Purple?

In the past, I've asked you to wear purple during October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), teal in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) and denim on Denim Day. I  hope you've got a rainbow of colors in your closet because tomorrow I'm suggesting you wear orange. Why? In 1999, the United Nations' General Assembly   declared November 25th as the International Day for the Awareness of Violence Against Women. Here's why:

  • 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.

  • An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.

  • Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.

  • The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.

  • As I'm thinking of all the things in my life to be thankful for, I'm glad I live in the US. While we certainly have problems with gender based violence, the magnitude pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Want to learn more? Take a moment to view this infographic about worldwide violence against women.

    Join me tomorrow in raising awareness so we can achieve peace and equality for women worldwide.


    Imagine what it feels like to not trust that your thoughts, observations and recollections of events are true. Imagine the embarrassment of having a loved one regularly correct what you say explaining what really happened.

    Now imagine that the trusted loved one is deliberately manipulating the truth to cause you doubt, psychological dissonance... and to control you. That's gaslighting... and it's a common form of psychological control used in abusive relationships. To learn more about gaslighting click here.

    Alone,  gaslighting itself is damaging, destructive and frightening, but it rarely occurs as a sole abuse tactic. Often it's combined with social isolation, where the abuser gradually and insidiously decimates his/her partner's social support system.  Sometimes this is subtle;
    " Let's not go out; when I'm not at work I just want to be with you... no one else." or
    "Are you going out with friends again; what about me?"
    Gradually it may become more insistent,
    "Your sister keeps trying to come between us; I don't like it when you spend time with her." 
    Sometimes, the abuser may physically separate his/her partner from social supports, e.g., by taking a job and moving the family to a distant location and limiting contact with friends or family.

    When gaslighting is combined with social isolation the domestic violence victim's world may shrink down to only the input of his/her abusive partner. Without others to provide feedback, the abuser's voice becomes the only source of feedback... and as he/she regularly denies and contradicts their reality, the victim starts to question every thought. This psychological abuse doesn't happen overnight, but over time becomes absolutely crippling as every thought, decision or action is questioned.

    Often people think of domestic violence as physical abuse. The 'black eye poster', the dramatic movie with a terribly bruised woman, and yes, even the recent elevator video... these are the images that inform our concept of domestic violence. In the absence of physical abuse, victims often minimize the abuse. So even though we understand that domestic violence also includes emotional and psychological abuse, social isolation, economic abuse and sexual abuse, too often when physical abuse is lacking we fail to identify domestic violence... and fail to seek help.
    If you or someone you know experiences any form of abusive power and control, call us...we can help.

    24 hour hotline 518-584-8188
    Office 518-583-0280

    Even Green Became Purple this October

    Karen Totino, of Green Conscience,
     presents Maggie Fronk with pillows for the shelter
    Karen Totino's not letting the awareness stop just because October has ended. For the next year!... she's providing each of Wellspring's emergency shelter guests with his/her own Savvy rest pillow to use while in shelter and take with them when they leave. On October 22nd she hosted an awareness event. Approximately 25 community members joined the event in support of the Safe Sleep program... and engaged in a passionate and thoughtful conversation about each of us can work to end domestic violence.
    Asked about the Safe Sleep collaboration with Wellspring, Karen said, “I am excited to partner with my clients and Wellspring to offer something that is needed.To even bring a small comfort to those receiving our products gives me a reward no money can buy.”
    Stop in to Green Conscience to learn more about the program. And while you're there check out their organic, chemical-free mattresses, pillows and linens. Perhaps it's time to treat yourself to a better night's sleep too!

    Looking Back on October

    While Domestic Violence Awareness Month hasn't ended yet, I thought I'd take the next few days to look back at how our  community members joined with us to increase awareness about domestic violence and to support Wellspring's work. Domestic violence advocacy is serious work, but we also managed  to have quite a few smiles throughout the month.

    As always we launched DV Awareness Month with our annual Pooch Parade. People are often shocked to learn that pets can be impacted by abuse in the home, either through neglect or  violence launched directly at the pet or through coercion, i.e., threats to harm the pet used as a means to control the victim. 
    Assemblyman Tedisco and Gracie
    enjoy a quick break by the duck pond
    before the start of the Pooch Parade
    Wellspring's Safe Pet Partnership offers vet care and temporary foster homes to keep pets safe while the family finds safety and support. Our foster families  realize how hard it is to place a furry (or feathered or finned) family member with a stranger, even if only temporarily... you can tell how much they love pets when they tell us stories about the pet.

    Assemblyman Tedisco and His pooch Gracie, both tireless advocates for animal rights, joined us for the Pooch Parade and presented Wellspring a citation recognizing the agency's 30+ years of service to the community and our Safe Pet Partnership's impact in reducing cruelty to pets in homes with domestic violence.

    As you can see, they weren't  alone in wishing for an end to domestic violence against all famil membes. 

    Add Gayle LeSalle and Maestro, representing
    the Saratoga Spring's Mayor's office,
    discuss the importance of services ot help all domestic violence victims

    Maibeth Wallingford DVM,
    coordinated this year's Pooch Parade

    Loretta Somerville delivered a blessing
    to all the pets who so our lives.

    Pooches impressed us with their skill so the agility ocurse

    Saratogians Sounding Off about Affordable Housing

    Reading some the Saratogian's Sound Off  comments over the past month, it's clear the issue of affordable housing is ever-present in peoples' minds. Here are some of the comments from Saratogian readers in the past month: 
    Am I the only one who remembers that the Bonacio Apartments at 2 West Avenue were supposed to be for seniors and affordable? They’re not affordable apartments. 700 sq. feet for $1,300 a month.

    To the person who said you shouldn’t live in Saratoga Springs if you can’t afford to live there, some people have lived there all their lives, but their lifestyle changes and they need subsidized or low-income housing. They worked their all their lives, so that’s not the answer.

    Wow. To the nasty caller who says we don’t need low-income or subsidized housing in Saratoga because it’s a beautiful city, and that if you can’t afford it you shouldn’t live here. Really? Well, Saratogians could afford it before all the rich people decided to move here and housing prices escalated. I refuse to move from my hometown, so get used to it.

    I guess a lot of people thought that the apartments on West Avenue were going to be for lower income housing, under $1,000. We don’t have enough places for seniors to live in Saratoga, or for the common everyday working person. If you’re not a professional you can’t afford to live in Saratoga and they can’t afford to drive long distances. So there should be some more subsidized and low-income housing.

    I was just wondering. They have built so many hotels, they’re building more stores all around, but did they ever of building anything for senior citizens? A nice little building for us would be perfect. We would have all the stores, we’d have the Northway close to us. It’d be perfect, but they just want to build high-rises, and we can’t afford that. Just a short not so maybe somebody might think of us once in a while.

    Some of the people struggling with  housing costs in these comments were; seniors, long term residents of the city, and everyday workers. What wasn't mentioned in these comments was the population that represents the largest segment of family homelessness-- domestic violence survivors. Wellspring can help with that. Our NewView Housing program provides subsidized rent and in-home support services for individuals and families that flee abuse with no other options for safe housing. Last year alone, because of the NewView program 51 adults and children with 10,750 nights of safe slumber in their own apartment free from domestic violence. But even though we have the money to provide rent subsidies and the staff to provide support services, Wellspring struggles to place people in apartments simply because we lack enough affordable rental units in Saratoga County, especially family-sized units that are accessible by public transportation.

    Communities thrive when there are adequate and affordable resources to meet the needs of all people, seniors, veterans, families, and the local workforce. I look forward to the day when our planning process includes mixed use housing  and opportunities for affordable housing for all our citizens.

    This Thursday… tickets selling fast

    Fashion show, shopping, chair massages, makeup application, hair consultations, wonderful hors d'oeuvres... and a night out with your girlfriends. What more could you want?

    You Can Call Us Too

    In last Friday's Saratoga, the advice column, Annie's Mailbox, responded to a questions I'm asked about often... what to do when a friend is in an abusive relationship.

    Dear Annie: Two nights ago, I witnessed my best friend being verbally abused by her boyfriend. The boyfriend was drunk and probably doing something illegal.
    I listened to him yell at her on the phone all night while we were supposed to be spending time together for her birthday. It was 3 a.m., and he was demanding that I pick him up on my way to take her home. I told him no, because I didn't want him being drunk and possibly violent in my car.
    I let my friend know that she can call me if she needs anything, and dropped her off at their house. Although I'm sure her boyfriend will eventually get himself arrested for violating his probation, I feel it is up to me to report him. But if I do, I will lose her friendship. Should I turn him in for the sake of my friend's safety or mind my own business? — Unsure in Ohio
    Dear Unsure: We aren't certain what this man was doing that violated his probation. Yelling at his girlfriend isn't enough to warrant a report, unless there is a restraining order preventing him from phoning her. Does his probation state that he cannot drink? If so, you should report him and let the chips fall. But a suspicion that he might have been doing something illegal is not sufficient, and the police likely would not pick him up for that unless you could provide proof. And without any evidence, he could accuse you of harassment.
    Please be careful. This guy sounds like a loose cannon. Your friend should call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE and ask for help.

    While I agree with their answer in that the friend is in an abusive relationship and should seek help, I'm also aware that often the victim doesn't seek help right away and the friend is then left worried,  sometimes frustrated, often fearful for their friend, but sometimes also fearful for their own safety and that of their family if their choices to help their loved one flag the ire of the abuser... and most often...wanting to help but not knowing what's the right thing to do. It's such an uncomfortable place to be, as you are indirectly exposed to the trauma the domestic violence victim is facing, but don't have control over the choices that are made. There's even a  term for anyone in the position of having someone they care about, a son or daughter, relative, friend, employee or neighbor; they're referred to as secondary victims.

    Wellspring offers services to help secondary victims. To help them understand the dynamics of abuse. To help them talk about how to support their loved one. To help them be mindful of their own safety and how to set loving boundaries. To help them be compassionate and supportive, yet safe. Like all of Wellspring's services, these services are free and totally confidential.
    If you, or someone you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, call us.
    We can help.
    During business hours call 518-583-0280
    or call or Wellspring's 24 hour hotline at 518-584-8188