Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

Purses for Seeing What’s Possible

Yesterday I  spoke with Miriam Dushane of Linium Recruiting. We talked about women's issues, employment, purple purses... and how trapped domestic violence victims can feel because they don't realize there are resources out there that can help them leave the abuse. Miriam has seen the effects of domestic violence in the workplace and also among women she knows. She offers words of encouragement, "There's no reason for you to stay in a relationship that's unhealthy." Click here for more about why Miriam is wearing a purple purse in October.

Miriam is right. Often people don't come to an agency like Wellspring because they think they need to be in crisis to access our services. They also may not come because they see too many obstacles to leaving and don't feel they have the resources: 'How would I afford rent?'... 'I don't have money for a lawyer so how would I get an order of protection,  custody or child support?'... I can't afford childcare if I go back to work... and what would I do in the summer when school is out. I'd have to leave my job' So they remain in the abuse, because the obstacles to leaving seem insurmountable... and they feel trapped. Wellspring has resources to help with all these obstacles...and you don't need to be in crisis to use our free, confidential services.

Kudos to Miriam and Linium for being so knowledgeable about domestic violence.  It's important for employers to have an understanding about domestic violence and the resources in our community to support an employee in need. When a victim leaves the abuse, the workplace may be the most predictable place to find him/her, so abusers will often stalk, harass or otherwise interfere with their partner's job. Did you know:
  • One in 5 people in the workplace experience relationship abuse in their lifetimes... and of that number 96% says their work suffers as a result.?
  • 40% of victims report being harassed at work by their abuser?
  • 74% of perpetrators had easy access to their partner's workplace? and
  • 21% of offenders contacted their victims at the workplace in violation of an order of protection?
Wellspring provides safety planning for survivors--at home, at school and at work. Wellspring also has a toolkit to help managers and supervisors recognize and respond when an employee job performance and safety are being a impacted by domestic violence. Wellspring also provides assistance to employers in developing workplace policies to address domestic violence and in helping employers respond when an employee is being abused. 

Put Your Purse in your Mouth and "Heel"

 
Andy is ready to join his friends from Adirondack Veterinary Clinic and Bensons (where he gets yummy dog biscuits) at this year's Pooch Parade. There will be a blessing of the pets by the Reverend Peter Klotz, doggy CPR instruction, an obstacle course, pawdicures (nail trims) for just $5, and a dog walk. We'll give a special woof to the working dogs in our community, including the K9 dogs from the Sheriff's Dept  and the loving pups from Therapy Dogs International who will be at the parade.

It's a fun day for an important cause. Click here as Lisa Crawford tells why Maribeth Wallingford DVM and all the staff of Adirondack Veterinary Clinic support the Pooch Parade.



So join us for this fun, family event:
Saturday, September 30, 2017
 Congress Park in Saratoga Springs
10 am registration and activities
11 am the walk begins
$5/dog (humans free)

His Purse Demonstrates Powerful Role Modeling

We might think that the best place for kids to learn is in a classroom. But for youth, and for all of us, sometimes our best lessons come when we least expect it. Anders Mattson, the Director of Instruction at Saratoga National Golf Academy, certainly teaches youth about how to swing a golf club... but also teaches about social responsibility. Click here for more from Anders.


At Wellspring, we understand the powerful influence a coach has on a young athlete. That's why we're bring Coaching Boys into Men®  (CBIM) to schools in Saratoga and Washington Counties, at no cost to the school. CBIM is an evidence based curriculum that's been used across the country and globally that helps coaches incorporate a leadership component into their work with youth so their athletes build respectful and non-violent relationships.  Men-- fathers, uncles, teachers, and coaches -- have an important and necessary role to play in ending violence against women and children. Coaching Boys into Men® has a growing global community of coaches and athletes helping to prevent domestic violence and relationship abuse. 

If you are interested in learning more about Coaching Boys into Men® or bringing it to your school, or other athletics program, contact Wellspring. We're committed to providing our community partners the tools so that together we can create the social change needed to end relationship and sexual abuse.
 

 


Dining out for Wellspring with The Inn at Saratoga

 

The Inn at Saratoga will be raising money for Wellspring during our monthly fundraising night.

20% of the evenings total restaurant and tavern sales will be donated to this incredible organization who are fighting to end relationship and sexual violence in Saratoga County.

Come in for dinner, drinks, raffles and live music by Drank The Gold!

We look forward to seeing you and donating to this worthy cause!

Find more at the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1930828827175788/

His purse represents a commitment to love, compassion and justice


Recently I was speaking with the Reverend Joe Cleveland of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs about domestic violence. His church has long supported the work of Wellspring, because our mission connects so well with the beliefs that underlie their faith. Reverend Cleveland explains that his congregation is, "committed to love, compassion and justice." Click here for more about why his church cares... and why he personally is passionately committed to ending domestic violence.

I love sitting in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation and looking at the beautiful quilt behind the altar (a small section of it shown in the picture above). I often think if we all allowed our every action to be guided by love, truth, tolerance, service, and compassion, how much better this world would be.
 


I’m Not the Only One Who Is Excited!

I  just had the pleasure of speaking with two dear friends, Jesse and 
Antoinette Jackson (Jesse on-air, but as always Antoinette and I continued the conversation long after the cameras stopped rolling.) Look TV has long been a champion and partner in our efforts to increase awareness about relationship and sexual abuse.

So Jesse and I were talking about the upcoming Allstate Purple Purse Challenge. At Wellspring we've set a really big goal ... leading Saratoga County to #1 in the nation during the month-long fundraising challenge, to show that our whole community is committed to the vision of ending relationship and sexual abuse.

I've gotta say, our friends at Look TV are just as excited as we are about the possibilities. Watch the interview here, to learn more about Allstate's Purple Purse Challenge... and what you can do to help.

They’re for Safe Homes and Purple Purses

       HOME

Just thinking of the word do you exhale, smile a bit and feel calmer? I do. Home (no matter how bustling or busy) is a place you are loved, surrounded by family, and where you can be relaxed and comfortable. But in a home where there's domestic violence, sometimes the home is loving and then can, in an instant, change to a place with fear. So the people living there are never fully relaxed. At Wellspring, survivors often describe, "always feeling like I'm walking on eggshells." Charles Wait Jr. knows that, "when violence enters the home, people need safe spaces... and Wellspring offers a safe place to go." Click here for more about why he supports Wellspring's work and the Purple Purse Challenge.


Belmonte Builders knows a thing or two about building homes from the foundation to the roof shingles. Lindsey Belmonte supports Wellspring's work because like Belmonte Builders we help create, "safe homes in safe communities".  Click here for more from Lindsey.





As a realtor, Karen Charbonneau of Miranda Realty certainly knows the importance of a home. But her reason for supporting Wellspring and the Purple Purse Challenge is far deeper and more personal. As a teenager, she saw children growing up in homes with domestic violence and she remembers, "the fear in the faces of children in homes with domestic violence." As she talks about it, it's clear that these years later she still  remembers those faces, and cares about this issue because she too wants a community where no child experiences that fear...especially at home. Click here for more from Karen.

When an individual or a family needs to leave home because it's not safe, Wellspring can help. Last year alone we provided 2,865 bed nights of safe slumber for adults and children fleeing abuse. Shelter isn't our only housing option though. Our NewView Housing program provides rent subsidized apartments throughout Saratoga County for domestic violence survivors. Last year we provided apartments for 31 families (with 45 children) so they could be safe (that's 17,000 nights of safe sleep in a violence-free home). In addition to the rent subsidy we provide weekly in-home support services to help the family remain safe, heal, and achieve employment of financial goals so they can remain abuse-free and be self-sufficient.

Purses Looking Out From Inside

Because I spend so much time talking to the public about Wellspring, people often think of me when they think of the agency. But I'm only a very small part of Wellspring. The agency has 19 dedicated employees who daily carry out our mission to support survivors and engage the community to end relationship and sexual abuse. They quietly and humbly provide the caring and knowledgeable support that helps survivors achieve safety, heal from trauma and transcend the abuse. We also have a board of directors that focuses on long range goals so Wellspring will continue to meet the needs of our community. And we have dedicated volunteers and interns who help in many different ways: fostering pets, providing financial literacy training,  assisting with office work, and helping with fundraisers (and we've got a bunch of those coming up in October!)
 
Today two of our advocates are my guest bloggers,  sharing their thoughts on the work they do and how your support enables them to make a difference. They coordinate one of our October fundraisers each year as a way to connect with you. Enough from me,  their words are way more meaningful...


As Wellspring advocates, we work directly with people experiencing domestic or sexual abuse. We assist clients through a variety of challenges; advocates may find themselves linking clients to important resources that may pay for costly medications and services their insurance do not cover, or working with clients to process their experience and the reactions associated with the trauma they have undergone. We may accompany clients to police stations or to the hospital for an exam. If clients choose to report and their case goes to prosecution, we will accompany the victim through any stage of the process and offer emotional support. We also offer assistance and support to family members or friends of a victim to help them process their feelings and to help them best support their loved one. Every day we work hard to ensure that victims feel heard and supported, and that they are given all of the information they need in order to make informed decisions. Additionally, we work to engage the community to end relationship and sexual abuse. Throughout the year, we present information about the dynamics of dating violence, consent, and healthy relationships to over 5,000 high schools students throughout the county. Additionally, we work with Skidmore students on social change initiatives.

This October, Wellspring will again be participating in the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge. The Allstate Foundation created the Purple Purse Challenge to raise awareness about an often overlooked tactic of control: financial abuse. The Challenge calls on domestic violence agencies to raise funds throughout October that the Foundation will match or even multiply. The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge encourages advocates to go beyond their job title to spread awareness and engage our community in new and creative ways.

On October 12th, Wellspring is teaming up with local restaurant NaNola to host our second annual event for the Purple Purse Challenge: Wellspring at NaNola. There will be a 50/50, raffle give-a-ways, and a game of Family Feud for everyone to participate in. Wellspring at NaNola is a way for community members to show that they want to be a part of the solution to end domestic abuse. Last year, we were moved by the support Wellspring received and we are excited to see what this year brings. By supporting Wellspring at NaNola, you are helping Wellspring provide services to survivors that may not be available without your contribution.  If a client calls needing space for shelter, but our shelter is unsafe for them or full, your contribution allows us to buy them bus tickets to assist in their relocation to another county’s domestic violence shelter. A family may come in after a day’s worth of travel for us to find that they have not had access to food, your contribution allows us to buy them lunch while they complete a shelter intake. Clients who have been denied access to money may need professional clothes for a job interview, gas to get to their child’s school play, or money to fill a prescription; it is your contribution that allows us to give them a gift card to assist with those needs. Your contribution helps Wellspring to assist with everyday needs that other grant resources may not cover, allowing Wellspring to provide more comprehensive services keeping in mind the various challenges clients may face.

Wellspring wants to extend a huge thank you to our community!

-          Thank you to the local businesses throughout Saratoga County that have donated items for our raffle.

-          Thank you to NaNola for donating your space, a percentage of Thursday October 12th’s sales and your continued support of Wellspring!

-          And Thank YOU for supporting our event. We are proud to be a part of a community that so readily supports our goal of ending relationship and sexual abuse in our community.

Differently Abled Purses

By now you've probably realized that every day Wellspring collaborates with many of our local nonprofit agencies and community organizations to  provide the best services we can for our clients. We don't need to re-create the wheel if another agency has a program or service  that would benefit our clients, we refer them... and they do the same.  The mission of Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) is to provide and promote opportunities for individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency-- clearly a mission that's also important to Wellspring. Click here to hear Krystal Nowhitney Hernandez  talk about how EOC collaborates and supports Wellspring's mission... the second part of her video is a clue to just one of the unique challenges domestic violence survivors may face as they look to leave the abuse.
 
The Prevention Council strives to give youth the skills they need to choose healthy behaviors (thereby reducing the possibility that they will engage in drug or alcohol use or other risk behaviors). Their executive director, Janine Stuchin  says "everyone deserves to grow up in a home that is safe." and she also knows that addressing violence in the home can reduce the risk of drug and alcohol use among youth. Click here for more from Janine.
 
Sometimes the social issues that correlate with domestic violence aren't readily apparent. AIM Services is dedicated to partnering with people of diverse abilities to foster growth and independence. The people they assist may have developmental challenges or traumatic brain injury. How does this intersect with the work of Wellspring? Abusers may prey upon someone with challenges, exploiting their vulnerabilities. Alternately, just being a victim of abuse, particularly intense or repeated physical abuse, can result in traumatic brain injury. Often the symptoms and how they impact the person's life aren't identified or connected to their history of domestic violence... sometimes simply because no one has asked about a history of abuse. Both Wellspring and AIM Services work to provide what Walt Adams describes as "a better quality of life for people at a time in their life when they really need someone who can understand and support them." Click here for more from Walt
 
Every domestic violence survivor's obstacles to leaving and their support needs are different. Often they bring vulnerabilities that may have predated the  abuse... or may be as a result of trauma caused by the domestic violence... or by a lifetime of trauma. The barriers are diverse: limited proficiency in English, immigration concerns, learning or developmental disabilities. These can all complicate employment and self-sufficiency. Or there may be mental health concerns or alcohol or drug dependencies- sometimes these were coping strategies that helped the person get through the day... but in the end complicated their life. And sometimes what people think of as deficiencies or challenges, when looked at from a different angle show strength and resilience, that folks who haven't overcome such obstacles don't have. At Wellspring we understand the complexities of people's lives and have partnerships with other organizations to provide the support they need to overcome these barriers.  So whatever challenges you are struggling with, you are not alone. We can help.
 
 


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