Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


Shine a Light Blog

Shine a Light Blog

Those Little Handprints Are Why They Carry a Purse

Folks often ask me if our local nonprofits ever work together -- yes, every single day! We all have limited resources so we are very aware of what supports other agencies offer and regularly collaborate to provide the best client response most cost effectively.
 
 Today I was at the Saratoga Center for the Family, working with the staff of the Harriet West Child Advocacy Center. You can't walk into their building without smiling at what a kid-friendly vibe they have. The bright colors are uplifting, which is important as they deal with really serious issues of child abuse, "helping children and families with coping, healing and moving forward." Click here for more about how we work together... but more importantly look at all the small handprints on the wall behind the staff.  Those prints aren't just decorations; kids who've been helped at the CAC get to pick a place on their walls and leave their mark-- not only on the wall, but on the hearts of the staff who see every day the  magnitude of child abuse in our community and help each child to transcend these experiences and have a bright, safe tomorrow.
 
Most people know about the basic needs assistance Wellspring provides for families, including, clothing, emergency shelter, subsidized housing, and food assistance -- these services help both adults and children. However,there are a number of smaller programs that rarely get the spotlight.  Two of these programs are our summer camperships and school supply assistance programs.  These programs allow the children in families that are transitioning from homes with domestic violence to be kids doing normal kid things like playing with friends at summer camp or starting school off on the right foot (even if that first day you're in a new school where you'll need to make all new friends). While these services provide normalcy for kids during a period of transition, they also reduce stress for the parent that has just left the abuse, giving her/him time to focus on things that may be difficult to do while juggling childcare, like job searches, court dates, and looking for an apartment. 

Rocking A Purse for Learning and Helping Others

I started off today chatting with two folks whose commitment to their fellow human beings is unwavering and inspirational, Mark Bertrand and Robin Dalton. Bright and early this morning they were organizing the Giving Circle's collection of items to help hurricane victims. It seems that whenever there's a need, in Saratoga, nationally or globally, the Giving Circle is doing what they can to help.
Today and tomorrow they're continuing to collect items to send 2 trucks of basic needs assistance to folks whose homes, lives and supports have been decimated by these natural disasters.  I feel blessed to go home to my family and my modest home... and can't imagine what it's like to see a whole community ravaged by a hurricane. My small gift card by itself isn't much, perhaps only enough for a couple of sheets of plywood to repair a tiny section of a roof, but together our impact can be significant. Want to help?

Here's what they need... and below hear what Robin and I talked about.

Robin made my day a few a couple of months after our Changemakers fundraiser last year. At that event we condensed several of our prevention ed programs into 90 second snippets  to show participants what we cover in the programs (not an easy feat to take a 1-2 hour program and shrink it to 90 seconds!) She said that a few weeks after the event, she'd been watching the HBO series Big Little Lies and suddenly what she'd learned at our tabling exercise came back to her and she had a much better understanding of the challenges faced by a domestic violence survivor.. and the more she's learned about relationship abuse, the more she's attuned to subtle cures and how to be supportive, "when someone is leaving abuse, there can be so few options... we need to look to our friends and our community for support." Robin's words inspired me to do more outreach, because I saw that just 90 seconds can make a difference; click here for more of what she had to say.

We had a fun time talking about Big Little Lies. The women in our group said we need more opportunities like this to talk about relationship abuse... well we've got just that. On Sunday October 15th at 4 pm, Northshire Books is having a community book discussion about the  Big Little Lies. So whether you've read the book or watched the TV series, join us for a spirited discussion. Together we can end relationship and sexual abuse... and that starts with increased awareness.


Rocking A Purse for Learning and Helping Others

I started off today chatting with two folks whose commitment to their fellow human beings is unwavering and inspirational, Mark Bertrand and Robin Dalton. Bright and early this morning they were organizing the Giving Circle's collection of items to help hurricane victims. It seems that whenever there's a need, in Saratoga, nationally or globally, the Giving Circle is doing what they can to help.
Today and tomorrow they're continuing to collect items to send 2 trucks of basic needs assistance to folks whose homes, lives and supports have been decimated by these natural disasters.  I feel blessed to go home to my family and my modest home... and can't imagine what it's like to see a whole community ravaged by a hurricane. My small gift card by itself isn't much, perhaps only enough for a couple of sheets of plywood to repair a tiny section of a roof, but together our impact can be significant. Want to help?

Here's what they need... and below hear what Robin and I talked about.

Robin made my day a few a couple of months after our Changemakers fundraiser last year. At that event we condensed several of our prevention ed programs into 90 second snippets  to show participants what we cover in the programs (not an easy feat to take a 1-2 hour program and shrink it to 90 seconds!) She said that a few weeks after the event, she'd been watching the HBO series Big Little Lies and suddenly what she'd learned at our tabling exercise came back to her and she had a much better understanding of the challenges faced by a domestic violence survivor.. and the more she's learned about relationship abuse, the more she's attuned to subtle cures and how to be supportive, "when someone is leaving abuse, there can be so few options... we need to look to our friends and our community for support." Robin's words inspired me to do more outreach, because I saw that just 90 seconds can make a difference; click here for more of what she had to say.

We had a fun time talking about Big Little Lies. The women in our group said we need more opportunities like this to talk about relationship abuse... well we've got just that. On Sunday October 15th at 4 pm, Northshire Books is having a community book discussion about the  Big Little Lies. So whether you've read the book or watched the TV series, join us for a spirited discussion. Together we can end relationship and sexual abuse... and that starts with increased awareness.


He Rocks a Purse for Trafficked Youth

John Kelly has been a respected advocate for youth throughout his career. From his start as a police officer with the Saratoga Springs Police Department (and his work with thousands of youth through the DARE program and as a school resource officer) to his leadership of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, his work with the Saratoga County Center for the Family, and now his leadership on launching a coordinated community response to trafficking here in Saratoga County. Yes, trafficking...yes, in Saratoga County!  When most of us think of trafficking we don't think of this community. We imagine exploitation that happens in another country, or else vulnerable youth brought across the border and trafficked in a large city, but trafficking in a predominantly suburban county- not what we think of.


It happens--more often than anyone realizes... including those of us who work in the field. Through the Safe Harbour program, now in its 3rd year, daily we're identifying more youth who are being trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked...in our community. Since July 2016, right here in Saratoga County, the Safe Harbour Team has identified 13 trafficking victims and another 62 individuals under the age of 21 who scored a "high risk" on the trafficking screening tool. And that's just youth. As John says, "it's important for us all to pay attention to the warning signs and to acknowledge it does happen." Click here to hear more from John about youth trafficking.

Interested in learning more about trafficking? Click here for a fact sheet on the different types of trafficking. 
 

He Rocks a Purse for Trafficked Youth

John Kelly has been a respected advocate for youth throughout his career. From his start as a police officer with the Saratoga Springs Police Department (and his work with thousands of youth through the DARE program and as a school resource officer) to his leadership of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, his work with the Saratoga County Center for the Family, and now his leadership on launching a coordinated community response to trafficking here in Saratoga County. Yes, trafficking...yes, in Saratoga County!  When most of us think of trafficking we don't think of this community. We imagine exploitation that happens in another country, or else vulnerable youth brought across the border and trafficked in a large city, but trafficking in a predominantly suburban county- not what we think of.


It happens--more often than anyone realizes... including those of us who work in the field. Through the Safe Harbour program, now in its 3rd year, daily we're identifying more youth who are being trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked...in our community. Since July 2016, right here in Saratoga County, the Safe Harbour Team has identified 13 trafficking victims and another 62 individuals under the age of 21 who scored a "high risk" on the trafficking screening tool. And that's just youth. As John says, "it's important for us all to pay attention to the warning signs and to acknowledge it does happen." Click here to hear more from John about youth trafficking.

Interested in learning more about trafficking? Click here for a fact sheet on the different types of trafficking. 
 

Their Purses Are Because They See The Need

Many of the elected officials I speak with tell me they ran for office because they had a deep commitment to their community and a few issues they felt a need to champion. So often they remark that once elected, they learned so much more about  every issue affecting the environment, economy, infrastructure and the people they serve. I'm always awestruck as they describe the breadth of knowledge they absorb in those first years of public service.

Domestic violence is often one of those issues they had never considered... but as they learn about the issues affecting public safety, are surprised to learn it's a fundamental concern. As Supervisor Peter Martin says, "Domestic violence is one of the most prominent crimes", and the services Wellspring provides are, "a vital part of our social safety net." Click here for more from Peter.


 
The United Way of the Greater Capital Region has a vision that all members of a community are connected , "These are our friends, neighbors and coworkers. As members of a community, we are all connected. One person's suffering is our suffering too. And when one person succeeds, we all win." They support programs that address four primary building blocks of wellness and self-sufficiency. 

To really understand community need, they regularly analyze strengths, challenges, obstacles and innovative best practices and share them se so programs can be most effective n the work they do with clients.  Click here to hear from Brian Hassett on why they've "always supported domestic safety organizations  and why Wellspring's services are so important."
 
Wellspring's crisis services are well known: a 24-hour hotline that responds to about 1,700 calls/year, Saratoga County's  only domestic violence shelter, and 24/7 accompaniment to the hospital or police for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Even non-crisis support services like counseling, and legal advocacy are well known. But many people are surprised by the multitude of services we offer to support basic needs and economic self-sufficiency. From essential needs like our food pantry, clothing assistance, and our rent subsidized housing program that last year alone provided 17,000 bed nights of safe slumber in violence-free apartments for 75 adults and children,  to holiday assistance for 200 people/year, assistance with summer camps so the parent can remain working, and backpacks and school supplies for more than 130 children this year, we regularly support families in getting back on their feet, feeling stable and becoming self- sufficient. Addressing those four basic building blocks can provide a sound foundation for a safe and healthy future.


Their Purses Are Because They See The Need

Many of the elected officials I speak with tell me they ran for office because they had a deep commitment to their community and a few issues they felt a need to champion. So often they remark that once elected, they learned so much more about  every issue affecting the environment, economy, infrastructure and the people they serve. I'm always awestruck as they describe the breadth of knowledge they absorb in those first years of public service.

Domestic violence is often one of those issues they had never considered... but as they learn about the issues affecting public safety, are surprised to learn it's a fundamental concern. As Supervisor Peter Martin says, "Domestic violence is one of the most prominent crimes", and the services Wellspring provides are, "a vital part of our social safety net." Click here for more from Peter.


 
The United Way of the Greater Capital Region has a vision that all members of a community are connected , "These are our friends, neighbors and coworkers. As members of a community, we are all connected. One person's suffering is our suffering too. And when one person succeeds, we all win." They support programs that address four primary building blocks of wellness and self-sufficiency. 

To really understand community need, they regularly analyze strengths, challenges, obstacles and innovative best practices and share them se so programs can be most effective n the work they do with clients.  Click here to hear from Brian Hassett on why they've "always supported domestic safety organizations  and why Wellspring's services are so important."
 
Wellspring's crisis services are well known: a 24-hour hotline that responds to about 1,700 calls/year, Saratoga County's  only domestic violence shelter, and 24/7 accompaniment to the hospital or police for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Even non-crisis support services like counseling, and legal advocacy are well known. But many people are surprised by the multitude of services we offer to support basic needs and economic self-sufficiency. From essential needs like our food pantry, clothing assistance, and our rent subsidized housing program that last year alone provided 17,000 bed nights of safe slumber in violence-free apartments for 75 adults and children,  to holiday assistance for 200 people/year, assistance with summer camps so the parent can remain working, and backpacks and school supplies for more than 130 children this year, we regularly support families in getting back on their feet, feeling stable and becoming self- sufficient. Addressing those four basic building blocks can provide a sound foundation for a safe and healthy future.


Carrying a Purse for 1 in 4 Women

Jen Perry was a dedicated board member at Wellspring for 6 years, She was motivated because she relates to the many people we assist.  She sums it up well, "Domestic violence affects people like my friends and family; it can happen to anyone at any time."  Click here for more of Jen's insights.


While relationship abuse can happen to anyone, most people aren't aware of the prevalence. Jessica Petraccione notes that, "most people don't hear about domestic violence on a regular basis." She's right (click here for more from Jessica). Even when there's a tragedy, the news often gives the details of the incident, but fails to use the words domestic violence. At Wellspring we have many clients who call our hotline or talk to our advocates who say, "This has been going on for years, but I've never told anyone until today... not even my sister." There's a saying that 'Silence Hides Violence'; it's true. Most abuse happens behind closed doors so when we don't hear about the  issue, we forget about it.


Sheena Shaw speaks with courage about domestic violence and also about why, "It's important for our youth to know where to get help."  

Did you know, Wellspring has advocates on campus at Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs High Schools and also at Skidmore College? We know that by providing access to an advocate, students can get help with concerns about relationships, dating violence.... or find out how to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship. We provide all these services to individuals and to the schools at no charge, because early intervention is key to preventing abuse from escalating.

Carrying a Purse for 1 in 4 Women

Jen Perry was a dedicated board member at Wellspring for 6 years, She was motivated because she relates to the many people we assist.  She sums it up well, "Domestic violence affects people like my friends and family; it can happen to anyone at any time."  Click here for more of Jen's insights.


While relationship abuse can happen to anyone, most people aren't aware of the prevalence. Jessica Petraccione notes that, "most people don't hear about domestic violence on a regular basis." She's right (click here for more from Jessica). Even when there's a tragedy, the news often gives the details of the incident, but fails to use the words domestic violence. At Wellspring we have many clients who call our hotline or talk to our advocates who say, "This has been going on for years, but I've never told anyone until today... not even my sister." There's a saying that 'Silence Hides Violence'; it's true. Most abuse happens behind closed doors so when we don't hear about the  issue, we forget about it.


Sheena Shaw speaks with courage about domestic violence and also about why, "It's important for our youth to know where to get help."  

Did you know, Wellspring has advocates on campus at Shenendehowa and Saratoga Springs High Schools and also at Skidmore College? We know that by providing access to an advocate, students can get help with concerns about relationships, dating violence.... or find out how to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship. We provide all these services to individuals and to the schools at no charge, because early intervention is key to preventing abuse from escalating.

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