Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Try Thai Next Thursday!

Once again our friends at Bodyworks Professionals are offering a way to feel great while also supporting the work of Wellspring. If you've never tried Thai massage, don't miss the chance!
The  folks at Bodyworks Professionals are great at relaxing tired muscles... and they're really generous. They're giving 100% of your donation to Wellspring to help with our mission to end relationship and sexual abuse.

So give yourself a well deserved treat on Thursday April 27th... and thanks for supporting our work!

Monday, April 17, 2017

This Mothers' Day

Today's blog post is by one of Wellspring's advocates. She shares her thoughts about Mothers' Day as someone who daily hears about how mothers are impacted by domestic violence. 
This Mothers’ Day, we at Wellspring think of our clients who are doing the heartbreaking work of being in an abusive and relationship while parenting their children.  Every day, we hear the worries, concerns and sadness that comes from trying to keep children safe (as well as themselves) when a partner is abusive and controlling.  Leaving the relationship also causes so much turmoil as they must grieve the loss of an intact family, and now navigate the difficult waters of custody and family court.  It is not uncommon for abusers to use children to try to continue to control and punish their partner for leaving.   The strength of these clients is inspiring and on the other side is safety and peace.  So we would like to say Happy Mothers’ Day to all and we will continue our work to support moms who come to us for support and information. Their words touch us and inspire us, every day:

“I feel so sad for my kids…”      “I feel like he is always using the kids, to punish me.”    “My kids come first… I don’t want them to think this is the way men should treat women.”   “My son is beginning to act like my husband…. I know I need to get out and I need to do it safely.”  “Thanks for all your help, I now see a bright future for me and my kids.”    “I really wouldn’t be where I am today without Wellspring’s help. I have my own apartment, my kids are doing awesome and I am moving on.”

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ladies' Day at Artisinal Brew Works Saturday, March 25th

It's cold out, March is hanging on, and the weatherman just dashed your dreams of a sunny warm weekend. Don't lose hope, there's still an opportunity to rescue your weekend fun. Come to  Artisanal Brew Works from noon-3 on Saturday for their Ladies' Day event. In addition to great craft beers, there will be massages, aromatherapy, and vendors including: Jerry's Jewels, Lu Lu Roe, Arbonne and more.

So join us at 41 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs on Saturday March 25th from noon-3. Do a little shopping, catch up with friends, and get warm from the inside out...  may I suggest their just-released Belgian Red?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Parents: It affects 1 in 3 Teens. Would you recognize it?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Did you know, 1 in 3 teens experience some form of dating violence? They're often reluctant to tell their parents or  teachers. Would you recognize the signs?

Soroptimist International, an organization devoted to helping girls locally and across the world,  reports that "82% of parents felt confident they'd be able to tell if their teen was in an abusive relationship, but less than HALF of these parents could correctly identify the signs of teen dating abuse." They've created a an infographic with information about identifying dating violence, talking to your teen (or his/her friends) about it, and supporting a teen who has experience dating violence. You can also sign up here for other resources such as a video for parents and tips to take action to help teens.

Need some resources to  share with the teens you know? Love is respect has 2 quick quizzes :

If you are a teen who is experiencing dating violence ... or if you are a parent or friend of someone and you're concerned they may be-- call Wellspring at 518-583-0280. All services are free and confidential.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cantina's donating 33% to help Wellspring get to zero

Dining out fundraiser for Wellspring

Join us at Cantina at 430 Broadway in  Saratoga Springs on February 8 anytime from 11:30-9  for lunch or dinner. Cantina is generously donating 33% of proceeds in support of Wellspring's work to end relationship and sexual abuse in our community.

Feeling more like a night in with the family? That's OK. Treat yourself to take out from Cantina and a relaxed family dinner at home.

If you're planning on dining in, reservations are recommended, so you don't have to wait.

Your support brings Wellspring closer to our vision of a community without abuse.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Move Aside Mr. Groundhog

So February has some important dates to remember:
Valentines Day (14th)
Bartenders' Ball  (11th- show up to support this year's recipient CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services)
Presidents' Day (20th ...and start of a school break for many)...
and of course
Groundhog Day (2nd... we haven't really had winter yet, but I'd be OK with an early spring).

So tomorrow we'll be talking about whether the groundhog predicts an early spring or more winter, but here's something to think about all month long. It's Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Talk to your kids about signs of abuse in a relationship... and what constitutes a health relationship. At Wellspring, we want everyone to have healthy relationships. Sometimes it's confusing to discern when everyday behaviors cross the line into controlling. This month we'll be sharing some tools to increase awareness, start the conversation, and give you some resources if needed.  Let's start with discussing boundaries and consent.

Not every healthy relationship looks the same.  However, every healthy relationship does need safe communication, trust, boundaries, and mutual respect. Being on the same page is important, you want  to make sure that both you and your partner want and expect the same things.  Everyone should feel comfortable setting boundaries as they see fit, and these boundaries may change or adjust as the relationship evolves. Having open communication regarding your boundaries in a relationship creates respect and ensures that  each person’s needs are  being met. Check out Wellspring's video about consent to start the conversation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Need hope? Look around.

Commitment to social justice knows no age limits. On Monday, I attended a leadership training coordinated by Youth2. There I saw teens discussing concerns for the environment, women’s rights, poverty, homelessness and hunger, and global issues of injustice. They didn’t only talk about these concerns, but brainstormed ways they could take an active role in addressing these problems… learning how to be “solutionaries”.
I don’t remember, when I was 16, spending a school holiday trying to strategize how I  could make a difference in a global problem. Even walking out of the training, looking at the tee shirt on the Y2 member ahead of me in line, their passion inspired me.
This morning I opened the paper and read that Mary Jane Smith, one of the founders of  Unity House, had passed  away. I started my career in human services more than three decades ago (gasp- wow I don't often do that math!) at Unity House's sister agency, Mohawk Opportunities. While we met briefly many decades ago, Mary Jane didn't know me... but over the years I've watched Unity House grow and seen firsthand the positive impact their programs have had on so many lives.
As we look at the human service organizations locally, we often forget their humble beginnings 3, 4,or 5 decades ago. Many of them, Wellspring included, began because a few concerned citizens gathered and started talking about a  local issue and just like those teens at the  Youthtraining began brainstorming a plan they could implement to address a local need. It didn't escape my notice that the article about Mary Jane had a picture of her taken last year, still volunteering serving lunch to those in need at the age of 87.
Like so many of our inspiring local leaders whom we've recently lost, e.g., Denny Brunelle, former executive director of the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (and leader on many of our local initiatives to help those in need), or Anne Palamountain, philanthropist and founding member of many local nonprofit initiatives, including Wellspring's rape crisis services, they began working to help others early in adulthood and continued to do so throughout their lives, never tiring in their commitment to those in need and to our community. I'm humbled by their compassion, generosity and leadership and grateful for their impact.  I'm also inspired as I look at a new generation of youth just as committed to making this world a better  place.
Reading the news every day, it's easy to feel hopeless. The headlines make me wonder if our challenges are overwhelming and our leaders aren't able to address the needs of the people... but when I look up from my computer screen at what people are doing, I'm inspired and hopeful. Together we can make a difference. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Can We Learn From Tragedy?

While 2017 started bright with promise for most of us, for five people the year ended tragically almost as soon as it began. When we're bombarded with news stories about mass violence, we can get caught in the details (e.g., how many people, how did it happen, what were the motives) and lose sight of  the human impact. The Washington Post presents a brief snapshot into the people who were gunned down in the shooting in Fort Lauderdale that took the lives of 5 people, among them:
a father of 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren who was a devoted husband of 40+ years
a great grandma with a lilting British accent who was active in her faith community
a business owner whose open heart extended to adopting a large active black lab  with a missing leg, and 
a mom of 3 and grandma to 6 who was just weeks away from her 51st anniversary.

These are such senseless tragedies and when they suddenly pop on our news screens, we're struck by the unpredictability of this type of violence.

Click here to view an interesting
animation of 9 key factors
While we may not be able to accurately predict when and where the next mass shooting will happen, there are some strong correlates... and a big one is domestic violence. Using FBI data and media reports, Everytown for Gun Safety did an analysis of mass shooting (click here to read the report or  here to view an interesting animation of 9 key factors).
Here are three correlates that may surprise you:

Domestic Violence- In 57% of mass shootings, the shooter killed a current/former partner  of family member, and in more than 15% of cases the shooter had a previous domestic violence charge.

Private Residence- 70% of mass shootings (defined as an incident in which 4 or more people, not including the shooter are killed with a gun) took place in private residences, not public spaces.

Percent and Frequency- Mass shootings represent less than 1% of gun  homicides and occur fairly regularly with no more than 3 months between tragedies.

And here's one correlate that's not as strong as many would expect:

Mental Illness- In only 11% of shootings had concerns been brought to a professional prior to the rampage... and in less than 1% was the shooter prohibited from owning guns due to severe mental illness.

What can we learn from this? While the large scale public massacres command media attention, gun violence isn't limited to these events-- in fact, many mass shootings take place in homes, against family members, and fairly regularly. The correlates between domestic violence and homicide are unmistakable. I've always viewed law enforcement's response  to domestic violence as homicide prevention. I'm not by any means implying that every instance of domestic violence may escalate to a homicide, but rather that taking domestic violence seriously, assessing the  pattern of power and control, and paying attention to key indicators (e.g., threats to kills the victim or instances of strangulation, i.e., "choking" the victim) that increase risk to lethality-- these are strategies that can reduce the  possibility that domestic violence will escalate to tragic, fatal consequences.

If you or someone you know
is experiencing domestic violence call Wellspring:
Office 518-583-0280
24/7 Hotline 518-584-8188

Know the tactics  of power and control that underlie domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, talk to a domestic violence advocate to know your options. There's so much we can't predict ... here's one thing we can do to reduce the likelihood of mass violence.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Karma, Recycling, and Ending Abuse

Happy New Year. 

This could be the easiest New year's resolution ever!
Whether you are a resolution-maker or not, you're probably bombarded by articles about creating change: weight loss plans, fitness programs,  financial planning strategies, tips to get organized...  programs for every type of resolution. Yet by this weekend a quarter of folks will have lost the resolve in their resolutions. Why? Expectations too big? Not truly committed to the goal? Life provided a reality check? Seemingly overnight, big plans become no plans. Its good to think big, but maybe we get to the end goal quicker with small steps.  

Today a colleague shared a quote that made me stop and think about all those abandoned resolutions,

And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing
 I do better making changes really stick when I pick something easily doable and make it an ingrained part of my daily routine. You all know I'm committed to ending relationship and sexual abuse. I'm also really concerned about our environment... but I'm not always 100% with the 'reduce, reuse and recycle' mantra. But every year I pick one practice I will commit to so I will be I kinder to Mother Earth. Several years ago taking the recyclables to the transfer station, I noted how many empty laundry detergent bottles we had and got to thinking about not only the toxic chemicals in those bottles, but the energy used to transport them, the processing to make the bottles, and the possibility that a portion of them wind up in landfills leaving a permanent legacy of disrespect for the environment. I started making my own laundry detergent and haven't bought prepackaged laundry soap in years. It takes only a couple of minutes and the only waste is a paper wrapper from the Fels Naptha soap bar and 2 cardboard boxes (one  Borax and one washing soda)-- these I use to start the fire in my woodstove that heats our house all winter. It's not much but over those years  I've reduced the number of plastic bottles passing through our house by hundreds...and I've kept at it because it was a simple commitment (bonus points because it's cheaper than bottled laundry detergent, has no perfumes or dyes and works just as well). 
Each year at Christmas I look at the pile of pretty wrapping paper that gets crumpled up and put in the trash (can't burn this because of all the glossy paper with colored dyes). So this year I 'wrapped' my gifts in reusable shopping bags. It cost less than fancy paper
and was a little extra 'gift' for the recipient. Perhaps they'll think of Christmas when they're grocery shopping. I had fun all last year picking up the perfect bag with decorations suited to each  person in my life... but on December 25th my supply was gone. Well Hannaford just came to the rescue.
Throughout January, at the Hannaford store located at:
95 Weibel Avenue, Saratoga Springs NY,
Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program has focused on supporting:
Hannaford is donating a portion of sales  of every good karma bag to Wellspring. So stock up- save the planet- and support our work toward community free of relationship and sexual abuse. "One gesture. One person. One moment at a time."
~ Every day counts ~