Thursday, February 4, 2016

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. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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

Thursday, January 7, 2016

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.

Monday, December 28, 2015

It Just Takes One Person to Light that Candle

Back to work today, still coated with the sparkling glitter of a family Christmas, I opened my e-mail and a friend had sent me an article he read about child abuse. His comments piqued my interest, "... a truly incredible story... his thoughts on courage towards the end of the article are inspiring." I thought, maybe this will be a good blog post, let's see.  Within a nanosecond of reading Black and Blue, and the opening words, "My father used to beat the shit out of me," that holiday glitter tarnished instantaneously and I nixed the idea of this as my first post-holiday blog entry.
So why just hours after returning to work from a holiday weekend am I writing about National Hockey League's Patrick Sullivan's account of his abusive childhood? Because unlike Norman Rockwell's depictions of holidays forever memorialized in 2D with with abundant feasts, loving families, and magical wonder, many of our favorite holiday stories are indeed stories of transcendence from challenges, deprivation or even evil. The true glitter of our holiday season comes from light... a light that shines from within and radiates outward.  For centuries religious traditions have glorified that light in their teaching:
  • the star of Bethlehem, leading the wise men to a savior
  • the sacred oil that miraculously burned for not one night but eight, providing hope in a time of darkness and persecution
  • the light of the new moon signaling the start of Ramadan and a commitment to self sacrifice, purification and good acts, and  
  •   a more recent addition, Kwanzaa, to celebrate the strengths,  values and heritage of people for whom community was ripped apart due to slavery and for whom safety and equality are still a daily struggle. 
Hollywood and Hallmark have managed to morph the resonant Halleluiahs  into a more enjoyable Hootenanny, but like Rudolph's blinking beacon the stories that resonate with us often explore the struggle between the darkness we all see daily and the possibility of light entering and transforming that darkness:
  • Charlie Brown (struggling for acceptance)
  • Rudolph (bullying and ostracism)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (depression, suicide), and
  • The Grinch (greed, jealously, vengeance).
So back to Patrick Sullivan and child abuse... and how in the world the story of a small child struggling desperately to be good enough, not to earn his father's love, but rather good enough to be momentarily spared from a beating at the end of the day that connects to my post holiday glow and the work of Wellspring. Sullivan's message is not for the people who are like his father- they're too far gone. His message is for the parents sitting next to him in the bleachers, for the neighbors who worry about what they hear, for the family member who wishes things were different; his message is for you and for me, and for all of us who are standing in the parking lot and can't find the courage to say something. He's telling us it's ok to make a sound. And if we do, we too may find that our small quivering voice will be joined by others resonating throughout Whoville with  true light. I recently read a quote from a security consultant who formerly worked in law enforcement and the Secret Service, "You don't rise to the occasion; you sink to your level of training." he was talking about violent intruder situations, but I think his observation holds equally true as we're watching our kid's hockey practice. I imagine Sullivan at 5 years old wearing his first pair of hockey skates. Now I'd like to imagine how different his life would have been if someone- anyone- would have spoken up. Read his story, imagine what you wish someone would have  done. And maybe when the chance presents itself you or I will be ready with a better response.

Wellspring provides prevention education to approximately 6,000 youth and adults each year. A core value in our prevention education is empowering bystanders to take action  to intervene when they see a situation, but also to create social change to end relationship and sexual abuse. If you're interested in learning more about how you can bring these no-cost, interactive programs to your youth group, faith organization, workplace or other group give us a call at 518-583-0280.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

That's Not Love

I'm often asked, "Why do people stay in abusive relationships?" The simple answer is that if the coercive control was apparent from the first date, they wouldn't. Instead the power and control sneaks up insidiously. Sometimes it even creeps in disguised as love, rescue, devotion, or praise. Only later in the relationship does the target of the abuse get a sense that something isn't right. By then they're often deeply into the relationship-- maybe fearful of what would happen if they left, maybe embarrassed that they're being abused.  While physivcal absue is easier to identify It can be hard to explain the slippery slope of emotional abuse, but One Love's #That'sNotLove campaign has a series of short videos that show us how that 'wonderful relationship' can quickly slide into abuse.

Watch the videos so you'll recognize the early signs... that way you'll be able to help someone before things get worse.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Meathead Movers- Inspiring Others to End Domestic Violence

I'm overdue for posting a 'Good Newsday Tuesday' blog post, so here's a moving story (dreadful pun intended)  to highlight the good being done in the world. When they were just starting their business (charging $20 and a pizza), the owners of Meathead Movers would drop everything and help domestic violence victims move their belongings so they could be free of abuse. Eighteen years later, and with more sophistication (they involve the local domestic violence agency to provide safety planning and support) they're still helping families break free from abuse.

And they're inspiring others to do the same They've launched #MovetoEndDV to inspire businesses to offer their services (e.g., haircuts, dog boarding, oil changes, security systems) at no cost to help domestic violence survivors. What I love about this concept is;
  •  Businesses don't have to do special collections. They are simply providing their skills and expertise- what they do best- to someone who desperately needs this assistance
  • Domestic violence agencies can provide their client with  the donated service when it's needed. So many nonprofits struggle with donation management. For example, we ask for a specific donation, e.g., winter boots, because we've had people who have needed them recently and we didn't have them. Our generous caring community responds with loads of winter boot donations... and no one who comes to us needs winter boots for the rest of the season. But we've got several people who need food... or help putting gas in the car so they can get to their new job... or a cell phone because their partner purposely broke theirs.
Offering to provide a specific service when it's needed or providing gift cards that we can give to our clients to help them through times, affords agencies the flexibility to provide help how and when it's most needed.

People often comment to me that it must be so depressing working at an agency that assists with such traumatic issues as relationship and sexual abuse. It's true that each day we encounter some of the worst examples of humanity. But not a day goes by that we don't experience caring, compassion, and generosity. So we also see the very best of humanity... people giving selflessly to help others achieve a better life. So to all of you who champion our vision to end relationship and sexual abuse, thank you.

Friday, December 4, 2015

100 Years Have Changed How We Respond

Reading the '100 Years Ago' section in today's Saratogian, I was struck by how little some things change. Referring to a social issue in Mechanicville the article states, "The hobo problem is becoming serious in the city... Last month 111 'Knights of the Road" were lodged at the local jail, released in the morning and ushered out of town." As I read other articles in the Saratogian, Racino Helps Out Local Program and Saratoga Business Journal, Shelters Of Saratoga Gears Up Its 'Code Blue' Program and Has New Plans In Coming Year, I was struck by how much our response has shifted from a punitive response to trying to provide compassionate intervention to help people overcome challenges and get back on track. 

codebluelogo2Mike Finocchi, the executive director of Shelters of Saratoga, who oversees Code Blue, the homeless shelter, the  adult and youth drop in program and street outreach program, explained that  homeless people are a tight knit group who look out for each other and recommend Code Blue to their peers when the temperature drops,  "No one wants to see someone they know freezing to death." It's not just homeless persons looking out for each other. In Saratoga, I think we can change that sentence to "No one wants to see anyone freezing to death." We remember that Code Blue started with a tragic death on a cold December night. Code Blue would not exist without the immense community support: donations from local restaurants to provide meals, community volunteers staffing the shelter throughout the many cold nights over the past 2 winters, businesses like Cudney's donating services, the generosity of the Salvation Army providing space for Code Blue, as well as generous financial contributions that sustain this humanitarian intervention.

Reading the '100 Years Ago' article I realized some things haven't changed. There were people struggling with homelessness then and there are now too. But today the police don't lock them up and then put them on a rail out of town. Today they bring them to Code Blue, where they are treated with dignity and offered  not just a hot meal and safe night's sleep, but the resources and assistance to overcome their current challenges.

                Interested in volunteering for Code Blue? 
Click here for more information